Integrity a litmus test for Africa

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By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo:

Recently, I read a publication about Tanzanian President Magufuli, turning down an offer for an extension which was being advocated by Parliament, he turned down the offer citing the issue of integrity and dignity evolving around the office of the President. The office of State Presidency in Africa, has been eroded by greedy, corruption, dictatorial tendencies and above all, looting of state resources in the day broad light. Magufuli is one of the leading African leaders who will go down in the history of the continent as one of the principled politician, who stand by his word. Few days ago, he hit the headlines after he dismissed one of his cabinet Ministers, after he discovered that he was going out with a married woman. He did not wait to go to his office, he simply dismissed him right on the podium.

During Mugabe’s era, one would become a casualty after refusing to be part of the loot. One of the academic requirements to be in the Government, you have to participate in looting of Covid – 19 funds, produce fake receipts, fake vouchers, and present false and altered information to the Parliamentary committee of Finance, and immediately, you will have a passport to seat in the Cabinet. Today, we have a full cabinet Minister, presiding over the Health portfolio, facing serious counts over missing Covid-19 funds, close to 60 Million USD.

Few years back, the then Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, travelled all the way to Rusape, to open a bin, with a ribbon, and later on claiming Government mileage, and other benefits. The then President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Robert Mugabe allowed him to execute his duties, diligently as a Cabinet Minister, presiding over a critical Ministry, no wounder why today, we have all this confusion in Zimbabwe. On top of the mileage, one was expected to present a briefing or full report to the Cabinet, and here is a Minister who went to cut a ribbon in Rusape, bringing the whole country into laughter.

In South Africa, Mnangagwa’s counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, suspended a cabinet Minister, after he went to visit a friend during the lockdown period. Ramaphosa had to place the Cabinet Minister on special leave, one Month without a salary and benefits, as an example of what the President meant, when he executed his duties.

Here in Harare, we have a full cabinet Minister, who presiding over the looting of Covid – 19 funds, after all the evidence was placed before the President, today the Health Minister is still occupying his role. In Zimbabwe it’s normal to use a female toilet, when you are a male person, as long as it’s a latrine.

Back in Malawi, we have Lazarus Chakwera, the newly sworn in President who won the second round of elections, he has just removed the immunity of the former President, Mutharika, and he has instructed all former ministers to bring back all Government vehicles by 11 am today, barely 24 hours after his swearing in ceremony as the 6th Head of State.

In Zimbabwe, Government vehicles can be used to ferry firewood or piloting from Ruwa to Harare, and you can park the vehicle anywhere, and noonee cares, as long as you are able to play, the jingles, rambai makashinga, and we have someone to blame, sanctions alone !

Today in Malawi, Mordecai Msiska, was appointed Justice Minister, and turned down the offer, citing the issue of age, and in his latest interview with Reuters, he thanked the President for the honour, and pleaded with him to offer those who were still young and who can do better. He felt, it would seem like a reward, for assisting the President with his Presidential petition which led to the re-run of elections.

Today, in Zimbabwe, we have never witnessed a Government Minister resigning from his job, he or she only awaits dismissal.

We have witnessed, masks bought for 2 USD and later being sold to the Government, at 250 USD. PPEs from the Republican of China, bought for 330 USD, and later sold at 66 000 USD, and later on heap the blame on sanctions.

This is why we have seen Hon Killer Zivhu, who is one of the few hardworking Mps being ejected from Zanu PF, for calling for national dialogue with Mnangagwa’ s political nemesis , Nelson Chamisa.

In Zambia, more than 800 km, away from us, we have Edgar Lungu, who has not relieved Chilfya the Health Minister, who is facing serious counts on gross malpractice, and corruption charges. Today, he is still the Health Minister, and is reporting to cabinet.

Few years back, in South Africa, Jacob Zuma, the then Head of State, was recalled from his position as the head of state, after he was compromised with the guptas, and South Africa ANC , had no option except to recall him from the State Presidency. It is only here in Zimbabwe, where the Head of State, can pause for pictures with criminals, Drax International, and still pretend as if everything is normal.

Drinking from the same fountain !!!

Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Head of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking – ZIST, and he can be contacted at zimstrategicthinking@gmail.com

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