As the corruption saga around President Robert Mugabe’s former spin doctor, Jonathan Moyo continues to take spectacular twists and turns without the latter spending a single minute in the slammer, it has become apparent Mugabe is selectively applying the law in attempts to keep in check festering succession battles in the factionriddled party, analysts say.
Mugabe, although uncharacteristic of him, has allowed one of his aides to be roasted for corruption, only coming in to rescue the embattled Higher and Tertiary Education minister from being caged. It has emerged the Zanu PF leader last week ordered the prosecution team not to take him to court so as to allow the Tsholotsho legislator to accompany him to a graduation ceremony in Bulawayo. On his part, Moyo, who flatly denies embezzling the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef)’s finances, has successfully lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court stopping his arrest and prosecution arguing the Zimbabwe AntiCorruption Commission is not empowered to do so.
While Moyo, many other Zanu PF bigwigs and top bureaucrats repeatedly fingered in acts of corruption involving millions, a general consensus is emerging Mugabe is using separate laws for citizens. Recent high profile cases in which Mugabe has failed to act when cronies have been fingered in acts of corruption include energy minister Samuel Undenge who was recently caught in a tender scam involving the country’s power utility; and local government
Minister Saviour Kasukuwere who was also involved in a land scam. Health minister David Parirenyatwa was once caught up in a similar mess after allegedly forcing the unprocedural release of $100,000 advance payment to his private surgery by the Premier Medical Aid Society. In a typical Animal farm scenario, some animals are more equal than others, analysts say, pointing out that Zanu PF bigwigs walk the streets up to now while others citizens have been arrested for almost similar crimes have been locked up in the country’s notorious prisons.
Animal Farm is an old but popular satire by George Orwell on how animals at a farm deposed their human masters only for some among them to become worse oppressors on their comrades. Analysts also point at the graft allegations levelled against former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) boss, Godwills Masimirembwa as an example. Mugabe once ranted against Masimirembwa over the latter’s alleged extortion of $6 million from a Ghanaian company that sought to invest in the Marange diamond field on a joint venture agreement with ZMDC.
Ricky Mukonza, a political analyst who teaches public policy at South Africa’s Tshwane University of Technology, concurs, saying Zimbabwe is a typical Animal farm, claiming it has been the case since independence in 1980. “Whilst those in political leadership like the President say the right message about equality before the law, in practice they do the opposite. Those aligned to Zanu PF always get away with crimes such as corruption, political violence etc. but those not political connected face the might of the law,” said Mukonza.
He added that Mugabe’s type of Animal Farm leadership explained why his government still failed to act despite a widely publicised mega salary scandal in which some top parastatal bosses were awarding themselves amounts running into hundreds of thousands in terms of salaries. It is not just the big wigs who are benefitting from the animal farm style of leadership but ordinary Zanu PF followers.
In 2008, Zanu PF activists visited all forms of violence on thousands of opposition supporters leading to hundreds of deaths but no arrests were made. Analysts say this is primarily what makes dealing decisively with corruption difficult. “There are sacred cows and the President protects them. In fact, that has led to speculation that he is also corrupt thus limiting his capacity to deal with the cancer,” said Mukonza. Bekithemba Mhlanga, a journalistturned economist, banker and political analyst, said in the Animal Farm scenario, Moyo could be the stinking cat – thrown in to divert attention from serious pressing issues such as the economic meltdown exacerbated by vehement opposition to a pending surrogate currency, the bond notes. “But the problem with the Moyo situation is the intrigue around the whole thing. For instance, is he being pursued to deflect attention or not? Sure he must answer in court but what about all the others?
But if he is guilty he must do the time still.” Innocent Chofamba Sithole, another political analyst, believes the selective application of the law is benefiting Mugabe in the sense that only he has the power to switch “the roles of that whole cast so that his hounds in one episode become the hunted in the next, and so on.” “By allowing Jonathan Moyo’s case to be exposed, giving immediate relief and headway to Lacoste (Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF faction), he creates the basis for the exposure of others too.
“The question still remains: why did he reveal that we lost $15bn in diamond money? Who is in the firing line if there were to be a probe into that? That could very well be a line of enquiry, and having appeared to allow due process to kick into motion on the Zimdef case, it follows that the Chiadzwa case should equally be subjected to the same.” In the meantime, Mugabe continues presiding over the Animal Farm