President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s push for foreign investment is not attracting serious attention because of corruption and the failure to deal decisively with the vice, the ruling Zanu PF has admitted.
Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe in November 2017, has prioritised the fight against graft and investment promotion in an effort to reverse years of economic decline under the watch of his predecessor Robert Mugabe.
The admission by Zanu PF that the fight against corruption was not yielding the desired results comes amid indications of widening fissures in the ruling party over the direction the economy is taking.
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said the lack of convictions despite a number of arrests for corruption cases was worrying.
“It is time we start seeing people going to jail for corruption. This will ensure investors take us seriously as a country,” he said in an interview.
“The number of those arrested suggests that we are doing well, but the convictions are really worrying. It seems as if the system is corrupt and we must deal with that.”
At least 50 people, including Mugabe loyalists such as former Local government minister Ignatius Chombo, have been arrested on corruption-related charges since Mnangagwa took over, but only a few have been convicted.
Those convicted include former Energy minister Samuel Undenge, ex-Zanu PF MP for Highfield Psychology Maziwisa and former broadcaster Oscar Pambuka.
Khaya Moyo said once the courts start to send people to jail, it would be easy to attract investment.
“We must be like the Chinese, they are very cruel with corruption and it has helped them grow their economy,” he said.
“We have been wailing for too long and we must start to deal with issues and not focus on tissues.”
Khaya Moyo appealed to the opposition to help attract investment.
“Our economy must be attractive, it must have that aroma to attract people and not smell like a rotten fish,” he said.
“The issue of the economy should not be viewed as a Zanu PF issue, it affects everyone and all of us must work for it.”
He accused MDC vice-president Tendai Biti of demonising the country after the former Finance minister criticised the government’s performance during a presentation in London last week.
“We must sing from the same hymn book, not this thing of having people like Biti going to Chatham House and propagate issues of legitimacy and so on,” he said.
“No, we must learn to talk here as Zimbabweans.”
However, MDC spokesperson Jacob Mafume defended Biti saying Zanu PF must deal with the economic crisis “they created and stop blaming others”.
“VP Biti is just telling the world the state of affairs in Zimbabwe. As the MDC, we are a party that believes in globalisation and we interact with every capital,” he said.
“It is not our fault that Zanu PF cannot relate with other states peacefully. They must revisit their behaviour.”
Zimbabwe’s economic environment has worsened over the last few months after the government introduced a new currency and stopped subsidising fuel.
— The Standard