By Dr. Noah Manyika
For months, Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has been encouraging Zimbabweans to understand what he calls “the interconnectedness of things.” There is a connection between the looting by the Mnangagwa regime, and our dead economy, 90% unemployment, government failure to properly remunerate teachers and medical personnel, the state of our schools and hospitals, shortages of critical commodities, and the disappearance of the pensions of retirees etc. etc.
During this pandemic, testing kits and PEPs have been in short supply because senior members of this government have been diverting Covid19 funds to their own pockets. It’s no longer just an accusation that Mnangagwa was involved with DRAX. The video provided by Chin’ono where Mnangagwa in his own words and in the presence of DRAX representatives confirms that he is the one who personally appealed to the company for COVID19 related donations provides incontrovertible evidence.
We are culturally averse to exposing an elder’s indiscretions. The evidence Chin’ono provides induces a feeling worse than when one catches a child with their hand in the cookie jar. It’s tough to confront the reality that we have elderly people who have no reason at all to steal, or to countenance it, but who do it nonetheless.
We cringe at Mnangagwa’s inadequacies for the office he holds, and how wrong many were to believe he was endowed with some mysterious presidential shrewdness that would be revealed once he assumed office. We observe the differences between him and Mugabe, his mentor for over fifty years, who was the master of insults, and note that all the student outdoes his former boss at is unknowingly insulting himself.The buffoonery is painful to watch, and sometimes we even allow ourselves to be amused. We must however guard against the possibility that in being amused by or feeling too sorry for it, we will forget the plunder, the looting, the abductions and the beatings.
This government is a grand looting machine that provides free and important lessons for all of us to understand how lootocracies work. The coup which removed Mugabe, himself a looter, was led by looters who had fallen out of favor with him. It replaced him with a man who a United Nations investigation concluded was the chief strategist for the Zimbabwe Defence Force’s plunder of the mineral resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the pretext of a pan-African intervention to help a friendly government.
A key member of the elite network involved in the plunder was Brigadier General Sibusiso Moyo (Zimbabwe’s current Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister), who was Director General of COSLEG, a joint venture company formed by the DRC’s Comiex and the ZDF’s company Operation Sovereign Legitimacy (OSLEG). Moyo was also the chief advisor to Tremalt and Oryx Natural Resources, which represented Zimbabwean military financial interests in negotiations with State mining companies in the DRC. General Moyo is the husband of Loice Matanda Moyo, the chairperson of ZACC and judge tapped by Mnangagwa to be Zimbabwe’s anti corruption Czar.
The looting machinery that plundered the DRC was well oiled by the time it turned on Chiadzwa, aided by Zanu(PF)’s “all-weather friends” who were invited to the bonanza by the regime’s “Look East policy.”
Every lootocracy needs expertise in moving money globally and a semblance of respectability, both of which are provided very well by the duo of Mthuli Ncube and Guvamatanga, the top team at the Ministry of Finance. The highly educated and well traveled Minister was a perfect choice for the job, having served as Managing Director of Quantum Global, the Swiss asset manager contracted to invest money for the FSDEA, Angola’s US$ 5 billion Sovereign Wealth Fund. Quantum Global was retained by the FSDEA’s former boss Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the ex-president of Angola’s son who is currently under criminal investigation and was part of the ex-president’s extensive empire of graft.
The involvement of the current State Security minister Owen Ncube with the criminals that invaded Gaika mine and the rampaging Mashurugwis in the Midlands is well known. Also well documented is the role of Sakunda and Tagwirei in looting through Command Agriculture.
To want more information to prove that this government is a lootocracy whose priority is to enrich itself at everyone else’s expense would be to insult yourself and your intelligence. None of this is new as the most perfunctory research of the corruption of Zanu(PF) governments in the last forty years reveals.
We have a choice either to be fed up with being provided the evidence of the looting, or being fed up with the looting, the violence, the abductions, the killings which are the reasons for our suffering. The former choice doesn’t change anything. The latter forces us to exercise the responsibility of every citizen: “the duty to intervene.”
Those of you who have been following the case of the murder of George Floyd in the United States will have noticed that the three police officers who did not ask their colleague to remove his knee from the victim’s neck are being charged precisely for failing to exercise that responsibility.
Curiously the Zimbabwean military cited that duty to justify their removal of Mugabe, and even attempted to set a precedent where military intervention was not unconstitutional. Even these protectors of this lootocracy recognize the constitutionality of the duty to intervene.
For the foreseeable, future I am going to relentlessly challenge you to exercise your duty to intervene, to tell your loved ones, your friends, your tribesman, the enforcers of the brutal orders of the regime meant to protect their looting, that it is illegal to obey illegal orders. If you are in the security services and law enforcement yourself, know that it is your moral, civic and constitutional duty to disobey illegal and unconstitutional orders.
Signing the petition I have created and shared with you is only a starting point, albeit an important one. For those who have already signed, it is working, as evidenced by how upset some regime apologists have become already, and also thankfully by the responses of some in these services who are sharing their commitment to never again violate your rights. Let’s keep sharing.
Is there not a cause?
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