Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
For many people, recollection of childhood is not complete without remembering the multifarious array of myths that shaped and controlled behaviour or even religious belief.Usually, these myths — underpinned by superstition — were of a scary nature; about how man-eating monsters could devour some little soul for disobeying this or that rule; going against the norm, or saying wrong things at the wrong places.And myths do not exist in African culture only.
In fact, literature appears to suggest that mythology characterised ancient civilisations such as Greece and China.The New World Encyclopedia says mythology “refers to a body of stories that attempt to explain the origins and fundamental values of a given culture and the nature of the universe and humanity”.
“Ancient myths are generally founded by imagination and intuition rather than objective evidence,” it explains, adding that the truths inherent in myths thus are not reducible to their historical veracity (but) present abstract, often archetypical insights into human experience.
Critically, and for the purposes of this piece, “In modern usage, myth is often used pejoratively to dismiss a belief or opinion as false or unsupported by any evidence.”Many times over the years, it has been suggested and even remarked, that tackling corruption in Zimbabwe can lead to the destruction of the ruling Zanu-PF.
The most recent utterances that come to mind include the infamous statement in 2014 by former vice President Joice Mujuru, now leader of an outfit called Zimbabwe People First.At a time when corruption was being unearthed at State owned enterprises she told a women’s conference that: “You must be careful that this exposure of corrupt activities at parastatals is a way of destroying this country.
“Those behind the drive know what is sustaining this country. They want to move from ZBC, to Zesa, and Zinwa. Do not say those behind the shenanigans are not Zanu-PF, they are. It is said if you can’t beat them, join them and destroy from within. So for now we are saying the matter is being handled by the President.”
The statement was both as laughable in its disingenuity as it was tragic.At the time, it will be recalled, there had been an interesting trend as malfeasance was being exposed and the general populace was very positive that at last something was being done about corrupt “bigwigs”.
As such, Mujuru’s statement later became a heavy political cross.Two years on, at a time when the independent constitutional body called Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission has been roused into action seeking to swoop in on Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo and his alleged accomplices to possible fraud involving $400 000, concern has been raised as to the health of the ruling party.
Nowhere is this more illustrated than a story in one of the local dailies stating that: “The probe by authorities into alleged corruption by Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo has heightened fears within President Robert Mugabe’s brawling Zanu-PF that the ruling party is on the verge of imploding.”
The question then becomes, can tackling corruption by the ruling party unleash some monster that will devour Zanu-PF and perhaps the whole country?This suggestion, by all means, sounds like a myth in the pejorative sense alluded above.If it is not a myth, then it has to present itself as a challenge to the ruling party.
First of all, this assumes that Zanu-PF is an irrevocably corrupt organisation that has diseased the whole country.Secondly and tied to the above, this assumes that Zanu-PF’s raison d’etre is to loot national resources.Thirdly, if it is assumed that Zanu-PF cannot tackle corruption and is irrevocably corrupt, the derivative assumption is that the populace has grown used to or have become powerless in the face of corruption.
Fourth, and connected to these points, the assumption is that Zanu-PF as the ruling party does not care about the extent to which corruption can go and corrode society.
It will be critical for the ruling party and Government to prove these assumptions wrong.
We hope they soon will.
The fact that there have been numerous scandals, since the 1980s and 1990s, that have gone unpunished — at least in the eyes of the public — has led to cynicism.
It is only common cause that some of the scandals over the years are much smellier than Prof Moyo’s “Bicyclegate” which fact appears even to embolden him judging from his impassioned defence of what is seen as a scandal.
He has called himself Robin Hood.
Herein lies the challenge.
Zanu-PF, the party of Government, must demonstrate that it can, and is willing to tackle corruption which knows no colour, or tribe or religion or faction.
The bottom line is that theft is theft and cause must be shown to arrest it, especially without deferring to, or be seen to defer to superficial boxes.
There are three compelling grounds for this.
First, Zanu-PF must prove that it is not in its DNA to be corrupt.
One hankers after the 1984 Leadership Code, which the party designed as its ethical Bible with the full extent of knowledge that it was — and would be — the ruling party.
Regarding corruption the Code (designed with socialism in mind and today sounding a bit anachronistic) declares that, “ZANU-PF regards corruption as an evil disease destructive of society.”
The provisions and injunctions of the leadership code (which cannot be reproduced here for want of space), were designed with socialism in mind but it is clear that as a moral guideline, which should simply have been updated, they shape a good and accountable party and Government, not least that the guidelines were to be read with discipline.
Zanu-PF has no excuse of not identifying with these lofty ideas.
The second compelling reason why Zanu-PF must pursue anti-corruption is that as the governing party, it sets a high bar for society from itself and its cadres and officers to the private sector.
The private sector and even opposition parties are also corrupt in Zimbabwe, sometimes alarmingly so. With Zanu-PF setting a high bar an upright society is conceivable.
Lastly, Zanu-PF will not lose votes by dealing with corruption — that is a few bad apples and oligarchs.
Actually, it gains the goodwill and trust (read votes) of the people.It can be suggested here and today that no other message and action are more welcome to Zimbabwe than acting on corruption which is bleeding the country and demoralising the nation.