President Mnangagwa’s administration was this week plunged into its worst crises since he took the reigns of power in a soft November coup in 2017.
With the alleged abductions and torture of three opposition MDC women activists who included Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, the government Friday said the abductions had been faked to tarnish its image.
Only last week, Constitutional law expert and leader of one of the committees in POLAD, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, pleaded with President Mnangagwa to speed up investigations into the alleged abductions so that his government could be taken seriously by the international community.
Government pronouncements that the three faked their abductions have been widely rejected both within and outside Zimbabwe.
The international community has widely viewed Zimbabwe as a pariah state where abductions and killings are the norm. The “abductions” will not do well for a country desperate for fresh capital.
Allegations that one of the President’s sons, Collins, was linked to Drax, a company that was given a lucrative tender to supply Covid-19 related drugs and hospital equipment without going to tender, have worsened an already bad situation.
While Collins has denied any links with Drax, his pictures where he is seen with the Drax top executive, have been all over newspapers and social media this week.
And the Drax executive, who is said to have had a long history of being on the wrong side of the law, has also had his pictures published in the media, where he is seen in the company of the President.
Whether Collins was indeed involved in corruptly acquiring the tender or not is a matter for another day. What is apparent is that the scandal has cast the First Family in very bad light.
No amount of damage control will clean up the mess. Given rampant corruption within government, the ordinary man in the street now believes the First Family is corrupt.
Media reports have also indicated that one of the President’s bodyguards and nephew has also been a recipient of a lucrative tender to supply Covid-19 related medical equipment. He didn’t go through the tender system. In fact, no such tender was advertised.
Given that the scandals have come one after the other in rapid succession indicates the deep crises the ED administration finds itself in.
Public opinion about the ED administration is fast plunging to very low levels. With inflation hovering around 900% and businesses demanding American dollars in an environment where the majority earn
Zimbabwe dollars, it’s a matter of time before the public confronts the government.
Already, there were anti-government marches in Harare’s Highfield and Epworth suburbs early this week. The marches, held in the cover of darkness in the early evening, were quickly suppressed by the
army and police.
The ruling party’s acting secretary for information and publicity, Patrick Chinamasa, was Thursday at pains to explain that the First Family was clean in the corruption cases, warning journalists to stop false
It remains to be seen how the ED administration will clean up its image in a country where public opinion holds that it is the root of all corruption.
Amid all these crises, the United States is piling pressure on the government.
The US government has written to the World Bank calling for strict conditions to be attached to any Covid-19 relief funding for Zimbabwe, in light of what it calls Zimbabwe’s “shoddy record in administering such resources”.
In a letter dated June 3 to World Bank Group President David Melpass, chairman of foreign relations committee in the US senate James Risch says that “strict accountability and transperancy measures are needed given Zimbabwe’s corruption record”.
The scandals and negative perceptions about the country will certainly not help Zimbabwe as it battles to re-engage the international community and to re-assure investors that Zimbabwe is indeed open for business.