Crisis Coalition calls for crackdown on corrupt syndicates

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has urged law enforcement agencies to take action against anyone who steals from the state, regardless of claimed presidential backing.

The group, composed of over 90 non-governmental organisations (NGOs), expressed concern that rising corruption undermines Zimbabwe’s justice system.

“The current events in our nation are alarming,” said Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Spokesperson Marvellous Kumalo. “We urge all Zimbabweans to stand up against the Chivayo mafia and all syndicates capturing the state. Our country is at risk, and soon we may be left with no country.”

Kumalo’s statement follows the fallout between Wicknell Chivayo and his business partners over a murky US$40 million Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) deal.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) is investigating the contract.

Nonetheless, Kumalo bemoaned the widespread influence and undue control over various branches of the government and the Executive in Zimbabwe.

“What Zimbabwe is currently facing under President Mnangagwa can be described as a form of criminal state capture by his associates who are involved in corrupt business with the president,” Kumalo claimed.

“We urge law enforcement agencies to impartially hold accountable anyone who steals from the state, even if they claim to have the backing of the President. Scandals such as the ZEC and the Ministry of Local Government’s mishandling of fire-tender contracts cannot be overlooked.”

Kumalo said the improper awarding of contracts, influenced by the Office of the President, to Better Brands company, owned by Zanu PF Member of Parliament, Scott Sakupwanya, jeopardises ZEC’s independence and its ability to oversee fair elections.

“The disarray witnessed with the delayed arrival of ballot papers and other election materials is evidence of the flawed tendering process and its inefficiencies,” said the spokesperson.

“It’s been confirmed that some suppliers provided materials to ZEC without going through a competitive tender process. The August 2023 election had a budget of US$188 million. It did not have proper costing and worse, no transparent procurement process.”

Kumalo added that shockingly, evidence has emerged that a server, which typically costs US$4 700 was purchased for US$1.2 million. 

“This raises questions about the philosophy of ‘gutsa ruzhinji’ when a select few are looting state resources to buy cars. The US$188 million misspent could have been used to secure grain for citizens affected by drought or purchase much-needed hospital equipment for public hospitals. It’s deeply concerning when taxpayers are forced to travel to South Africa for cancer treatments and other complex surgeries due to the lack of proper facilities at home,” he said.

The abuse of power by individuals like Chivayo and crew, and their corrupt ties to the president, according to Kumalo, is leading to bullying and intimidation of government departments, parastatals, the police force and Chapter 12 institutions to obtain tenders and illegally divert state funds into their own pockets. 

“The Constitution is being put to the test, and we must protect its authority at all costs.

In defending the Constitution, we are defending Zimbabwe, the liberation struggle, and the future and well-being of the people of Zimbabwe,” Kumalo said.

“It is disheartening to see the links between the illicit ZEC funds and the turmoil in parliament. It’s especially troubling that a recipient of this money was able to enter Parliament as the uncontested representative of Mabvuku-Tafara constituency. This undermining of Parliament is damaging to our democracy, particularly if, as mentioned earlier, the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary all seem to be influenced by this aggressive criminal mafia.”

The spokesperson said the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition urges all Zimbabweans, including those in the ruling Zanu PF party, to come together to uphold and defend the Constitution.

“Revive the principles of the liberation struggle, safeguard the honour of the office of the President, free the judiciary and parliament, and ensure that the hopes of ordinary Zimbabweans take precedence,” Kumalo said.

Kumalo added that the level of corruption goes much deeper and wider than what has been reported in the media.

“Therefore, we demand the immediate establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to thoroughly investigate state capture and the ZEC-gate scandal. Those found on the wrong side must face justice,” he said.

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