In July Zimbabwe Revenue boss Willia Bonyongwe said corruption in Zimbabwe was like organised crime.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa made the fight against corruption as one of his priorities when he was sworn in on 24 November last year. But nothing has changed. Nothing. Some would even venture to say things have got worse.
Bonyongwe who has since lost her job when her board was dissolved said Zimbabwe was not fighting against corruption. It was just scratching the surface.
National consensus was required to fight corruption because it was like a cancer, she said.
“It is like you have got cancer in your body, you have to attack it holistically so that it doesn’t migrate from the arm to the head or the leg.”
Now Mnangagwa has admitted that corruption is right there is his own office.
He told the party’s central committee: “Some people say to the investors, ‘before I take you to the President or minister, pay me some money’. I have been told that one investor was charged R5 million to come see me.
“The investor was told that three quarters of the money would go to the President and the (fourth) quarter will be given to the person who will fix the meeting. When I eventually met the investor in South Africa, he told me that he had been asked to pay R5 million to meet me. Corruption, corruption, corruption, down with corruption!”
The question is: Was Mnangagwa merely politicking or was he serious about curbing corruption? If he was serious, what has he done about the aide who wanted the R5 million bribe?
The picture is not good if reports that Zimbabwe is losing more than $1 billion a year through corruption are correct.
Celebrated cases of Mnangagwa’s attempts to deal with corruption are collapsing.
Former Energy Minister Samuel Undenge has just been acquitted.
No one is talking about former Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo who served as the Finance Minister a month before President Robert Mugabe’s fall yet he was one of the first to be arrested for corruption and was paraded in leg irons.
All we are reading about Walter Mzembi is that he is critically ill and in hospital in South Africa.
David Parirenyatwa has just been given his passport to travel to Ghana. Saviour Kasukuwere insists he did nothing wrong.
None of those arrested last year has gone to trial yet except Undenge who was convicted of a petty corruption case involving just over $12 000.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission says it has received 400 cases of corruption. Well and fine. But what has it done about them?
It is almost like Joram Gumbo saying the country has enough fuel but we don’t have foreign currency to have it released.
Is the country so corrupt that the system does not allow the corrupt to be convicted?
Like Bonyongwe said, corruption is now like organised crime. If that is the case, everyone is holding on to something to use against the other so no one will expose the other.
What about the much-herald special corruption task force that was set up by Mnangagwa himself?
Are these the people that are now demanding bribes to allow anyone access to Mnangagwa?
If, as one headline said, Mnangagwa is surrounded by corrupt people, why can he not get rid of them?
After all he has been assured by his party that he will be at the helm of the party for five or more years. This means that if he is really serious about curbing corruption- and is not corrupt himself- he can fire everyone and rebuild the party.
Zimbabwe needs a clean start with clean people or at least those who can stop the rot.