By Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo
We have so many deals, apparently, which the Government of Zimbabwe, has signed with several countries; we have been briefed of MOUs, signed on behalf of the country, that have never been disclosed to the public. One of the key roles of the State is to ensure that the public, or citizenry, has adequate information regarding Governance and leadership.
We have the Belarus – Zupco bus deal. We were only told that more than 671 buses are on their way to Zimbabwe. The nature of the deal was never disclosed to the public. But why President and, and the whole team? What are Belarusians getting from the Zimbabwe deal in exchange for buses? We may find ourselves mortgaging our country to foreigners in the next fifty years if we are not careful. By that time, Mnangagwa and the whole team, won’t be there to explain to the nation, what exactly happened on these deals.
We need a transparent Government, which must discharge its duties diligently, by ensuring all Government deals must be disclosed to the public. What I find more interesting, on this one, is headlines, you won’t even find a single paragraph describing the economic implications on the nature of the deals.
To some extent, it is rumoured that Fossils Agro, was involved in the transaction of the deal. Fossils and Sakunda are getting over US$140 000 profit from a single bus, and this is completely public theft of national assets or coffers. Who was involved in the signing of the deals? From my own assumption, I thought, Economists, Lawyers, Academics, Researchers, and other key people were supposed to be involved, and after satisfaction, the nature of the deal was supposed to be made public.
In fact, all deals must pass through Parliament for regulatory and legislative agenda. The role of Parliament is for approval and allowing the public to have scrutiny, on such deals before any approval. To my surprise, these deals are done without the knowledge of the whole nation.
WHO IS BEHIND ALL THESE DEALS?
What is the role of the State Procurement Board ( SPB)? Is it still functional? Do we still have an SPB in place? We can’t have few political elites continuing to enrich themselves at the expense of the whole nation.
Recently, Kudakwashe Tagwirei, popularly known as KT, was reportedly having over 50 companies that were registered under different names and hoaxes. As a result, the same individual makes the Central Bank s role and other financial institutions more difficult. Given that context, he is already controlling all sectors of the economy. Do we still have a central bank to talk about? Do we still have a State Procurement Board to talk about? Do we still have a Parliament to talk about?
The Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking – ZIST recommends the following:
1. The Nature of Government deals must be made public
2. Citizen’s perspectives are critical for all National deals
3. The role of the State Procurement Board ( SPB) must be strengthened
4. All individuals involved in public deals must be exposed, for public scrutiny
5. Tender procedures and systems must be transparent and made public
6. National cake must be shared equally
7. Opposition parties must play their role to ensure that they provide checks and balances to the Government of the day
8. We need proper investigation and research in all public deals
9. The role of the Private sector is key in ensuring accountability plays a key role in these public deals
10. Declaration of wealth, must begin right from the President, Cabinet Ministers, and all Government officials, to ascertain accountability & transparency
1. What happens to those who have shortchanged the country in shady deals?
2. Who is behind all these shady deals since the inception of the new dispensation?
3. What is left for our children, and families, with this level of looting in our country?
4. Can an individual be an Advisor to the President, at the same time, business partner, and at the same time, a beneficiary of Government deals? Is this possible in any country set up?
5. Do we have a timeframe for looting, or it will be looting throughout? Till we have an empty country?
We need proper Economic & Development Research on all our transactions and public deals, before any awarding of national tenders or contracts.
What is the position of our National & domestic debt?
At one point, the Finance Minister, reportedly told a news conference, that our foreign debt stands at 18 billion. How do we arrive at such figures, without any explanation? The next thing, the same people are building huge mansions around Brook, Greystone park, Philadelphia, etc. Any explanation for the national debt?
I thought the public was supposed to be cushioned with proper Research information, on how and why we arrived at such figures. Nobody knows, how much our foreign and domestic debt stands at? The farm mechanization project or debt was recently attached to RBZ, and later on National debt. The debt stands at 1.2 billion United States Dollars, and the public in general never benefitted from such a deal. We have the Brazilian deal, which involved the former first lady, Grace Mugabe, she got away, and now it is the whole nation, which must foot the bill. On top of that, the same individual, in her capacity as the former first lady, is receiving her husband’s benefits, and package, after all, their deals were attached to the central bank.
Do we have sanctions, in this country, or we have sanctioned ourselves to poverty?
Tinashe Eric Muzamhindo is the Head of Zimbabwe Institute of Strategic Thinking – ZIST, and he can be contacted at [email protected]