It was about national interest, until everybody started dipping their hands in the till. Not in the national interest, but for self-enrichment.
The system had now created loopholes, grey areas, as rules of corporate governance were disregarded in order to bust sanctions.
The tender system was turned on its head to combat sanctions.
Criminals connected to those in power stepped in the gap and made millions. For example, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority scandals.
The police stopped depositing fines with the Judicial Service Commission as is required by law and created its own ticketing system under former police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri.
Hobson’s choice and the cartels
Can they arrest each other, knowing that they were doing it together, knowing why they did it, why they must continue to do it to get around sanctions? The army in the Democratic Republic of Congo was unable to feed its troops because of the sanctions.
In came John Bredenkamp, Nick Van Hoogstraten, all the Rhodies with the rule book on how to bust sanctions. “Let us assist you feed the army, we know how to bust sanctions.”
Money was deposited in banks in the British Isles. Those sent to do so on behalf of government started pocketing for themselves. They are now rich. But the cartels got back into the system.
Now we have cartel fuel, cartel government tenders, cartel OPC (Office of the President and Cabinet). Douglas Mapfumo, former principal director state residences in OPC, on remand for abuse of office, is a typical example of cartel OPC. Cartel Nssa (National Social Security Authority) used to fund government and party programmes.
Cartel Public Service Commission, the ghost workers’ network meant to reward those who support and campaign for the ruling party.
Everyone is dirty
The reality is each and every bigwig is tainted.
The army looted diamonds in Chiadzwa, the police stole fine money. Individuals in the judiciary stole money for court fees, the list is endless.
There are stories pertaining to how elephants were poisoned by VIP crooks who made illicit money from ivory.
So, the question that arises is: who is clean among them all? Once we accept that all are dirty, it begs the question: the ones being arrested, what is their crime?
The tricky question for Mnangagwa’s government will be how to restore key state institutions to their original constitutional functions without destroying them.