Show forth the evidence Mr Premier

Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently accused senior Zanu-PF officials and top security services personal of looting the country’s mineral wealth and warned that the plunder could to lead to instability if it remains unchecked. Tsvangirai reportedly told a South African newspaper that the looting mainly targeted the country’s vast gold and diamond claims. The PM said: “You hear stories of senior army officials, senior politicians in Zanu-PF scrambling for these resources. “This is a challenge to the inclusive government – to make sure there are rules and transparency with regards the exploitation of these resources.” What is communicated by Tsvangirai in these claims is contained more in what he doesn’t say than in what he actually says.  As the Prime Minister in the government of national unity (GNU) currently running Zimbabwe, one would expect him to show better judgment than to merely make such serious claims in the press, without an evidence that he wants to act or even prompt the institution of investigation of those suspected of perpetrating these vices. The MDC leader is right in saying there must be methods of accountability but for him to merely make these claims and suggestions doesn’t cut it.  Could this be yet another manifestation of the immaturity arising out of the lack of executive experience Tsvangirai and his cohorts in the MDC were charged with by former United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell in a cable eventually exposed by WikiLeaks? We see where Tsvangirai is coming from when he says a rush to grab as much wealth as possible by the ruling elite in Zimbabwe is bound to cause further instability in the country, but what does just saying that do to prevent it, assuming it’s true?  No Mr Tsvangirai, what is needed is evidence. Concrete proof that should bring the alleged offenders to book.  If indeed these claims are true, then the perpetrators of these vices are a clear menace to the common interests of Zimbabweans and should not be allowed to continue their looting.  On the other hand, if the PM does nothing beyond apparent media grandstanding about the matter, then we are left with little choice but to conclude that the allegations of kleptomania on the part of Zanu-PF are merely fabricated to score points against the liberation party ahead of elections envisaged to be held later this year. Assuming Tsvangirai actually knows what he is talking about, then he should go ahead and name and shame the culprits because he is part of the GNU to serve the interests of Zimbabweans through concrete interventions and actions, and not just to speculate and pontificate on perceived or purported shenanigans of his political opponents.  If he does not in the coming weeks move to halt the alleged pilfering, then many observers are sure to conclude that he is merely trying to please his handlers in the West with these utterances. Another blow Tsvangirai might suffer is that his already damaged credibility as a worthwhile leader will be further corroded by the perception that he bases his decisions and utterances on pub and petticoat claims instead of concrete information befitting a man of his perceived calibre. The MDC-T leader further claimed that top members of the country’s security establishment were also involved in the mad scramble for quick riches. “It is disturbing to note that the people who are supposed to protect our mineral resources are at the forefront of looting them,” he said. “What business does the army have in diamonds or gold? You hear stories of them grabbing mineral claims as if it is the last supper.” He added that there had been several new mineral finds in the resource-rich country. “I am aware that a lot of mineral resources are being discovered – gold, coal, diamonds, platinum. We have credible information that there have been discoveries of huge deposits of minerals, even in areas like Filabusi, Tsholotsho and Shurugwi and indeed along the Great Dyke,” he said. The coalition government must ensure orderly exploitation of the mineral resources, Tsvangirai added, warning of potential instability in the country if proceeds were not seen to be making their way in the country’s treasury. “This plunder of resources brings chaos and anarchy to our country and I am going to discuss this with my fellow principals,” he said. “We have to bring order. If there is no accountability we will soon be like the DRC and Sierra Leone.” But accountability begins with you Mr Prime Minister mustering the nerve to name and shame.  We are tired of hearing that Zanu-PF officials are looting.  Who are they?  President Robert Mugabe recently said he has never seen or touched a diamond from Chiadzwa despite claims that he is involved in looting.  And, interestingly, no-one came forward to challenge his bold assertion.   Tsvangirai should therefore not make statements to please his handlers because he is part of the government of Zimbabwe and if he knows of any corruption he should spill the beans and report the case.

February 2011
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