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Opinion and Analysis: Zacc Must Get to the Bottom of Chivayo Saga

Wicknell Chivayo
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THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has initiated an investigation into the contentious US$40 million Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) tender awarded to businessman Wicknell Chivayo. This development, while a step in the right direction, underscores the urgent need for transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe’s public procurement processes.

By Paul Nyakazeya

The tender in question has raised numerous eyebrows, not least because of Chivayo’s chequered history with government contracts. Chivayo, a figure often surrounded by controversy, has been involved in several high-profile deals that have left the public questioning the integrity of the bidding processes and the competency of the awarding authorities.

Zacc’s decision to probe this matter is commendable, but it is essential that this investigation is thorough, impartial, and free from any political interference. Too often, high-profile cases involving substantial sums of money are either swept under the rug or result in minimal consequences for those involved. The public’s trust in Zacc and its ability to tackle corruption head-on hinges on the outcome of this and similar investigations.

The controversy surrounding this tender is not merely about the allocation of funds; it is about the integrity of our electoral processes. ZEC, as the body responsible for overseeing elections in Zimbabwe, must be beyond reproach. Any hint of corruption or malpractice within ZEC not only undermines its credibility but also erodes public confidence in the electoral system itself.

Chivayo’s previous dealings, including the much-publicized Gwanda Solar Project, which saw millions of dollars disbursed with little to show in terms of progress, highlight a pattern of questionable practices. This raises serious concerns about the due diligence conducted by ZEC before awarding such a significant contract.

Moreover, the involvement of Chivayo in this tender brings to the fore broader issues within Zimbabwe’s procurement landscape. It calls into question the mechanisms in place to vet contractors and the criteria used to award tenders. Are these processes transparent? Are they designed to ensure that only the most qualified and reputable companies are awarded contracts? These are questions that Zacc’s investigation must address.

The implications of this probe extend beyond Chivayo and the US$40 million tender. They touch on the very fabric of governance and the rule of law in Zimbabwe. For too long, corruption has been a pervasive issue, stifling economic growth, discouraging investment, and eroding public trust. It is time for a robust, systemic approach to tackling this menace.

Zacc’s investigation should set a precedent. It must be comprehensive and lead to tangible outcomes, including, if necessary, prosecution of those found guilty of malfeasance. Additionally, this case should prompt a review and overhaul of the procurement processes within government agencies to ensure they are watertight against corruption.

In conclusion, while Zacc’s move to investigate the Chivayo saga is a positive step, it is just the beginning. The Commission must ensure that justice is served and that such controversies become a thing of the past. Only through rigorous enforcement of anti-corruption measures and reforms in public procurement can Zimbabwe hope to build a transparent and accountable governance system.

The public will be watching closely. It is up to Zacc to demonstrate that no one is above the law and that the days of impunity for the well-connected are over. This investigation is a litmus test for Zacc’s effectiveness and commitment to rooting out corruption in Zimbabwe. The stakes could not be higher.