ZIMBABWE’S CORRUPTION DOUBLE STANDARDS
The fight against corruption in Zimbabwe has to be founded on true introspection, honesty and not stereotypes and selective biased narratives.
It’s hypocritical for people to complain about corruption in a capitalist system when the system is based on the accumulation of capital, by public policy or officials taking public resources, to put them into the hands of a few capitalists and connected individuals in return for the creation of jobs for the public for individuals to benefit.
In other words it’s a system where laws and policies are deliberately tailored or manipulated by law makers and public officials to take public resources and put them into a few private hands.
In this process the law makers and government officials are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts but usually for the advancement of their own individual careers and accumulation. It’s a system of individual endeavor to accumulate capital.
The citizens are far from innocent in this equation as they permit this skewing of public policy and appropriation of public resources to a point of even calling it pro-business policies. All in the hope of getting jobs to drive their own accumulation.
This by definition is corruption, which is the use of public office to appropriate public resources and put them in the hands of a few for the gain of a few individuals.
The end of this process is raw capitalism and enterprise driven by primitive accumulation.
So in essence corruption is a mechanism of capitalism and there is no way to end corruption unless we address the capitalist system, which actively employs primitive accumulation otherwise known as corruption. Failing which we need to stop giving lip service to fighting corruption because it is capitalism.
A perfect illustration of how capitalism and corruption are one and the same thing is illustrated by how our parents watched Strive Masiyiwa building Econet from what many witnesses view as the appropriation of public spectrum through the alleged corruption of the judiciary.
Two reports, one by the Minister of Finance commissioned by Herbert Murerwa (a relative of Nigel Chanakira) which was conducted by Dr Abedinigo Sibanda, Elton Mangoma, Mutumwa Mawere and Herbert Ramushu.
The other was by a 1995-2000 Parliamentary committee. Both reports collectively established that through the machinations of Nigel Chanakira, Patson Timba, Tawanda Nyambirayi and other connected captains of industry.
They assisted Strive in misappropriating First Mutual Life and NSSA pension funds to list Econet. This after judges and government officials were paid visits at night by an American lawyer known as Judith O’Neal on Econet’s behalf, to secure the license which was being contested by seven other companies.
Despite all this, our parents, media and business community turned a blind eye because Strive and Nigel Chanakira were tongue speaking Christians who they felt the government was abusing.
Little did they know that these two men had connections through out the system, all the way to the highest office. They were far from victims but instead they victimized many in their wake.
Strive got his start in business through a contract to electrify President Robert Mugabe’s Zvimba home, while it is alleged that he had family ties with Joshua Nkomo, Joseph Musika and others.
Nigel Chanakira is said to have been related to Herbert Murerwa, hence the Finance Ministry report eventually was suppressed. Then there was Nigel’s uncle, Chairman of NSSA, Chiura where the heist of the institution was engineered.
Underpinning their back line in the judiciary was Judge Chidyausiku who saw to it that Strive, Nigel and Econet never lost a case on appeal in the Supreme Court. This despite adverse judgments by lower courts.
Such broad daylight theft, patronage and collusion was dubbed innovative deal structuring and corporate genius.
Overnight Strive’s corrupt Reserve Bank electrification tender and his failure to deliver on it, were swept under the carpet and he was given a license and public spectrum to print money without following the prerequisite bid process.
The courts over stepped their boundaries to award a spectrum whose bid should have been reissued because the entire Zimbabwean elite had individual interest in Econet’s listing.
No one anticipated the impact of this wholesale institutional corruption on the country, but this episode would open the floodgates for connected people to use their contacts in high offices of state to loot public coffers for individual gain.
Today, NSSA, which has collected in excess of $8bil since its inception, can only account for $1.2bil according to Eddy Cross, as the rest has gone into setting up connected individuals.
Eversince Strive’s antics, other aspiring capitalists in emulation of the godfather are doing the same but all of a sudden we the people don’t call it innovative deal structuring anymore. We have now changed it to corruption and want the erstwhile perpetrators to be brought to book.
The question is if this same process was the definition of innovation when Strive, Nigel, Timba and Nyambirayi did it, turning them into millionaires but never sent them to prison. Will other connected individuals now accept that [today] its no longer innovative or a legitimate means of capital accumulation that warrants jail time?
I don’t think so because those who are connected to the system now, feel it’s their turn to walk through the same door to receive the same accolades and rewards that those before them got.
They have seen Strive who stole people’s pensions crowned an African global icon and ascend to boards of global institutions. They are chasing the same dream.
With such filthy hands Strive managed to sink a Nigerian governor by exposing him for carrying out the same corruption that his [Strive’s] Zimbabwean political backers undertook for him. Talk about craftiness.
In our country, the line between innovative capitalism, patronage and corruption has become blurred and confusing. The verdict on which is which is now decided by emotions, public affinity, political connections, which church one goes and how many palms one greases.
Today, this man who enjoyed impunity with our parent’s pensions is now working towards getting our poor villagers to abandon their natural reproductive seeds. So that he can replace them with privately owned, non-productive, patented seeds that belong to his bosses at the Rockefeller Foundation.
His wife is on the ground in Zimbabwe, as we speak, collecting villagers heritage seeds into a Masiyiwa seed-bank they purport will protect these seeds that the poor villagers should be replanting.
It’s more likely that those seeds disappear in the same way NSSA and FML funds disappeared two decades ago under her hubby’s watch. This has been the modus modus operandi of biotech companies in South Africa, India and South America in the previous Greening Revolutions.
All this to push hybrids that don’t reproduce upon gullible poor citizens who once again, as with NSSA and FML will be taken advantage of to become captive to Rockefeller seed companies in future.
Again the personality and money worshipping Zimbabweans will see this as innovative capitalism, until the reproductive heirloom seeds of the country run out and the poor can’t afford seeds to feed themselves.
We are already at that threshold of food dependency in Zimbabwe. The cause of our food shortages is the fact that our small scale farmers have run out of heirloom seeds that can be naturally selected and replanted from previous harvests, since the advent of hybrids.
But our politicians, academics, business leaders and intellectuals can’t see it or at least they are so endowed with the gains of covering up for this powerful man that they don’t care.
Capitalism, or is it corruption is once again enriching a few while taking the seeds [natural resources] of the nation with the approval of our policies and politicians.
People like me who are whistleblowing these realities, just like those that blew the whistle on FML and NSSA looting twenty years ago. Those blowing the whistle on command agriculture are ignored and labeled as slanderous and corruption becomes custom.
Albeit, in a few years time when the food crisis gets worse and is impacting Zimbabweans in the same way foreign currency, fuel, electricity and pension fund scenarios are doing today. Our lazy intellectuals will begin to give half baked problem solution analysis that miss the heart of the problem: the toxic capitalist system and the criminal appropriation of public resources which has become precedence for people to emulate.
As I have pointed out earlier, exploitation of the poor and unconnected or the expropriation of public resources for private gain by the connected, through the facilitation of policy and politicians is primitive accumulation and its end is raw capitalism.
So why are we bitter when others are doing it if we have selectively given a few elite the green light to do it before?
I have even argued that Chamisa and other MDC leaders trying to ascend to power by using US sanctions and collective punishment of Zimbabwean citizens to force them to vote for him or protest to overthrow government is the grossest form of this capital accumulation [corruption].
The difference being this time the Zimbabwean public are being deprived of resources and services to kill, impoverish or displace them and force them to give Chamisa their vote or to drive mass action so that he ascends to power.
In return Chamisa will use his high office to reward the sanctions senders and sponsors with the land and resources of poor Zimbabweans in future.
Either way, just like Strive is doing with the seeds and as he did with pensions, a few US capitalists, political facilitators and connected individuals will be enriched by Zimbabwe’s resources at the deprivation of poor and unconnected Zimbabweans.
Many Zimbabweans are complicit with this corruption because privately they hope to be rewarded by jobs from the same companies that get these resources. The rest turn a blind eye because to them Zanu must go at all cost [including by corrupt means] but in the same aspiration they somehow expect corruption to end.
How are the above acts different from the corruption that Zimbabweans are screaming for us to fight? In fact which corruption must we fight because when we fight against Strive who began the cycle of corrosive corruption by black business, we are jealous and when we speak about Chamisa we are defending Zanu PF.
Do all the above not lead to the deprivation of the poor and public of Zimbabwe for the endowment of a few?
Are the two not all gross forms of primitive accumulation that replicate the crimes against humanity of colonialism which will dispossess, displace and impoverish Africans to levels that will be genocidal?
Why then aren’t we fighting them? Why are you all watching and doing nothing about them while giving lip service to wanting to end corruption yet we are actively propping it up?
Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare.