Gold smugglers frequently get away with their crimes: MP

Gold smuggling is reportedly widespread in Zimbabwe, and perpetrators frequently get away with it, according to a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development, CITE has learnt.

This was revealed by Jasmine Toffa, a Bulawayo Proportional Representation legislator, who stated that there was no rule of law in Zimbabwe as perpetrators frequently went free for crimes they committed including the smuggling of gold.

Toffa’s comments backed up revelations of gold smuggling allegedly by Zimbabwean government officials and the ruling party, which were featured in an Al Jazeera documentary titled The Gold Mafia that sparked outrage in the country.

“Everyone is talking about the Al Jazeera documentary and corruption that is taking place. That is not a new thing. I am in the Mines and Mining Development committee, we have unearthed this,” Toffa said while responding to questions from journalists at the Bulawayo Media Centre last week.

“(Zimbabwe Miners Federation President Henrietta) Rushwaya was caught at the airport with about 10kg of gold and many other corrupt tendencies have taken place. We have put reports, tabled reports in Parliament, debated them. We are in anti-corruption caucuses at Parliament, we just go there and have our say but they have their way.”

The four-part documentary was filmed by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, based on dozens of undercover operations spanning three continents and thousands of documents.

Toffa believes that given such allegations of corruption, the possibilities of reform in Zimbabwe are nil, particularly under the current government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“Under this system I really don’t see that there is any change because Zanu PF for me doesn’t really care. Even if you go back to the late (former president) Robert Mugabe, who when we spoke about shortages of power, showed lack of remorse and empathy, when he said, ‘go and lie down on the street and see if you will not be bumped by a car.’ You see what is taking place!” 

The legislator stated that unless citizens challenge the status quo, turning Zimbabwe into a democratic, law-abiding nation where the rule of law is respected would be difficult to execute.

“Unless we change the system, it is going to be very difficult. Unless and until our citizens realise that the power is with them that when they elect a government, they elected for themselves, when they elect legislators and representatives, those who are elected are the servants, not the other way round,” Toffa said.

“When citizens understand the role of government, the role of ministers, MPs, councillors and their role vis-a-vie those offices, we are going to see change and that has to start from the bottom up, so at the moment until that happens I don’t see any reform.”      

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