Milking the country dry

Sinqobile Tessa
SAD REALITY: billboard portraying the current situation in the country

After an upbeat couple of columns, I’m afraid we’re back to depressing updates this week.

The current topical issue in Zimbabwe brings to mind the book titled, ‘Nothing left to steal’ by South African journalist, Mzilikazi wa Afrika.

At the rate at which our leaders are abusing their powers to loot cash from all coffers they can lay their hands on, soon there will indeed be nothing left to plunder.

Local glitzy businessman and ex-convict, Wicknell Chivayo has been dominating the news of late for his murky dealings and corruption involving millions of US dollar.

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What makes his case intriguing is that Chivayo, 41, is a close associate of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and thus it remains to be seen if the law will take its course.

Not only that, his US$40 million Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) tender scandal has sucked in some big names. ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, Central Intelligence Organisation boss Isaac Moyo, Chief Secretary to cabinet Martin Rushwaya and gold baron, Pedzisayi Scott Sakupwanya have all been implicated in the saga.

The Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission has said it is waiting for Chivayo and two other local businessmen, Moses Mpofu and Mike Chimombe to hand over themselves to the police as they have gathered enough evidence to nail them.

The three are facing charges of fraud and money laundering as they excessively inflated prices of election material.

Those that have been sucked in are most probably also the beneficiaries of the multi-million dollar scandal.

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The ZEC Chairperson may have been aware of the inflated prices but it seems she still turned a blind eye as she stood to benefit.

In Zimbabwe and in such deals, there is always a ‘cut’ for everyone involved and by the way, what brought this scandal to light is that Chivayo allegedly didn’t pay his accomplices their expected dues hence the leaked audio.

The media, concerned citizens and the opposition are following the case with so much interest and many are hoping to see Chivayo paying for his sins. But then again this is Zimbabwe where people literally get away with murder as long as they are highly connected.

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Remember the gold mafia scandal, also involving millions of US dollars, no one implicated was arrested or charged with any crime. Instead, they continued with their fancy lives with no care whatsoever.

The same might happen in this case, or the least that can be done is arrest Chivayo, who will in turn be granted bail, then the case will drag before eventually dying a natural death.

In other news, at the time of writing this column, the country’s acting President was Kembo Mohadi as Mnangagwa was in South Africa for Cyril Ramaphosa’s inauguration on Wednesday.

75-year-old Mohadi has been trending because of his ill health.

He recently, however, denied that he was sick, instead blaming old age for his inability to stand for long.

The question that many asked was why he was not retiring so he could rest seeing that he is now old, frail and sickly though in denial.

Well, it seems retirement does not apply to Zim politicians; the culture is to die in office or to be forcibly removed, as was the case with the late Robert Mugabe. Perhaps when there’s nothing left to loot, we’ll start seeing some old timers stepping down!

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