MDC MP stirs rare moment of unity against corruption


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Movement for Democratic Change Member of Parliament for Kambuzuma Willias Madzimure stirred a rare moment of unity in the house on Thursday when he urged legislators to stand up against corruption, forcing everyone to stand up to sing- Kune nzira dzamasoja- a liberation song that urged the guerrillas to be upright.

Introducing a motion calling for better governance, Madzimure said the legislators should unite to stamp out corruption because right now people were asking where they were when salarygate -cases where managers of state enterprises were awarding themselves hefty salaries- was taking place.

Madzimure said no one was more patriotic to Zimbabwe than the other.

“Individuals are corrupt as individuals and cannot hide behind their party or a faction. It is an individual who is corrupt and it is not the party or faction. As we debate this motion, we must be able to separate individuals from the parties, individuals from those factions. Huyayi tirove chidhoma pachacho kuti mai vagobuda,” he said.

In a tone that reflected the thrust of his motion that it was not partisan, Madzimure said people should not blame President Robert Mugabe for the current rot because he had repeatedly called for corruption to be dealt with.

“Looking at the President and his age, when he says something, you do not expect him to follow you up and see what you do on a daily basis. It is an individual Minister who has been assigned the responsibility. I have heard him often enough and if people were to do the right thing, we would have started fighting corruption long back. He has said enough and it is up to us to respond. The only way we can respond is to deal with specific issues of corruption,” he said.

Madzimure said the current rot was due to the fact that ministers were benefitting from corruption in parastatals and state enterprises and had abandoned the basic principles espoused during the liberation war.

When he looked at corruption and how low Zimbabwe had sunk, this reminded him of the late Josiah Magama Tongogara and the song that was aired on Radio Zimbabwe from Maputo every night before the news.

The song went: ‘Kune nzira dzemasoja, dzekuzvibata nadzo. Teererai mitemo yose nenzira dzakanaka. Musave munotora zvinhu zvemasi yenyu. Dzoserai zvose zvamunenge matora, taurai zvine tsika kuruzhinji rwevanhu kuti masi inzwisise’.

The whole house stood up to sing the song.

 

The motion:

 

DETERIORATING STATE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN ZIMBABWE

 

MR. MADZIMURE: I move the motion standing in my name that this House:-

  • CONCERNED by the lack of implementation of the 2012 Government of Zimbabwe Corporate Governance Framework and Guidelines.
  • SHOCKED by the deteriorating state of corporate governance in Zimbabwe.
  • AWARE of the existence of ineffective anti-corruption laws and weak Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
  • ALARMED by the lack of up-to-date audit trails in parastatals, local authorities and the private sector.
  • NOW, THEREFORE, this House resolves that the relevant Portfolio Committees capacitated and strengthened to carry out their oversight function regarding good corporate governance in Zimbabwe.
  • FURTHER RESOLVES that the Government appoints the Zimbabwe Ant-Corruption Commission as well as review and harmonise all corruption related laws.

MR. CHIKWINYA: I second.

MR. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker for giving me this opportunity, which I think was overdue considering the situation that is in our country today. Mr. Speaker, the motion before this House is of great importance to this country. If this motion is debated well by hon. members, I am sure it will deliver the people of Zimbabwe from certain catastrophe. The scourge of corruption Mr. Speaker is a serious challenge. Corruption is actually threatening humanity in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Speaker if you look at the amount of aid that we get from outside. Try and compare it with what we can call capital flight, the amount of money that gets out of Zimbabwe. You will see that if we could retain all the money that we, as Zimbabweans generate, we would not need aid.

This applies not only to Zimbabwe, but to quite a number of countries in Africa. So, for us to be so indebted to other countries, outside and inside Africa, is because of our poor governance of our own resources.

Mr. Speaker Sir, a country like Botswana actually lends the IMF the money that we borrow comes from countries like Botswana. If other countries can do so, why cannot Zimbabwe do the same? What has contributed to this level of corruption in Zimbabwe is primarily the issue of corporate governance. For the benefit of hon. members, corporate governance is the system by which corporations are directed and controlled whilst governance is a structure that specifies the distribution of rights and responsibilities among participants in a corporation and specifies the rules and procedures of making decisions in a corporate.

In Zimbabwe, we are fortunate in that during the Inclusive Government, we came up with a corporate governance framework which was approved by Cabinet and the President appended his signature to that particular framework. During the President’s address to Parliament, he mentioned the issue of a Bill coming to this House. I urge the Executive to do that. Whilst we are waiting for that to happen, we already have this governance framework which must be followed.

Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone who depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority. What it means is that we are at the mercy of those people who have got the authority. To make sure that we do not confuse this particular motion, I am guided by certain principles as I debate this particular motion. Zimbabwe belongs to us all. There is no one who is more patriotic to Zimbabwe than the other.

Individuals are corrupt as individuals and cannot hide behind their party or a faction. It is an individual who is corrupt and it is not the party or faction – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- As we debate this motion, we must be able to separate individuals from the parties, individuals from those factions. Huyayi tirove chidhoma pachacho kuti mai vagobuda.

The failure to uphold the corporate governance framework adopted by the Government cannot be blamed on the President. Looking at the President and his age, when he says something, you do not expect him to follow you up and see what you do on a daily basis. It is an individual Minister who has been assigned the responsibility. I have heard him often enough and if people were to do the right thing, we would have started fighting corruption long back. He has said enough and it is up to us to respond. The only way we can respond is to deal with specific issues of corruption.

I encourage hon. members as they debate this motion to be cognisant of the fact that they have a constitutional right to make the Executive accountable. One of our responsibilities Mr. Speaker Sir, is oversight. Oversight needs to be understood very well by hon. members.

We are not a lesser equal to the three Arms of Government which are the Judiciary, Executive and Legislature. It is the responsibility of hon. members to approve the budget and it is the responsibility of those members to ensure that what they have approved in Parliament is put to good use for the good governance of Zimbabwe.

Therefore, there should not be any limit as to how far Members of Parliament would want people to be accountable for their actions. We have had situations where it has become very difficult for Parliament to carry out its duties. Last week, when the students at the Defence College came here, I was also fortunate to see them in this particular building.

Their concern was that this issue of Salarygate, for it to get to the extent at which it is right now, where were you as Members of Parliament. That question is a serious question.

In other countries, effectively what it means is that, it will have created a vacuum where someone is doing nothing yet the country is suffering. In other countries, that can really lead to a coup d’etat where people realise that you are useless and doing nothing. The Executive is seated there and the Ministers appoint boards which do what they want with the people’s resources. The management at parastatals do what they want with the peoples funds. As Members of Parliament, we are seated here and doing nothing about it.

When a Cabinet is appointed, it is a privilege for an individual member to serve his country. The trust which the appointing authority will have put on you is that, on his behalf you are supposed to serve the country. You abandon that and you start serving your own pockets.

There are seven social sins that Mahatma Gandhi identified. These are politics without principle; wealth without work; where people just want to line their pockets and they do not want to work. Commerce without morality – where people think that it is more important to simply buy a car from Japan and put a markup of 100% ,without adding to this economy. The other one is pleasure without conscience. This we know what happens in offices where we ask ladies to serve us as individuals before you award them something. This is a very bad practice because in the process, you are also spreading diseases. Education without character – only last week the President was referring to the issue of corruption, when you have education without character, you are a loose cannon. You use that particular education to do things that are unbelievable where someone uses education to increase his or her salary up to US$230 000 a month. A normal human being cannot do that. Science without humanity and finally worship without sacrifice.

These are some of the social sins that have bedeviled Zimbabwe.

Mr. Speaker Sir, I am also inspired by the words of the great ZANLA Commander, the late Josiah Magama Tongogara. When people were in Mozambique, as you tuned into Radio Zimbabwe at around a quarter to eight in the evening, you would hear his voice in a song. The song was ‘Kune nzira dzemasoja, dzekuzvibata nadzo. Teererai mitemo yose nenzira dzakanaka. Musave munotora zvinhu zvemasi yenyu. Dzoserai zvose – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – vaienderera mberi vachiti, dzoserai zvose zvamunenge matora, taurai zvine tsika kuruzhinji rwevanhu kuti masi inzwisise’. These were the words of Cde. Mawu.

The House rose and burst into singing the song – “Kune Nzira Dzamasoja.”

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. members, it is over. Let us listen to the words of wisdom. Let us hear the hon. member in silence, please.

MR. MADZIMURE: Mr. Speaker Sir, there are some people who are born with a vision. This is what one, Magama Tongogara had gone through in his mind and realised that there is a danger that as we move on, we will come across some of these things and it really needs people who are focused; people who have got others at heart and who can resist some of these things. Now, we are in a situation where we are forced to seriously think about what exactly we would want to see, as people of Zimbabwe.

During one of his interviews, Mr. Speaker Sir, and I like that clip, unfortunately, the problem that we have is, we do not normally celebrate a lot about some of the deeds of our fallen heroes. There is one interview where he was asked about the reasons why he was fighting the Smith-White regime. His response was very clear that he was not fighting the colour but the system. Now, it is again the same systems that are destroying the people of Zimbabwe. It is the system of corruption, the system of patronage, the system of greediness that is now killing Zimbabwe. If it could be explained to the people what this particular song that we have just sung means; I tell you, it gives a good lesson to the people of Zimbabwe.

Coming closer home, Mr. Speaker Sir, the President, as I have said, has said it over and over again. His fear is that Zimbabwe as a State is fast moving towards a state of kleptocracy where you find that corruption is now endemic into our system. It becomes difficult for you to say, this is a corrupt deed and this is a proper way of doing business.

This is the danger. I just hope with this particular crusade, which I am not very sure if it has started in earnest to fight corruption, that the President will live to see the people of Zimbabwe benefiting equally from their resources.

He promised that the programme of reforming parastatals has started but he was also lamenting to the fact that it was at a very slow pace. Now, I understand why the reform programme for parastatals is this slow. It is because there are too many people benefiting from that particular system. Before I forget, I would want to thank Hon. Prof. Jonathan Moyo. I do not agree with him on a number of issues but on this particular issue of corruption, I would want to salute him. He is the only Cabinet Minister who has accepted the fact that corruption has become our greatest enemy. He is also only one Minister who has allowed action to be taken on one of his boards, which is the ZBC Board. He is also the Minister who has dismissed the reinstated Chief Executive of the ZBC.

During his tenure, he disapproved the position. If you follow the history, Prof. Moyo did not approve the elevation of Muchechetere. He did not approve. If my memory serves me right, action was taken and what happened was that the moment he lost his seat and left Government, a new Minister came in and Happison Muchechetere was back. I now do not wonder why he was back because what we are now seeing Mr. Speaker Sir, is that we now have conduits of corruption.

Some of these guys are conduits of corruption. There are reports that the ZBC bought eight VX8 and only six could be accounted for. Who took the other two?

The ZBC bought big generators and I remember trying to raise a question and it was said not to be a policy question. When the actual distribution of those generators was being undertaken, someone benefited. Some people benefited big generators, not small ones. They were big such that you would require a crane to lift them.

Mr. Speaker, we have had situations where houses have been bought for some people by these parastatals. If you still remember Mr. Speaker, you were in this House, when it happened some time back, when ZUPCO issued a car to a Minister, a KB ISUZU and I asked the question in this House whether that was right. I could see that the moment we do not stick to procedures in our institutions, if I am a Minister and fortunately I have got about 10 parastatals that fall under my ministry, will I then go to each and every one getting something from them?

Mr. Speaker that is why I talked about corporate governance and what it means. Now we have a situation where because of the golden handcuffs that a Minister or a board Chairman will have been handcuffed with by the management in parastatals, you become a captive. You are now a prisoner of a board that you created and they start even asking you to authorize salary increases, even by-passing the authority that should do so. I was here when the Committee on Local Government was questioning the Town Clerk here. He was at pains to say who authorized his salaries; he was at pains, he could not, to the extent that he wanted the House to believe that a consultant can determine a salary or auditors. But it is the arrogance of some of these state institution leaders that now worries me. I have said the President has said enough and what do we expect the President to do when you get to a level of determining your own salaries, should he be there to say, I want to see? And who is the gate keeper? It must be the Minister.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is the problem that we have in this country. Let me deal with the issue of perception of Zimbabwe as the third most corrupt country in Africa, as it is being said and also why Zimbabwe is number 157 according to the 2012 survey? Why 157 out of the 173 countries that the survey was conducted.

Mr. Speaker, perception rules, whether you want to run away from it but it is perception that rules. It is that perception that is now making it difficult for Zimbabwe to attract foreign direct investment. I have said we can do without foreign direct investment, only if we can account of our resources that we have, we can do without aid as far as Zimbabwe is concerned. We cannot print money right now but we have managed to survive, just imagine if we were accounting for our diamonds, if we were accounting for our gold, if we were accounting for our platinum, where would Zimbabwe be today, Mr. Speaker? We would be one of the best performing countries in the world.

Mr. Speaker, the issue of perception arises from the fact that you read a Zimbabwean newspaper today, Herald, Newsday, Daily News b Zimbabwe Mail, the headline is about corruption and we all agree that it is true – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – So when people rate us, we then say no it is your perception you are against Zimbabwe and those people who make a lot of noise are the most corrupt people Mr. Speaker– [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –They are sometimes very high levels that must just keep quiet and maybe try then to do damage control when it is said by lower levels but we cannot start from the top.

The President has always said this when he was addressing the last Conference that was held in Chinhoyi, it was the same story, when it was in Gweru, it was the same story – [HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – So who are we then to say there is no corruption, to say there is no corruption in Zimbabwe, I believe the President is always well informed and whenever he opens his mouth, he would have seriously considered whatever he will be going to say. He is one of those people whom you can say probably he had taken some whisky or some wine, he does not drunk, and he is always sober. When he says something and if you want to pursue it you will get to the root of the problem. But alas Mr. Speaker, what do we do when he says that people will say aah! wamunzwa mudhara, aah! ndozvinongotaura mudhara mazuva ano.

Mr. Speaker, we have got a number of issues, it is terrible hon. members. Harare Airport road, we entered into a contract in 2008, and the reason was we wanted that road to be used during the 2010 World Cup and now we are in 2014. Another World cup is now coming up, actually next month and we have not yet finished, it is about 14km and that same 14 km cost Zimbabwe US$17 million and then you say, using my own layman’s costing, less than 14km cost Zimbabwe 80 million, so it cost one something million dollars to do a kilometer. So it cost how much per kilometer. There is one road in Ngezi that costed US$19 million. Mr. Speaker what was there for someone who signed this contract? Why would one sacrifice Zimbabwe on the altar like that?

Mr. Speaker we are all full aware, everybody uses the airport road with all the confusion caused by the construction that is endless and we all turn a blind eye. Mr. Speaker, further to that, we have got a fresh one, the issue of water reticulation at Morton Jaffrey, which cost us US$144 million. Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you this SciMark Company from China, if investigations are carried out it will come out that someone got 10% of that amount. These days it is very easy because there is the United Nations conventions against corruption, if anyone doubt and we as Zimbabweans are serious and we say we want to carry out these investigations because of this Convention that we ratified here and it is now law. If we want assistance to recover that money, we will get the assistance because the actual cost of that particular project cannot be anywhere near US$70 million, but we paid US$144 million. The negotiations were also clouded in secrecy and the people of Harare, as the major stakeholders, never approved the City of Harare to borrow US$144 million. The excuse that the officers will tell you is that we are not going to get the actual cash because it is the China Exim Bank that is going to pay, but the fact still remains the same. Zimbabweans will have to pay for that US$144 million.

Mr. Speaker, we have got several cases at the City Council level. On 29th January, the Mayor decided, like what Hon. Moyo did with ZBC, to say to the Chief Executive Officer, can you go on leave so that we can investigate, but as soon as the Minister landed in Harare, he sent someone in the middle of the night to the Mayor’s residence. He wrote a letter to the Mayor for him to rescind his decision to send the Town Clerk on leave. Because the Mayor would not enjoy being fired, he obliged and wrote a letter reinstating the Town Clerk. The Minister cited a section in the Act that deals with public interest and some of the people in Harare went on hunger strike demonstrating against that decision. So, why would the Minister risk his reputation by returning someone who had been asked to stand aside for a while whilst investigations were being carried out?

The Mayor’s crime is that he had asked the Town Clerk to give him the payroll schedule. The council is said to be the final authority as far as what is going on in the City of Harare is concerned, and the Mayor is the head. So he said I just want to know what we give you and your colleagues and up to today the Mayor does not have the information. If everything is being done above board, what would be the reason of anyone refusing to do so?

My colleagues, hon. members, here will help in this debate by furnishing you with a number of specific issues to do with the issues of corruption. Mr. Speaker, if we do not act today on this issue of corruption, we have a problem. I would have wanted this House to put in place a committee to deal with certain specific issues to address the issue of corruption, but again, I was advised that Parliament would be overstepping its mandate. I think I have said this to you, Mr. Speaker, that unless Parliament starts doing something we are creating a vacuum that will be filled by other people and it is not the best.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, talking about corporate governance, we have a person like Cuthbert Dube, who sits on 20 boards and on top of that as Chief Executive Officer, who is supposed to be in his office almost on a daily basis. Then we ask; is Zimbabwe short of people? In South Africa they have a data bank of people who are suitable to be appointed as board members. Again Mr. Speaker, I want hon. Ministers to be fair to the President. When the President asks for members to be appointed to a body, he expects a Minister to be honest to him and give him the best people for the appointment as board members. We then ask why this is happening. The majority of the people are being used as conduits.

There is also the issue of nepotism. You ask who Pfumbidzai from Air Zimbabwe is. She is mwana watete vanhingi. If you ask who Obvious Bvute is, he is the chair of that organisation and he was put there by so and so, and so and so took him to that board, and this one also gave him another board. There are these names that we hear every day, with all their problems. I am not accusing the individuals, but I am saying who is appointing one person to five or six boards? Why? Do we have a shortage of people in Zimbabwe? We claim to have a 95% literacy rate, which is almost the best in Africa, but we continuously recycle the same people, Mr. Speaker. Why are we doing so? It is patriotism. It is a privilege of a few individuals. Mr. Speaker, finally I want this House to make sure that our role of oversight is respected. The Constitution provides for that. We implore the Government to show us the results of their actions. Corruption started long back. I also want to mention Hon. Dr. Obert Mpofu; how the Willowgate scandal was brought to light was when Hon. Dr. Mpofu was still a businessman. He received a cheque as a rebate and when he opened it, he saw a huge sum of money. He wondered what it was for.
It was only during the enquiry that he realised that it was intended for another Mpofu who had very good connections up there and the rebate was from CAZ. Hon. Dr. Mpofu had not bought or traded in those Cressidas. That is how the issue of the Willowgate Scandal came to light and immediately the President appointed the Sandura Commission.

If this could be done Mr. Speaker, we still have credible judges. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] – I look at judges like Paddington Garwe; I really respect that family because it was from that family where the only minister resigned. The reason why he resigned was a very simple one because Minister Garwe’s child had had access to a Grade 7 examination paper for that matter and not a degree. He said, no, no, I am the Minister of Education and I cannot accept this. He resigned. – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear] –

Even the judge, one of the most high profile cases that he dealt with, he managed to stick out his neck and gave a judgment. I feel so sorry for the late Hon. Nyagumbo who took his life after the Willowgate scandal. Imagine, people were saying, aah and we are saying he died for a Cressida which is now a taxi yet others are smuggling tonnes of gold from Zimbabwe. Mr. Speaker, I really feel touched when I talk about these issues of corruption.

Since the Willowgate scandal, what came next was the Paweni Grain scandal and not only that, we have had several cases of corruption yet nothing has happened. We had the ZISCO Steel Blast Furnace scandal, the Air Zimbabwe the Fokker plane scandal of $100million and during that time a $100 000.00 was a lot of money. Even today, it is a lot of money because this 10% that people receive, if you were to take 10% of $100million, it can run all the clinics in the Midlands for a year supplying medicine.
We had the ZRP Santana scandal, do we have any casualties? No; the War Victims Compensation scandal and this one really pains me because I have war veterans today who are really disabled but could get only 15 – 20%. When able bodied war veterans got 95%, you are dead if you get that including the ones who are still harvesting today. We had the GMB scandal; the VIP Housing scandal; the Boka bank scandal; the ZESA YTL scandal. The ZESA YTL scandal died a natural death and to date, I think we have many dockets, they still have not been solved; the Harare City Refuse Tender scandal; the housing loan scandal; the NOCZIM scandal; the Ministry of Water and Rural Development Chinese Tender scandal; the VIP land grab scandal and the Harare Airport scandal. The list is endless.
So, Mr. Speaker, I think as Members of Parliament we must assert ourselves, declare that we will fight corruption and make sure that those that should give back what belongs to the people of Zimbabwe do so.

Lastly Mr. Speaker, the issue of tax. Those people who earn those monies must be tax audited and they must pay their taxes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

(52 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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