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Mnangagwa selling hope and not much else

“Corruption remains the major source of some of the problems we face as a country and its retarding impact on national development cannot be overemphasized,” Mnangagwa said then.

“On individual cases of corruption, every case must be investigated and punished in accordance with the dictates of our laws. There should be no sacred cows. My government will have zero tolerance towards corruption and this has already begun.”

But the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has made a mockery of that stated desire.

Some of its arrests: former finance minister Ignatius Chombo who is on bail after being charged in November over accusations he tried to defraud the central bank over a decade ago. He denies any wrongdoing. Mugabe’s last foreign minister Walter Mzembi and ex-energy minister Samuel Undenge are also on bail after being charged with “criminal abuse of office.”

After reviewing evidence, ZACC has cleared Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo as well as Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira of wrongdoing.

“We do not have evidence of them having committed a crime, said ZACC’s Goodson Nguni told the State-owned Business Weekly.

So, no one has read the Auditor-General Mildred Chiri’s reports then. And where is the $250 million which looters returned under the three-month amnesty? Given the ongoing liquidity challenges in the economy, it would be handy.

Mnangagwa has claimed to have secured more than $3bn in foreign direct investment in just seven weeks but cannot name a single project attached to that claim.

He cannot claim credit for the $400 million recapitalisation deal for the National Railways of Zimbabwe with South African logistics group Transnet and the Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group, a consortium of Zimbabwean investors living abroad as this was awarded under Robert Mugabe.

The deal, however, probably survived because of Mnangagwa’s elevation to the presidency after it looked dead and buried under Mugabe.

Similarly, the deal by Chinese firm R&F Properties subsidiary Tian Li to invest $1 billion in Zimbabwe Iron and Steel (Ziscosteel) was agreed when Mugabe was still in power. Ziscosteel is still waiting for the investor to show up according to chief executive Alois Gowo.

With his legitimacy questioned by opponents at every turn, and even subject to a Constitutional Court challenge, Mnangagwa desperately needs an electoral victory. That victory, if deemed free and fair, could open the floodgates of FDI and foreign financial support.

Britain, which declared that it was Zimbabwe’s oldest friend before the ink dried on Mugabe’s resignation letter and among the new regime’s earliest backers, has said it could extend financial support to Zimbabwe to help stabilize its economy and clear its debts with international lenders.

“Those are indeed the things that we would try to do to help Zimbabwe forward, but we’ve got to see how the democratic process unfolds,” said Johnson in November, adding that such support will be linked to ‘democratic progress.’

If Mnangagwa can pull it off and get that money, he will finally bury the ghost of Mugabe and set Zimbabwe to full economic recovery. Or it may be that Zimbabwe needs hope, any kind of hope after the dark days of Mugabe. –The Source


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