Will Mnangagwa deliver on promise to tackle corruption?


Mnangagwa's promise to crack down on endemic corruption has been welcomed by many in the country.

"The time of Mugabe encouraged a lot of thieving, but this time Mnangagwa has to do better," said Sibusisiwe Siziba, a 45-year-old domestic worker in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city and previously the hub of its manufacturing industry.

"He was part of the government which was stealing before, but this time he has another chance," she told Al Jazeera, expressing hope that despite the past scandals, a more transparent leadership had ascended to power.

"He must act if there is corruption, or we will lose our country again."

However, a wave of detentions of ex-top government and ruling party officials has also raised questions, with critics saying the arrests are mostly driven by political motives rather a zero tolerance approach towards graft.

On Friday, ex-agriculture minister Joseph Made and former provincial affairs minister Jason Machaya became the latest former officials to be hit with charges of corruption and abuse of office.

Their detentions came days after Walter Chidhakwa, ex-minister of mines and mining development, and Francis Gudyanga, former permanent secretary of mines, appeared in court on charges of abuse of office.

The two are also accused of authorising the improper constitution of a board of a state-owned enterprise involved in the sale and marketing of Zimbabwe's minerals.

The latest apprehensions follow on the heels of the arrests of ex-finance minister Ignatius Chombo, former leader of the ZANU-PF Youth League Kudzanai Chipanga and his deputy Innocent Hamandishe.

They were first taken into police custody on the evening of Mnangagwa's inauguration, with each facing separate charges of corruption and other criminal acts. However, after being granted bail, the trio re-appeared in court last week on charges of criminal nuisance for wearing ZANU-PF regalia inscribed with Mnangagwa's "E.D" initials and the ruling party's flag.

The three were expelled from ZANU-PF last month for their alleged involvement in the Generation-40 (G40) faction backing former First Lady Grace Mugabe to succeed her 93-year-old husband.

Mugabe was sacked as the party's first secretary leading to his resignation as state president days later, following the launch of a military operation aimed at "targeting criminals" around the veteran leader and stopping the purges of key figures within ZANU-PF.

At the time, then-vice president Mnangagwa was fired and expelled from the party, but after temporarily fleeing into exile, he came to power through the army's Operation Restore Legacy action.

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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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