Mnangagwa has no one but himself to blame for corruption in Zimbabwe-US envoy


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“Zimbabwe put itself through corruption, inefficiency and lack of transparency,” he said.

Since coming to power through a military coup in November 2017 and winning a disputed election in July 2018, Mnangagwa had done little more than “scratch the surface”, said Nichols, with promised reforms, and had overseen a series of violent attacks on protesters, disregard for the rule of law and a crackdown on the opposition.

“We need to see practical, effective implementation of the Motlanthe commission recommendations from the August 1 2018 violence. This has not happened,” said Nichols.

“There have been no investigations of a serious nature and the human rights violations of mid-January, after the fuel price increase, remain not investigated.”

Even within Mnangagwa’s 26-member advisory council, some believe the regime has done too little to win back regional and international support.

“The region and the world have given up on us,” council member Shingi Munyeza told a National People’s Convention gathering in Harare on Wednesday.

“The region including those we call our friends have thrown in the towel. So basically this train is cruising in the wrong direction.”

High-powered lobbyists in Washington and London hired by the government, including BTP Advisers, Mercury Public Affairs, Ballard Partners and Avenue Strategies, have failed to improve international perceptions of Zimbabwe, and Nichols said Mnangagwa had no one but himself to blame for allowing corruption to go unchecked.

“It is high time government does a cleanup. What we need is a stable economic environment, so any measures meant to effect that are welcome,” he said.

With strong public institutions, Zimbabwe would not be a beggar, he said, because billions stolen from public coffers could have been used to provide health care and a higher standard of living for all Zimbabweans.

“Just look at a few cases: in the command agriculture programme for general Zimbabweans, there is over US$3bn unaccounted for in that programme.

“You have the National Social Security Authority, where the former minister [Prisca Mupfumira] that oversaw that programme is currently on trial because over US$70m was looted.

“Even in the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, millions of dollars have been stolen. You have an electricity utility where millions have also been looted, and the list goes on and on.”

The ambassador said investors remained keen on Zimbabwe but were anxious about runaway inflation and disregard for corporate governance.

“If Zimbabwe could resolve these key issues, that will improve the country’s attractiveness to investors. Underpinning all of that is transparency and the rule of law,” he said.

Nichols said Mnangagwa’s claims in his state of the nation address this week that the US had stage-managed a series of recent abductions were “ridiculous, insulting and obviously untrue”. – Timeslive

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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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