Top stories for March 11-15

Chikwinya in trouble – The Member of Parliament for Mbizo Settlement Chikwinya is in trouble. He could be charged with contempt of Parliament for claiming that Speaker Jacob Mudenda had watered down the motion on good governance which was proposed by Kambuzuma legislator Willias Madzimure, the Speaker said today. Chikwinya seconded the motion. Mudenda said all amendments to Madzimure’s motion were agreed with him. Madzimure actually thanked Mudenda for seeing the motion through saying that the secretariat wanted to block it. Chikwinya was quite harsh on corrupt leaders especially those heading state enterprises. He said that since Zimbabwe had adopted a Look East policy it must follow the example of China and hang corrupt parastatal bosses because they were not only killing the organisations that they worked for the people as a whole. “Since we have now looked East Mr. Speaker, the Chinese, if I can take them into cognisance, have put capital punishment to corruption. If you are found being corrupt and working for a parastatal in China, you face capital punishment because you are not only killing the organisation which you are working for. You are killing the State and the State is the public,” he said.

Mujuru welcomes robust debate on corruption

Vice President Joice Mujuru today commended parliament for the quality of debate in the two houses and said if the legislators maintained this momentum then real progress was guaranteed in Zimbabwe. Parliament has been debating good governance for the past three weeks and insists that it wants an oversight role to curb corruption especially in the appointment of members of boards of state enterprises as well as the chief executives. Mujuru came under a lot of flak during the debate because of her statement that those who were exposing corruption had a sinister political motive. She had a totally different tone today when she said: “Zim Asset will succeed when we observe dignity at home and at corporate levels. Hunhu hunokosha. We should all shun corruption in all its forms. Government is unanimous in its resolve to eradicate this scourge, and I wish to urge legislators to support this effort. We may differ in the implementation but the objectives are the same.” Members of Parliament from both the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, however, united to condemn corruption arguing that corruption had nothing to do with which political party one belonged to. The legislators also named several top executives of state enterprises and government ministers for being involved in corruption prompting the Speaker Jacob Mudenda to make a ruling that according to the country’s constitution legislators could not make unsubstantiated allegations.


Chidhakwa threatens to stop diamond mining in Marange

Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa today said it is better to stop diamond mining in Marange than to continue losing money to the miners. Chidhakwa’s statement must come as a shock to diamond monitoring groups which have over the years accused the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front of siphoning billions of dollars from Marange. “We used to watch close circuit television yesterday, now we watch the footprint. If the footprint in Marange is 10 to 15 percent gem and if you come to me and say ‘No, we just found two percent gem,’ you are out. We don’t need you in Zimbabwe because you are deviating from the footprint and we know it’s deliberately happening. We have lost a lot of our diamonds,” Chidhakwa said. The minister said there was something wrong with the valuation system because one valuer had set the price at $400 per carat but during the auction this rose to US$1 000 per carat and ended up at US$18 000 per carat. There was also confusion as to the mix of gem and industrial diamonds with one company saying it was 70 percent gem and 30 percent industrial while another said it was 15 percent gem but Indian buyers said there were no industrial diamonds in Zimbabwe. “One of the touching stories was that the people who buy your diamonds on the local tender system are controlled by one person and that one person is controlled by one of your producers. So they buy your diamonds at US$34 a carat,” he said.


Mugabe says heads will roll as corruption continues but…….

President Robert Mugabe has once again promised that heads will roll as he tries to curb corruption. He said he had received a report that one lady Member of Parliament and a cabinet minister had demanded bribes to pave way for an investor only last week. Mugabe did not name the two but said the legislator had demanded US$50 000 and the minister US$70 000. The woman wanted the money “to open the way” for the investor which is a clear indication that there is political meddling in the approval of investments. The country’s parliament has been debating corruption for three weeks with one legislator calling for capital punishment to end the rot. Mugabe yesterday came shot of that stating that in Arab countries they had Sharia law which says that corrupt people and thieves should have their hands cut off. Zimbabwe did not have that but those found to be corrupt would have to rot in jail. “We will be watching and watching kwese ikoko, kunana Chiadzwa uko kuMarange kwese uko. Tinoda kunyatsoona kuti zvinhu zvange zvichifamba sei. Kana kwange kuine corruption yange ichiitika tikaidzumbunura chete people will answer for it I can tell you,” he was quoted by The Herald as saying. Mugabe has vowed that heads will roll before but has done nothing yet. The fact that a minister and a legislator had enough courage to ask for a bribe at the height of the debate on corruption is a clear indication that Mugabe’s administration is toothless.


PSMAS saga continues

The Premier Services Medical Aid Society saga has taken another twist with reports that the organisation owes the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority US$40.6 million. According to today’s Herald, ZIMRA issued a garnishee order to banks on Monday but the order was reversed the same day after PSMAS paid US$2 million and offered ZIMRA an acceptable payment plan. PSMAS has been under the spotlight following revelations that its chief executive Cuthbert Dube earned US$6.4 million last year and together with his management they earned a staggering US$18.6 million. The organisation owed US$38 million to service providers at the time, though this has since been reduced. The paper said PSMAS’s top executives took home US$1.1 million out of the organisation’s US$2 million monthly wage bill.


Tsvangirai says democracy is not mobocracy

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai today said his party was not against individual opinions but there should be direction. Addressing a rally at Stanley Square in Bulawayo, Tsvangirai said the party was not going to be derailed by the current conflict within the party which has seen it suspending deputy treasurer general Elton Mangoma but would be guided by its vision and mission which is to liberate the people. “We are not against individual opinions in the party but all we are saying is there should be a direction. You cannot just wake up in the morning and say whatever you want just like that. Democracy is not mobocracy. We will condemn indiscipline so that the party can move ahead,” he said. Tsvangirai has been buoyed by the return of party founding members and those who had switched to the Welshman Ncube faction like Job Sikhala, Joubert Mudzumwe, Edward Mukosi, Siyabonga Malandu and Tedius Chimombe. “Let’s come back to the basics, let’s go back to the basis of the spirit of 1999 which is the spirit of unity and purpose. That is the spirit that is going to drive us to the last mile. We need that so that we energise the people,” he said.



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