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Zanu-PF’s anti-sanctions rhetoric fails to hide runaway corruption scandals

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and first lady, Auxilia. The President’s family has been implicated in several corruption scandals since his rise to power through a military coup in 2017.

The Zimbabwean government continues to blame ‘sanctions’ for the country’s economic woes yet it remains crystal clear that corruption and looting of national resources have largely contributed to the economic crisis in the country.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has apparently failed to walk the talk in the fight against corruption with his cronies being implicated in high level corruption scandals. This brief seeks to expose some of the massive corruption cases by top Mnangagwa allies, political heavyweights as well as individuals with connections to the ruling party, Zanu-PF.

The brief covers some of the corruption cases since the coming in of the ‘new dispensation’ following the ascendancy of Mnagagwa to power through a military coup in November 2017.The brief therefore excludes the Billions of United States Dollars (Including the US$15 Billion from Marange Diamonds) looted during the Mugabe era.Current facts, as also confirmed by the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) show that Zimbabwe is losing an estimated US$2 billion yearly due to corruption. It is logical to conclude that the cases contained in this brief are just but a tip of the iceberg in as far as the deep rooted corruption in Zimbabwe is concerned.

1. In February 2020, the Zanu PF Youth League accused one of Mnangagwa’s key allies, Kuda Tagwirei of being behind the economic havoc in Zimbabwe adding that he was among a cartel of corrupt business people in the country. Tagwirei was accused of sponsoring underhand dealings in the fuel, gold, pharmaceutical and agriculture sectors. In response to the claims by members of the Youth League, who had also threatened to name and shame corrupt Zanu PF bigwigs whom they blamed for the country’s economic woes, Mnangagwa fired the Youth League Secretary, Pupurai Togarepi and also the deputy Youth League Secretary, Lewis Matutu as well as the Youth League Political Commissar, Godfrey Tsenengamu.

2. After Mnangagwa dismissed the Zanu PF Youth League leaders for implicating his ally, Kuda Tagwirei in corruption scandals in February 2020, Tagwirei was to be implicated in yet another top corruption scandal. Tagwirei was reported to be acquiring buses for the Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) through his company Landela Investments in what was described as a murky deal. In September 2019, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)  had frozen Landela Investment’s account due to illegal foreign currency trading only for the freeze to be lifted under unclear circumstances. Reports indicated that Landela Investments was contracted to purchase 500 buses for mass public transportation at a unit price of US$58 900 and then sell to the government at US$212 962 each. Tagwirei’s oil company, Sakunda Holdings has also been implicated in the misappropriation of US$3 billion during the controversial Command Agriculture scheme.

3. In June 2020, Mnangagwa’s son, Collins was implicated in a US$1 Million tender scandal for the supply of COVID 19 equipment to the Ministry of Health. Mnangagwa’s son won the tender without going through due process amid indications the COVID 19 equipment was to be supplied to the government at highly inflated prices.

4. In June 2020, it emerged that Drax International, a company which was behind a Covid 19 kit US$60 Million tender scam had links to Mnangagwa after videos and pictures of the Zimbabwean leader interacting with the company’s representatives emerged. Drax International was set to supply ND5 face masks at a cost of US$28 when the price in local pharmacies is US$4. The company is fronted by Delish Nguwaya whose pictures with the First Family also went viral. Nguwaya also has close connections with Mnangagwa’s son, Collins. Following the expose, Zanu-PF Spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa warned the media against reporting on the issue. In another embarrassing procurement scandal, the Zimbabwean government confused citizens by claiming it had received testing kits from Namibia. On 21 April, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe had received 4,499 test kits from Namibia. Mutsvangwa’s revelations raised eyebrows: Namibia does not manufacture Covid-19 test kits. The country was also receiving donations and struggling to roll out mass testing because of a shortage of test kits.

Namibian Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula denied any knowledge of the donation when contacted by the Namibian Sun. Shangula asked: “Where would we get those tests from? How can we donate when we don’t have enough?”

Clearly, one of the parties here wasn’t being honest. Questions, therefore, continued to be asked in both countries, prompting Namibia’s Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation to issue a formal statement on 26 June flatly denying the donation and revealing that Zimbabwe’s authorities had apologised, saying that the “allegations” of the donation had been “unfounded and erroneous”. Senior figures in the government in Harare were left with egg on their faces.

Official government documents have exposed that the kits in question had in fact been supplied by a Namibian-registered company, Jaji Investments, linked to Mnangagwa’s aide. Jaji Investments sourced the kits in China, before supplying Zimbabwe at huge cost. Garikai Mushininga, a medical doctor based in Namibia, who said he was the managing director of Jaji Investments, confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent that he bought the kits in China before they were flown to Zimbabwe by DHL.

5A top Mnangagwa aide was fingered in the case of Zimbabwe Miners Federation President, Henrietta Rushwaya who was apprehended at the Robert Mugabe International Airport while trying to smuggle 6.09 kg of gold to Dubai. The gold was valued at US$333 000.

6. The Mnangagwa administration has also come under fire for failing to deal with high level corruption cases amid indications the government is playing a catch and release strategy.

The government also has been threatening as well as detaining journalists for exposing high level corruption.

7. In August 2019, Auditor General, Mildred Chiri revealed that government books were in shambles adding this created fertile ground for corrupt activities in various government departments. She also highlighted that there was no accuracy in terms of expenditure patterns at government departments.

Chiri however remains a lone voice in the fight against corruption with the government failing to act on her findings and recommendations.

8. In January 2020, the head of the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC), Justice Loice Matanda Moyo said Zimbabwe was losing nearly US$2 billion annually due to corruption and expressed frustration with the manner in which the government was tackling corruption.

This comes at a time the Special Anti Corruption Unit in Mnangagwa’s office has been accused of acting as an extortion vehicle that has fuelled rather than acted to eradicate corruption.

9. In August 2020, Mnangagwa while speaking at a function at State House, praised ‘philanthropist’ Scott Sakupwanya for being ‘patriotic and determined’. Sakupwanya went on to make the headlines when in one of his pictures (on social media) he was showing off US$5 Million cash while in the other pictures he was showing off bars of gold and cash as well. – The Zimbabwean.

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