If there is one thing that is undeniable about the Zimbabwean situation, it is that corruption ranks high up among what has brought Zimbabwe to the sorry state it is in today.
The list of recorded scandals orchestrated by ZANU-PF bigwigs, Emmerson Mnangagwa included is very long starting from Willowgate way back in the 1980s. The full list of the scandals is a long story – one for another day.
However the latest scandal, “Covidgate”, is so daring and heartless it leaves me with no faith in humanity. This is because it takes place at a time when Zimbabwe and the rest of the world is grappling with a pandemic (Covid-19) that is threatening to wipe out the human race from the face of the earth.
Indications are that the chief architects of Covidgate are none other than the first family, the Mnangagwas, who employ cronies to form shelf companies to supply government with products at inflated prices thereby siphoning the fiscus.
Another part of it is the outright theft of donated material (remember the PPE donated by the Chinese government) and then selling it to government at inflated price as well as to the private sector and the public instead of making it available for free as originally intended by the well meaning donors.
Instead of mobilizing resources to manage the Covid-19 scourge, the Mnangagwas connived with one Delish Nguwaya who went on to register a company, Drax, in a number of international jurisdictions, for the purpose of “supplying” Covid-19 related medical supplies to the Zimbabwean government at inflated prices. The company was then awarded a contract without going through normal government tender procedures and within a record two weeks of registration in Hungary, Drax was paid a USD 2 million deposit in two tranches by the Zimbabwean government. It took the investigative skills of one local journalist, Hopewell Chingono to uncover and publicise the scandal.To save face, the contract has since been cancelled and one Delish Nguwaya has since been arrested and charged but of course we all know that he is just a front for one or all of the Mnangagwas and that he will eventually be left to go scot free courtesy of the “catch and release” style that has become the hallmark of Mnangagwa’s approach to fighting corruption in Zimbabwe.
Had Covidgate happened in any other part of the progressive world, the unprocedural manner in which Drax was awarded the contract would have seen a number of heads rolling in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health and the Presidency. But alas, this is Zimbabwe where corruption has set root and is so well established it now passes for the norm.
No prize for guessing who seats at the top of the corruption hierarchy.
For want of a better phrase, this is a new low for Emmerson Mnangagwa. What a shame.