THE LOOTING SPREE CONTINUES | Zanu PF is closing the net on party officials who are in the habit of fleecing citizens and the corporate world in the name of raising funds for the governing party, the Daily News can report.
This comes amid reports that senior party officials in the ruling party could be lining their pockets from proceeds collected from events such as the presidential interface rallies and also the upcoming special congress set for December.
Civil servants and desperate villagers are often forced to bankroll Zanu PF projects and functions like the Independence and Heroes anniversaries and the money rarely gets to the empty party coffers but is instead diverted for personal use.
With the practice getting out of hand, Zanu PF was this week forced to issue a statement cautioning both members of public and the business community to be on the watch-out for party officials who demand donations.
“Members of the public, and in particular the corporate sector, are advised to be wary of individuals who solicit for sponsorships using appeal letters bearing the Zanu PF letterhead with bogus signatures and directing payments into individual accounts,” said party spokesperson, Simon Khaya-Moyo.
Despite the fact that most of its companies are in the red and on the verge of collapse, Zanu PF is set to hold a special congress in December this year at an estimated cost of $8 million with the corporate world often targeted to bankroll the event.
However, individuals are not spared as party foot soldiers often conduct door-to-door fundraising campaigns where citizens are often forced to make contributions out of fear.
Khaya-Moyo, who is also Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister, told the Daily News that Zanu PF has received reports of abuse of the party’s name and will not hesitate to throw them in jail.
“There were reports that people were being forced to contribute and we were correcting that, we want the people behind that to be brought to book, if anybody has proof, then we will take action,” said Khaya-Moyo, who refused to give out names of the senior people behind the scam.
Zanu PF secretary for the youth league — the powerful wing of the ruling party that has been organising the presidential interface rallies — Kudzayi Chipanga, told the Daily News that the mega rallies that have so far been held in eight provinces are a logistical nightmare and a platform for looting.
“It is expected that in any big organisation such as Zanu PF you will come across challenges, the huge numbers that come to rallies have advantages when it comes to elections but challenges when it comes to logistics, when we are organising transport, some people may try to take advantage of the situation and loot, those are challenges that we face. Of course, you don’t expect such challenges in small parties, hence there is need to put mechanisms to instil discipline in the youth and to put stops from abuse of funds,” said Chipanga.
Asked if the party will take measures against those who are taking advantage of the numerous party programmes, Chipanga said Zanu PF has its internal processes that take care of rotten apples.
“We have our internal systems that look into such issues and they will never ignore indiscipline. We would like to keep confidence in the corporate world and thus every dollar would be accounted for. We will investigate any reports of misappropriation of funds,” said Chipanga.
Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said although Zanu PF is speaking now — the practice is so deeply rooted in the ruling party that it will be difficult to weed out.
“It’s a rogue party with rogue members in a shake-shake economy. The party created a situation where anyone with some perceived powers knocks on doors and shakes down a few golden picks from a weaker person. This is happening everywhere in Zimbabwe as the nation has endemic corruption. What these rogue party officials are doing is lower level corruption reflective of what rogue police officers are doing at a higher level and senior government officials are doing at the apex,” said Saungweme.
Citing the inexplicable disappearance of $15 billion that was revealed by Mugabe, Saungweme said corruption in Zanu PF is so entrenched that it is difficult to deal with malcontents now.
“If 15 billion dollars can disappear and the Head of State and president of ruling party acknowledges that but does not resign, what about junior government and party officials? Corruption in Zanu PF and government is so glaring and you can’t be confounded by petty corruption by rogue party supporters merely mimicking behaviours of their bosses at the top.
This admission by Zanu PF is cheap political talk. Who does not know the obscene mansions built by senior Zanu PF officials? Who does not know of endless lists of properties divorce proceedings after divorce proceedings of Zanu PF senior officials reveal? What of First Family boys buying outrageously expensive vehicles? Zanu PF is a corrupt club where members out-compete each other to primitively crudely steal from the poor without conscience,” said Saungweme.
Another political analyst, Maxwell Hamauswa, weighed in saying Zanu PF is adept in adopting new forms of funding, especially when something no longer suits its interests.
“When transformation suits the fundamental interest of the moment, Zanu PF is capable of transforming itself. History can attest to this. When Chipangano was no longer necessary, the party disowned it. However, that was not the end of violence. When the rank marshals were no longer necessary, they were removed from the streets. So the actions of Zanu PF are simply based on political realism. They do what is presumably the best at that moment.
The other thing is that they might have already found big funders for the conference as various factions are strategically positioning themselves. Possible findings might be coming from diamonds where the public is not aware of what is going on there,” said Hamauswa.
According to State media, Manicaland provincial youth league chair Mubuso Chingono is being probed by a four-member team over allegations he embezzled over $400 000 that was raised to service residential stands for youths in Chipinge.
The youths, who are believed to number about 2 500, were made to pay $10 registration fees each and a further $35 monthly as subscription fees.
A few years ago, the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa stood accused of diverting to personal use $20 000 believed to have been donated by sugar giant Tongaat Hulett towards Mugabe’s daughter Bona’s wedding, although she refuted the allegations.