Parliamentarians to declare assets by Friday

Kuwadzana East MP Chalton Hwende (second left) being sworn into Parliament. (Picture by Brighton Chihwayi – Photo Phactory Zimbabwe)
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Parliamentarians have until Friday to declare details of their assets and income, as part of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s drive to boost transparency and reinforce the government’s commitment to fighting corruption in the recession-hit economy.

This comes after Mnangagwa declared that all public office holders — including Cabinet ministers, their deputies, senior government officials and bosses of State-owned businesses — were now legally required to make a declaration of assets.

It’s not clear if the information of parliamentarians’ wealth will be made public.

Mnangagwa has used his inauguration address to declare zero tolerance for corruption.

Both the ruling Zanu PF and MDC caucuses seem to have bowed to public pressure, and have agreed to comply with the edict by Friday.

The declaration system is intended to represent a show of good faith that officials are willing to open their finances up to public scrutiny, to be held accountable, and to move away from a culture that subsisted during toppled despot Robert Mugabe’s reign that tacitly allowed bureaucrats to amass wealth through cronyism and graft.

Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi said the ruling party caucus was going to lead by example.

“We are ready to declare our assets as Zanu PF. We have the majority members in Parliament, we would like to lead by example,” Togarepi told the Daily News.

“Every MP will declare his assets. We hope this will improve transparent and inspire confidence so that the people fully appreciate that the new dispensation is ready to deal with corruption.

“People can speculate, but it is for everyone to see after we declared our assets.”

Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Thabitha Khumalo told the Daily News yesterday that MDC legislators are more than ready to declare their assets.

“We are very clear on this issue of corruption. As MDC led by president (Nelson) Chamisa, we are urging our MPs to declare their assets. On our side, we don’t have any problems in as far as declaration of assets is concerned. It should help to curb corruption in this country.

“Our Zanu PF counterparts are the ones who amassed wealth. I don’t know whether they are going to declare their assets or they had already changed the ownership of their assets and transferred it to their relatives.

“There is need to investigate whether they declared all their assets or they have transferred them to some people after they heard they must declare….”

Public officials face no requirement to explain the source of any funds that were used to obtain properties, but they are required to accurately declare how they acquire their properties.

Parliament last year adopted a code of conduct which requires MPs to disclose assets land in and outside Zimbabwe, buildings, movable assets, financial assets and other assets.

This also comes after they are growing calls for Mnangagwa and his two deputies — Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi — to publicly declare their assets in order to demonstrate their commitment to fighting corruption.

Upon taking over the reins of power from Mugabe late last year, Mnangagwa has gone all out to fight corruption in both the public and private sectors. DailyNews