ZANU-PF MP says commercialization is the way to go with Air Zimbabwe but get rid of corruption first


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HON. ZINDI:  Thank you Hon. Speaker for having recognised me and from a gender parity position, I feel honoured.

Hon. Speaker, I need to also make a contribution to this very important Statement that has been presented by the Minister before this august House.  In my observation, I want to categorically suggest that I think what the Hon. Minister has to go the route to commercialise that entity.  I am suggesting that on the basis that the Government is over-borrowed and we cannot continue to say the Government should inject more capital into Air Zimbabwe.  Mr. Speaker, yes it may have been said but I think basically, that is the route that I would personally want to recommend as well, in order for Air Zimbabwe to once again be a viable and commercial entity that can be recognised as back to the Air Zimbabwe that we used to know in the early eighties and nineties.

I would not sit down without mentioning some of the things that have caused Air Zimbabwe to be in debt as it is.  It is mismanagement Hon. Speaker and I think that commercialisation will deal with that aspect because once we streamline our management, as the Hon. Minister has mentioned in terms of a top-heavy structure that we will deal with the issue.  In terms of commercialisation, we will deal with that issue of top-heavy structure as Hon. Mashakada has mentioned, if we go commercial by inviting those who can invest to inject capital into Air Zimbabwe.

Hon. Speaker, it would be unfair if I do not mention the stream of corruption cases that have been aligned with Air Zimbabwe which have also contributed to it being in the state in which it is today.  For example, in 1987, there was the Fokker deal plane scandal which involved over $100 million.  I would not go into details of exactly what transpired but just to mention a stream of all the corrupt cases which contributed to state of Air Zimbabwe as it stands today.  For example, The Chronicle also reported the case of Air Zimbabwe bosses looting over US$11 million.  There is again another case of corruption involving Air Zimbabwe – $200 000, which the airline was being charged in a scandal which was to do with insurance.

There is another case involving Air Zimbabwe which says, Air Zimbabwe bosses crush into suspension over some $5.2 million and the list is endless.  These cases of corruption Hon. Speaker are the cases just to mention a few.  The list being endless as it is, that corruption has contributed to the state where Air Zimbabwe is today.  Therefore, the only solution as Hon. Dr. Mashakada has said earlier on about the issue of ownership and control, we are having all these corrupt cases taking place because it is who is connected to the Minister responsible for the airline at that particular time.  And, does that Minister responsible really trace all these corrupt cases to its logical conclusion where we do see people being prosecuted for the misdemeanours that are happening at Air Zimbabwe.  The answer is no Hon. Speaker.  Therefore, this control and ownership, if we continue to inject money, that will never play any miracles if we do not address the issue, hence my strong recommendation that it has to be commercialised and find some investor who injects capital and will have control in terms of management and making sure that the rightful people have been recruited to take those very crucial positions in terms of decision making.

Hon. Speaker, I have talked about the Government being over borrowed and for us to say Government with the economic quagmire that it is facing, we cannot afford again for Government to continue injecting some capital into Air Zimbabwe.  I also want to take on board the Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa who said in this House, that those parastatals which are not performing should be closed down.  But, in this case we are not saying Air Zimbabwe should be closed down.  We are making recommendations that it should actually be commercialised as a way to make it once again viable.  I thank you.

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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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