Mnangagwa warns senior loyalists using party name for corruption

Emmerson Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday threatened to descend heavily on Zanu PF bigwigs dropping the ruling party’s name to evade arrest each time they were caught engaging in corrupt activities.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Mnangagwa told a Zanu PF politburo meeting that he would soon flush out malcontents who had turned the ruling party into a haven for corruption.

“The fight against corruption in the party and in the country continues unabated. Gone are the days when members hid behind their status and abused the name of the party to propagate corruption,” he said.

“Zanu PF and this administration will never allow the party to be a haven for malcontents and criminals.”
Mnangagwa’s administration has increasingly come under fire for failing to prosecute party activists and senior government officials fingered in corruption.

Critics accuse the government of playing “catch and release”, a phrase coined to describe the manner in which top government figures and officials are let loose after hyped arrests on allegations of corruption.

Mnangagwa’s family members have also been fingered in a COVID-19 funds scandal that led to the arrest of former Health minister Obadiah Moyo and Drax International’s local representative Delish Nguwaya, a close friend of the First Family.

Mnangagwa’s threats also came at a time top government officials have been divided over corruption allegations raised by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) against Health deputy minister John Mangwiro.

Mangwiro is being accused of forcing State-run drug distributor, NatPharm, to award a US$5,6 million tender to a less qualified company and convened nocturnal meetings to deal with the tender.

But in his defence, Mangwiro said his actions were above board as the country was dealing with an emergency and his immediate boss, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, was in the know.

In February this year, Zanu PF youth leaders Lewis Matutu (deputy secretary) and national commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu were fired after they named and shamed “corrupt” top Zanu PF officials and businessmen linked to the ruling party.

Meanwhile, Zanu PF yesterday said it had indefinitely suspended its annual conference that was supposed to be held in December in Mashonaland Central citing COVID-19 fears.

Acting party spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa said the decision was based on safety concerns.

“After lively, honest and frank deliberations, the politburo took the decision to postpone the annual people’s conference indefinitely, to allow the government, party and the people to contain the COVID-19 pandemic without undue disturbances,” he said.

Zanu PF had initially toyed with the idea of reducing the number of delegates to the conference or alternatively hosting the jamboree virtually.

Chinamasa said the politburo deliberated on a number of disciplinary matters which were presented by the national disciplinary committee against top officials such as Applonia Munzverengwi (Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister), Dexter Nduna (Chegutu West MP) and Tamuka Nyoni (Matabeleland North youth chair).

The politburo approved the demotion of women’s league political commissar Munzverengwi to the post of deputy secretary for lands in the women’s league.

Nduna was reduced to an ordinary card-carrying member for a year.

Chinamasa said former politburo member Kudzanai Chipanga’s application for readmission to the party was turned down as he was still considered a key pillar of the G40 faction.

Chipanga was the youth leader and a top member of the G40, a faction in Zanu PF that was vanquished when the late former President Robert Mugabe was toppled in a November 2017 coup.

“The party felt it was too early to readmit him following the gravity of the offences he had committed against the party and leadership during the G40 era. As such, the application was turned down,” Chinamasa said.

Zanu PF also recommended that Chipanga be evicted from his farm. – Newzim