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ZiG can’t survive mineral looting



THERE is a video which has gone viral in recent days and it highlights the tragic extent to which Zimbabwe’s governance has deteriorated.

In the clip, President Emmerson Mnangagwa makes a scandalous statement which, in a normal country, would surely trigger impeachment proceedings.

Mnangagwa, speaking from a podium, brags that he has ordered his “officers” to externalise Zimbabwe’s gold for (presumed) safekeeping. He discloses neither the quantity of the gold nor the destination.

This is very problematic. For starters, it is patently unlawful. The President has no legal authority to secretly stash Zimbabwe’s gold abroad.

How on earth can the country hope to use its vast mineral endowment as the backbone of the new ZiG currency when there is no accountability in the management of precious resources like gold? The deep-seated corruption in the extractive sector explains why the authorities have resisted calls to join the Extractive Transparency Industries Initiative (EITI).

They have something to hide.

Zimbabwe’s mineral governance framework, as currently configured, is designed to facilitate looting.

In terms of the constitution, good governance is one of the founding values and principles of the republic.

 Transparency and accountability are central planks of this governance ethos. The very preamble of the constitution spells out the sacrosanct tenets which every citizen must hold dear.

Mnangagwa cannot handle national resources  like his family tuckshop.

All this is coming soon after Al Jazeera exposed the astonishing criminal network, now known as the “Gold Mafia”, which is looting Zimbabwe’s precious minerals. Mnangagwa was depicted in the investigative docuseries as the godfather of the Gold Mafia. When he inadvertently confesses to secretly stashing Zimbabwe’s gold abroad, citizens have every reason to pay attention.

The lack of accountability and transparency in the management of mineral resources in Zimbabwe is a serious problem. For decades, analysts have cracked their heads over a long-standing conundrum: Why is Zimbabwe’s economy wallowing in the doldrums despite the country’s vast mineral endowment? Well, the answer is in corruption-induced poverty. The rulers are simply presiding over grand looting.

History has shown that when leaders are not accountable to citizens and there is a lack of transparency, this leads to corruption and misuse of resources.

Ultimately, socio-economic development and the well-being of the people are undermined. It is crucial for leaders to prioritise transparency and accountability in resource management to ensure that the benefits from these resources are shared equitably and used for the country’s development.

The lack of transparency and accountability in the management of Zimbabwe’s mineral resources can be attributed to a variety of factors, including corruption, lack of oversight, weak legal frameworks, and limited civil society engagement.

Owing to the bad governance, the national resources are benefitting only government officials, politically connected individuals and foreign companies. All these actors connive to exploit the lack of transparency and accountability for their own gain.

It is important for the government to address these issues by implementing strong governance mechanisms, promoting transparency, and actively involving civil society in the management of mineral resources to ensure that the benefits are shared equitably among all citizens.

The Zimbabwean government says it plans to build a US$40 billion mining sector by 2030. The brutal reality, of course, is that this ambitious target will not be attained as long as the rulers continue disregarding transparency and accountability with impunity.

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