In a charged session of the Zimbabwean parliament, Citizens Coalition for Change legislator for Mount Pleasant, Fadzayi Mahere, delivered a scathing critique of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ZACC) annual report for 2022. Mahere’s comments come amidst growing concerns over corruption and illicit financial flows in Zimbabwe, which are estimated to cost the country around US$2.8 million each year.
During her address, Mahere emphasized the commission’s failure to uphold its constitutional mandate. According to Section 255 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, the ZACC is obligated to investigate and expose corruption. However, Mahere pointed out the stark absence of significant investigations or reports of major corruption cases in the 2022 document. This omission, she argued, indicates a severe lapse in the commission’s duties.
Highlighting the extent of the problem, Mahere referred to the Ministry of Finance’s reports, which suggest that Zimbabwe loses approximately US$100 million monthly due to gold leakages alone. Despite these staggering figures, such critical issues were conspicuously missing from the ZACC’s report. Mahere also brought attention to the COTTCO scandal, involving a former member of ZANU PF, Hon. Wadyajena, which was not addressed in the commission’s findings.
Mahere’s critique reflects a growing sentiment among the public and various stakeholders about the effectiveness and independence of the ZACC. Her comments underscored the perception that the commission is failing to confront high-level corruption cases, possibly due to political capture. This inaction, she argued, not only undermines the ZACC’s credibility but also hampers Zimbabwe’s fight against corruption.
Looking ahead, Mahere expressed expectations for the 2023 ZACC report to address specific high-profile cases, including the gold mafia scandal. She stressed that the commission cannot shy away from critical corruption cases that have been exposed and reported by others, even if they are politically sensitive.
The parliamentary session concluded with a reminder from the Temporary Speaker advising Mahere to avoid naming individuals who are not present to defend themselves. This admonishment underscores the delicate balance of parliamentary debate and the legal and ethical considerations involved in discussing allegations of corruption.