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Mafia state takes root

Public resources are being diverted for personal gain rather than being used for public services or development projects.



ZIMBABWE has become a mafia state and the evidence is staggering.

By perennially rigging elections and entrenching corruption, the ruling elites have crafted an organised criminal enterprise to loot public resources and consolidate their ironclad grip on power.

There is no better description of authoritarian kleptocracy.

Political power in today’s Zimbabwe is in the hands of elements who are driven by the twin motives of grabbing money by all means necessary and retaining their slots on the feeding trough.

The looting of precious minerals and the hijacking of public procurement tenders have reached catastrophic levels.

Many are describing the country as a crime scene; but the situation is far worse than that. It is no longer a mere law enforcement matter but a dire threat to national survival.

The tendering system — which by law is meant to be fair, competitive and transparent — has been manipulated by shady cliques for self-enrichment.

Some have argued that corruption has always existed, implying that there is nothing new under the sun.

They conveniently ignore the fact that although corruption is indeed a longstanding scourge, the sheer magnitude and brazenness of what we are witnessing these days are astonishing.

A new report by SwissAid, a development group based in Switzerland, shows that gold worth US$31 billion was smuggled out of Africa in 2022 alone.

The top three sources of this loot were Mali, Ghana and Zimbabwe.

In recent weeks, The NewsHawks has exposed corrupt tenders running into tens of millions of US dollars at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Nobody really expects the culprits to be brought to justice — for the obvious reason that some high-level officials are benefitting from these murky deals.

Journalists and whistleblowers are exposing corruption daily, but no action is taken by the authorities.

Anyone who speaks out against the theft of public resources is labelled an enemy of the state.

When the military dramatically toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in November 2017, the commanders claimed they were “only targeting criminals” around the dictator.

Major-General Sibusiso Moyo memorably went on state television and denied that a coup d’etat was underway.

“We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover,” he announced on state television.

“We are only targeting criminals around [Mugabe] who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.”

Zimbabwe loses billions of dollars annually to illicit financial flows.

The destinations of most of the looted money are typically offshore accounts in tax havens or countries with less stringent financial regulations.

Corruption in Zimbabwe is fuelled by weak governance structures, lack of transparency and accountability and a culture of impunity where wrongdoers are not held accountable.

Public resources are being diverted for personal gain rather than being used for public services or development projects.

The political opposition has been dismantled through subterfuge, rendering Parliament incapable of providing an institutional barrier to the corrupt exercise of Zanu PF power.

The mafiacracy is in charge.

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