DISGRACED former Vice President Dr Joice Mujuru’s plans to launch a political party to challenge President Mugabe on the back of blaming him for the prevailing economic challenges is the height of hypocrisy, given that she presided over all key economic ministries over the past 10 years.
As part of the duties she was assigned by the President since 2004, the former VP — who was fired for incompetence — was in charge of supervising the key ministries of finance, transport and communication, energy and power development, and agriculture.
It is now common cause that it is these ministries and the parastatals and State enterprises that fall under them where corruption thrived as abuse of power and office abounded.
The Salarygate exposes last year revealed that an elaborate network of ministers, permanent secretaries and senior management at the parastatals and State enterprises created slush funds running into millions of dollars to fund factional activities though some of the loot did not end in the cabal’s bowl as it was pocketed for personal use by some members.
Former principal director in Dr Mujuru’s office, Mr Munesu Munodawafa, who is now permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, has a US$305 000 corruption case hanging over him involving an aviation insurance scam at Air Zimbabwe.
Half-a-dozen former Air Zimbabwe executives were arrested and charged with corruption after a forensic audit report by BCA Forensic Audit Services linked them to a US$11 million aviation insurance scam. At the heart of the fraud was Munodawafa’s niece, Grace Pfumbidzayi, Air Zimbabwe’s manager (legal) and company secretary, who authorised million-dollar “fraudulent” payments to Navistar Insurance Brokers.
Working with other senior managers, Pfumbidzayi actively pushed through the payments to Navistar. Once, when there was a delay of a US$305 000 payment to Navistar, Munodawafa wrote to Air Zimbabwe asking them to expedite the payment. The auditors concluded Munodawafa was “conflicted”.
At Zesa, former Minister of Energy and Power Development Dzikamai Mavhaire and his deputy Munacho Mutezo were fingered in a number of corrupt activities, among them using the power utility’s money to fund Dr Mujuru’s faction.
In one such case, the duo coerced Zesa to deposit money into a Manicaland Zanu-PF Women’s League account ahead of its conference last August to abet Dr Mujuru’s bid to oust President Mugabe.
In another case, Cde Mavhaire instructed Green Fuel to construct a 49-kilometre power line and a substation in Chisumbanje in October 2013, without the knowledge of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company board. As a result, Green Fuel, through one of its companies, Rating Investments, is now demanding over US$2,7 million from Zesa saying it constructed the 33KV power line on behalf of the power utility.
However, Zesa says it was not aware of Cde Mavhaire’s directive, adding that had they constructed the power line on their own, it would have cost them less than US$1,2 million. Cdes Mavhaire and Mutezo during their tenure pushed Zesa Holdings to tender 300 000 smart meters for non-existing properties, raising suspicion that the pair was angling to financially benefit from the deal. President Mugabe fired the duo from Government last month for conduct and performance below the expected standard.
At CMED (Private) Limited, the parastatal lost US$3 million in a fuel deal that went sour after failing to adhere to procurement procedures amid allegations that the managing director, Mr Davison Mhaka unilaterally picked First Oil to supply fuel worth US$3 million without going through the State Procurement Board. This happened during the tenure of axed Minister Nicholas Goche, a close Mujuru ally.
When the media both public and private converged to expose graft in parastatals, State enterprises and quasi-Government institutions early last year, Dr Mujuru castigated the exposure claiming it was the work of the country’s detractors. She made the remarks in February last year while addressing the Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial women’s conference in Chinhoyi where she said the graft cases should not be discussed in the media.
Addressing a Zanu-PF Women’s League Meeting in Chinhoyi on February 8 last year, Dr Mujuru: “Nditeererei madzimai, chandiri kukuudzai ndochinhu chekupedzisira,” she said. “Iyi nyaya yatiri kutaura iyi yehuori hwemaparastatals muchenjere kuti ndeimwe nzira yaunzwa nevanhu vari kuda kupwanya nyika ino iyi.
“Vari kuziva kuti chii chakabata nyika yeZimbabwe. They know what is done by our parastatals. They will go and talk to some of our people and do what is happening.’’
The corruption cases, she said, were not the business of newspapers.
Through graft, abuse of office and co-ordinated looting, the cabal left a trail of destruction in Government which now needs to be attended to urgently in the interest of delivery which explains why many of the cabal’s members were booted out of Government.
It has since emerged that while initially the Mujuru cabal had sought to target Vice President Mnangagwa, whom they believed to be the anointed Zanu-PF candidate for the 2018 presidential election; the ongoing probe into Dr Mujuru’s illicit dealings has brought palpable fear that the investigations could unearth damaging evidence that can lead to prosecution and incarceration of its key members, hence the shift to targeting the removal of President Mugabe.
The initial plan was to depose President Mugabe through a vote of no confidence at Congress, when that plan was scuppered by party structures that passed votes of no confidence on pro-Mujuru provincial chairpersons instead, the cabal has now turned attention to an attempt to pass a vote of no confidence in parliament.
The cabal has been using the private media, principally the Daily News, to make its key announcements and yesterday, Mr Rugare Gumbo, who chose not to be identified, told the Standard that Mujuru planned to form a political party by March with a view to prompting MPs sympathetic to her to either resign or press for a no confidence vote in President Mugabe, a development analysts said was bound to be stillborn since the cabal did not have the numbers to carry through its plan.
Sources close to developments say the cabal was also wary of the determination in Government to press the accelerated implementation of Zim-Asset in line with last year’s Congress theme. The implementation is anchored on the profitability of State enterprises and parastatals where inevitable probes are bound to unearth more of the cabal’s underhand dealings.
Sources close to developments also say the cabal was afraid that once Zim-Asset began delivering, it would be difficult to play the card of economic maladministration against President Mugabe and Zanu-PF. A senior official in the Ministry of Finance, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the former VP was given a clean slate in 2004, which she spoiled over the past decade.
“To be honest, weekend reports in the Standard newspaper that former VP Mujuru and her allies are forming a political party to challenge President Mugabe are surprising because they do not have a compelling platform upon which to build a convincing manifesto against the President. Zimbabweans know that in 2004 President Mugabe gave Joice Mujuru a blank slate to direct economic policy by supervising economic ministries which control State enterprises which at the time were accounting for at least 60 percent of the country’s GDP.
‘’There’s plenty in the public record to show that Mujuru and her allies who now want to form a political party abused President Mugabe’s trust and turned Mujuru’s supervision of economic policy and control of economic ministries into an a corrupt opportunity to embark on grand larceny as Mujuru’s cabal sought to grab power,’’ he said.
‘’Service delivery was anathema to the cabal over a whole decade of its ruinous reign during which corruption was its culture. Everything that is wrong with the economy today is a direct consequence of that corruption whose shocking evidence is only beginning to come out following the recent ejection of Mujuru’s cabal from government. It is laughable for the same cabal to now pose as saviours when they are the authors of the economic mess that the Government is now sorting out through Zim-Asset”.
War veterans leader and Minister of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa concurred saying Dr Mujuru should also shoulder the blame for economic problems bedevilling the country. “She is the actual author of the economic meltdown which involved an engineered gigantic capital flight, hyper- inflation and subsequent disappearance of the Zimbabwean dollar as national currency,” he said.
“Her ex-Rhodesian business associates were the main culprits. They were assisted by suicidal monetary policies of a complicit RBZ which was under influence of CATO INSTITUTE of extreme right Tea Party Movement.
“The ideological godfather of the economic meltdown is Steve Hanke whose Zimbabwe disciple is Dr Gideon Gono, a political associate of ex-VP Joice Mujuru. She superintended all sectors of the economy during that fatefully painful period of unprecedented economic pain for the general populace of Zimbabwe. She had wrestled away all important decisions of Cabinet during that epoch.
“All the pain the nation was subjugated to lies squarely on her lap as the woman czar at the helm of the Zimbabwean economy. Her illiteracy ,both literary and economic, plunged Zimbabwe into economic hell.”
He added: “Now Zanu-PF is in good riddance of this rubbish prone to treacherous tendencies. It is moving fast to revive the economy, fast Gross Domestic Product growth and bright employment opportunities of a hardworking, well-educated youthful population.
“There just won’t be any more space for political ciphers of the likes of Mujuru, (Didymus) Mutasa and (Rugare) Gumbo.”
Political analyst Christopher Gwatidzo said apportioning blame on Zanu-PF and President Mugabe was far-fetched since the illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country played a role in that regard.
“Secondly, all those who have been in leadership in Zanu-PF who for some reason are no longer in leadership can’t blame anyone else but themselves because they were entrusted to deliver but today there is nothing they can show us. They must blame themselves. It is a gross misnomer for anyone who has been in Government and was fired for failing to deliver to start blaming the President,” he said.
On forming a political party, Ambassador Mutsvangwa and Mr Gwatidzo said Zanu-PF would not lose sleep.
Said Ambassador Mutsvangwa: “That will be a party of discredited renegades who spent more than 10 years at the centre of power in Zimbabwe who did everything in their capacity to ruin the economy as a ticket to power.
“They are really beyond their last political tether and completely wasted because there is no hope of a political party coming from the useless bunch. Anyone who would ever want to associate with them is assured of political suicide. Zanu-PF is too strong and resilient, so there is no future outside Zanu-PF.”
Mr Gwatidzo said while it was every citizen’s constitutional right to associate, Dr Mujuru and her cabal were doomed because they did not have goodwill in forming the party.
“You can’t form a party on the basis of hatred of someone or disagreement with those in leadership. If they were indeed in Zanu-PF from day one then they must respect the decision of the party. We demand revolutionary discipline from them. To think that Zanu-PF will be intimidated by this is far-fetched,” he said.
A source close to developments, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said: ‘’These Mujuru people who now want to form a political party are behaving like terrible arsonists. In the first place, they are the ones who set the economy on fire through their widely publicised theft and corruption. Now they want to pretend to be a fire brigade ready to extinguish their own fire. Let them go ahead and form the much talked about political party and they will be consumed by their own fire,” she said.