Mnangagwa must declare his wealth first

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s promise to deal with corruption and its effects on the economy is said to be on track‚ but opposition parties say he should be the first to declare his interests.

Zimbabwe is ranked 154th out of 176 countries on Amnesty International’s corruption index.

Mnangagwa last month announced a three-month amnesty period for people and companies, to “return money and assets siphoned out of the country‚ no questions asked”.

Zimbabwe’s Reserve Bank governor, John Mangudya, said: “The response is quite positive.”

Mnangagwa claims to know who the “looters” are and they are likely to face prosecution once the moratorium ends if they do not reveal all.

This week, as Mnangagwa left for Davos to rub shoulders with the business and political aristocracy‚ he left an instruction with his chief secretary, Misheck Sibanda, to zero in on senior civil servants and members of his cabinet.

The brief was simple – they should declare all their asserts worth more than $100 000 and comply within the next five weeks.

“Any item or movable property exceeding $100 000 in value owned or leased by the individual concerned in which he or she has any other interest and in any business the individual has interest in and in which he or she plays a part in running and the nature of interest in the property or business should be clearly stated‚” the statement read.

There were failed attempts under former president Robert Mugabe to have lifestyle audits.

The Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said the “proof of the pudding is in the eating”‚ daring Mnangagwa to push ahead with his promise‚ which might not sit well with many senior politicians in ZANU-PF who have been implicated in corruption in the past.

But the President himself has faced corruption claims and another political party‚ Transform Zimbabwe‚ suggested that he should be the first to declare his interests.

“He must declare all the mines he owns in Kwekwe then we can take him seriously‚” party leader Jacob Ngaruvhume said.

A United Nations report on the plunder of resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo named Mnangagwa as having been at the centre of that country’s resource plunder during the second Congo War when the Zimbabwe National Army went to defend Laurent Kabila’s rule.

A United States diplomatic WikiLeaks cable of 2008 claimed that Mnangagwa had amassed extraordinary wealth at the time.

According to the same UN report‚ the command element of the Zimbabwe National Army‚ which helped him to power‚ had investments in the DRC’s mining sector through two holding companies‚ Tremalt and Oryx Natural Resources.

Politicians in Zimbabwe have a tradition of keeping their wealth a secret.

However‚ through divorce cases some have had their riches exposed. One‚ former Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, was revealed in court papers as owning 15 luxury cars and more than 20 houses in prime areas.

Opposition parliamentarians last week raised questions about how Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu had obtained his wealth.

Mpofu allegedly owns a huge chunk of properties in Zimbabwe’s prime resort area‚ Victoria Falls.

Former first lady Grace Mugabe has‚ for some‚ been the poster girl of looting.

A 2016 Range Rover Autobiography worth about R4-million‚ a South African-registered 911 Porsche Carrera and a Rolls Royce Wraith‚ which were accompanied by a written affidavit from Grace‚ caused a spectacle while travelling to South Africa last week.

She also bought two properties in South Africa‚ one of them a mansion in Sandhurst that is worth a reported R45-million. – TimesLIVE