Top stories for March 16-20


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Mugabe not serious about curbing corruption- Civil society organisations say President Robert Mugabe is not serious about curbing corruption because if he was he would have protected members of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. According to the Standard today, the organisations said if Mugabe was serious, he would have named, shamed and punished cabinet ministers and top government officials so far implicated in corruption including those alleged to have demanded bribes from potential investors. Last week Mugabe said he had been told that a minister had demanded US$70 000 to facilitate an investment while a Member of Parliament demanded US$50 000 but he did not name the two. “Why is the minister nameless and faceless? Is the President now afraid of his ministers? It shows there is no genuine interest in fighting corruption,” a member of the civil society was quoted by the Standard as saying. Last year he said heads would roll after he was informed that Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chair Godwills Masimirembwa was involved in a US$6 million scandal but this year he exonerated Masimirembwa saying the Ghanaian investors had lied. Mugabe has previously said ministers had demanded bribes of up to US$10 million but no one has been brought to book yet.

MPs plan boycott
Members of Parliament from both the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Movement for Democratic Change are planning to boycott debate in the house in protest against the Speaker’s ruling that they must not make unsubstantiated allegations. The MPs have described Speaker Jacob Mudenda’s ruling as a gag but Mudenda said it was not a gag. He was merely invoking the country’s constitution. Mudenda made the ruling after several MPs named ministers for receiving perks from parastatals under their ministers. The MPs are united in condemning corruption and want an oversight role in the appointment of board members and chief executives of state enterprises. The government has set an agency under the President’s Office but MPs insist they want to set up a committee because the executive cannot police itself since some of the people that have been fingered in corrupt activities are cabinet ministers. The MPs also argue that it is their constitutional right to oversee all government operations because the constitution says “…all institutions and agencies of the State at every level are accountable to Parliament”‘. Parliament adjourned on Tuesday last week to make room for a seminar on the government’s economic blue print ZimAsset. Debate is due to resume tomorrow.

 

No boycott but drama in the house
Parliament resumed sitting today despite threats that Members of Parliament would boycott debate in protest against Speaker Jacob Mudenda’s ruling that they must not make unsubstantiated statements in the house. The house sat for three hours and forty minutes with the only drama being the booting out of Mkoba legislator Amos Chibaya for allegedly saying “ndokumamisa”. Chibaya protested that he had not said that but was escorted out. Shortly after that Zengeza West Member of Parliament Simon Chidhakwa complained that Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Wadyajena had said “ndinokucheka musoro”. Wadyajena said he had never said so. Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka swore that it was not Wadyajena who had said so but Chibaya.

 

I am not a tribalist
The Minister of State for Bulawayo Eunice Sandi Moyo today said she was not a tribalist and would not reserve jobs in Bulawayo for the people of Bulawayo but would give jobs to anyone with the right documents. Moyo had been asked by Movement for Democratic Change legislator Ruth Labode how she intended to handle the issue of people from outside being employed in Bulawayo. “First of all, I am not a tribalist. Secondly, I serve Zimbabwe. Thirdly, I will support anyone who has the right documents to occupy a vacancy,” Moyo replied.

 

Police ordered to stop operating kombis
Police have been ordered to stop operating kombis, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi said today but he could not state the date when the order was given. Ziyambi was responding to questions in Parliament about when police officers would stop owning kombis because this was one of the major reasons for corruption. Members of Parliament argued that most of the police officers owning kombis had bought them from proceeds of corruption. It had been suggested that some of the police officers had used money that they were paid when they went out on United Nations operations like in Sudan, but a Member of Parliament argued that there were too many kombis owned by the police on the roads and not all of them had gone out of the country on UN business.

 

MDC cabinet disturbed by attempts to gag parliament
The Movement for Democratic Change shadow cabinet today said it was disturbed by attempts to gag parliament through unconstitutional and undemocratic rulings by the Speaker Jacob Mudenda. “Parliament is a theatre and market place of ideas by the people’s ambassadors. The alternative cabinet calls upon the Speaker of Parliament to restore the credibility and integrity of Parliament by reversing and desisting from pursuing undemocratic tendencies,” the cabinet said in a statement. It also expressed concern over the truancy and absenteeism of ZANU- PF ministers from parliament and said the ministers must be punished severely. “For an effective democracy, ministers have to be accountable for their actions and responsive to questions raised by the people of Zimbabwe through their legislators,” the cabinet said.

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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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