It was a noble idea when it was announced two years ago. In a circular sent out by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda, President Emmerson Mnangagwa made it mandatory for all ministers, deputy ministers, heads of ministries, senior principal directors, board chairpersons and board members of state enterprises and parastatals, chief executive officers of state enterprises, all chairpersons and members of constitutional commissions (both executive and independent), and chief executive officers of local authorities to submit a written declaration of their assets.
The circular date-stamped 23 January 2018 said that the declaration of assets document should contain the following information:
- details of all immovable property owned by the person or those in which s/he has an interest.
- Any movable property exceeding US$100 000 in value owned or leased by the individual or in which s/he has an interest.
- any business in which the individual has an interest or in which s/he plays a part in running. The nature of the interest in the property or business concerned should be clearly stated.
The deadline for submissions was 28 February 2018.
Two years have gone by. Nothing was done putting a heavy dent on the credibility of Mnangagwa and his seriousness to curb corruption.
He has revived the directive and maintained the deadline of 28 February.
There is no point in debating, why now? The question is, is he now serious?
The only, or perhaps the surest, way of showing that he is serious is for Mnangagwa to declare his assets first. To show that he is serious, his wife Auxillia and all his sons and daughters must also declare their assets even though they are not public officers. This will show the full extent of his family wealth so that he is not accused of hiding any assets through family or other proxies.
This is quite important because there are too many rumours about businesses and properties he President owns.
His main rival, Jonathan Moyo, said Mnangagwa was the richest man in Zimbabwe. He posted a tweet by reporter Gift Phiri which said his net-worth was US$1.5 billion
At the time, Strive Masiyiwa’s wealth was estimated at US$1.7 billion.
Mnangagwa has squandered a lot of chances to prove that he is serious about curbing corruption and that he is different from his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
Having been Mugabe’s lieutenant for at least 40 years, this is a shadow difficult to shake off, but it is not impossible.
Zimbabweans are very forgiving people. He will be surprised if he comes clean.
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