gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Mnangagwa’s biographer Eddie Cross bemoans corruption in Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwe Mail

Mnangagwa’s biographer Eddie Cross bemoans corruption in Zimbabwe

Eddie Cross
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HARARE, Zimbabwe – Former Member of Parliament and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s biographer Eddie Cross, has openly criticized the high levels of corruption and excessive taxation in both the Zimbabwean government and private sector.

In a recent post on his blog website, Cross emphasized that the rampant corruption and punitive tax policies are unsustainable and detrimental to the country’s economic health.

Cross’s commentary comes at a time when Zimbabweans are grappling with severe economic challenges. “The level of corruption in Zimbabwe is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue,” wrote Cross, pointing to the widespread illicit activities that plague both government institutions and private enterprises.

Cross highlighted numerous instances of corruption, including the theft of diamonds from the Marange diamond fields. Discovered in 2006 and covering nearly 100,000 hectares, Marange’s diamond production has been significant.

“My personal estimate is that Marange has produced nearly US$30 billion in raw diamonds since then,” Cross stated. However, he claimed that a substantial portion of the revenue has disappeared due to corrupt practices, implicating high-level government officials, including former President Robert Mugabe.

Cross also drew attention to the ongoing corruption in the fuel industry, which began shortly after Zimbabwe’s independence. The establishment of a state trading organization for importing and distributing fuel led to widespread graft. “During this period, the President was again a major beneficiary,” Cross alleged, referencing the corruption that peaked between 2014 and 2017.

In addition to corruption, Cross criticized the heavy tax burden on Zimbabweans, particularly the Value-Added Tax (VAT) on essential goods. “The VAT on basic foods? Are we crazy?” he questioned. Cross highlighted the 30% VAT on live cattle sales, which disproportionately affects rural peasants who often lack valid tax certificates.

Cross argued that the current tax system has surpassed sustainable levels, leading to diminishing returns. “Surely also the State must understand that our tax system has far exceeded the level at which tax proceeds start to decline,” he noted.

Drawing parallels to recent events in Kenya, Cross asserted that the grievances of young protesters in Nairobi, sparked by a controversial finance bill, were legitimate. “The young people rioting in Nairobi had a real case,” he wrote, commending Kenyan President William Ruto’s swift and measured response to the unrest. Cross suggested that Zimbabwean authorities need to recognize and address similar discontent within their own borders.

Cross’s extensive experience in Zimbabwe’s economy lends weight to his critiques. He called for urgent reforms to combat corruption and restructure the tax system. “Add all this together and you can see why I argue we are a rich country, made poor by bad governance in both Government and the private sector,” he concluded. Cross emphasized the need for a cultural shift in both public and private sectors to curb corrupt practices and ensure economic stability.

Renowned political analyst Alex Magaisa echoed Cross’s sentiments, stating, “Eddie Cross’s observations highlight the systemic issues that Zimbabwe faces. Corruption and excessive taxation are crippling the economy, and immediate reforms are necessary to restore public trust and economic stability.”

Another analyst, Pedzisai Ruhanya, added, “The government’s failure to address these issues will only exacerbate the country’s economic woes. Cross’s call for action should serve as a wake-up call to the authorities.”

As Zimbabwe navigates its economic challenges, voices like Eddie Cross’s are crucial in highlighting the urgent need for reform. His critique underscores the importance of transparency, accountability, and fair taxation in fostering a stable and prosperous economy. The hope is that his insights will galvanize both the government and private sector to take decisive action against corruption and create a more equitable economic environment for all Zimbabweans.

For more insights and detailed analysis on Zimbabwe’s economic and political landscape, stay tuned to Zimbabwe Economic News.