Lately President Mnangagwa has been coming up with some nifty optics that reinforce arguments that he is “trying” to fight corruption. Of course it’s not much but his supporters will jump on the arrests of some ZRP Assistant Commissioners, the firing of Obadiah Moyo and reshuffles as sufficient evidence of that.
These measures create the right optics for Mnangagwa’s politics. The issue of factuality or whether there are actually voluntary moves or forced reactions is another matter altogether.
Across the floor the opposition MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa isn’t doing so good in coming up with the correct optics for the public in relation to corruption.
In January the MDC leader presented a team headed by top Harare lawyer Thabani Mpofu to go sniffing for possible corruption within the MDC dominated Harare City Council in a watershed anti-corruption crusade.
The team promised that “in the coming weeks, (we) turn our attention to the City of Harare”.
“We intend to deal in the first instance with all the contracts, running and unclosed contracts to which the City of Harare is part.”
“The identities of the contractors, numbers by value both in USD terms and local dollar terms of the amounts involved in those contracts, the manner those contracts were awarded and the efficiency with which they are being performed including the standard of work involved by the relevant parties of their contractual obligations, the commercial sensitivities relating to those contracts and in particular as to whether there is a fair exchange of values, whether the people of Harare are receiving the benefits of those contracts and any other pertinent issues theat may conduce to the discharge of our mandate”.
It was a huge and honourable mandate.
8 months down the line nothing has come out of the initiative and those arrested on allegations of corruption at City of Harare, including Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba, were arrested the instigation of state moves.
This the optics have a picture of President Mnangagwa cleaning corruption at the Nelson Chamisa controlled Town House.
For a country that is saddled by the weight of corruption, it’s bad optics for the opposition as they are now exhibiting signs of weakness in dealing with corruption.
By failing to rein in their Councilors they are showing similar weaknesses to the ruling administration and that will lose them the moral high ground to attack the ZANU leadership.
What is needed therefore is a move against all those implicated in corrupt deals.
It’s no longer enough for the MDC Alliance to accuse the ruling party administration of corruption whilst seeming to ignore the corruption within the institutions it already controls.
Illegal land deals have been awash across Harare and a serious party should get down on the floor for some serious cleansing exercise if they want to be different from the ruling party.