PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE CURRENT NATIONAL CRISIS

PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE CURRENT NATIONAL CRISIS

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, in the interest of time, I am going to get straight to
the point.

Over the last few weeks, we have seen a blatant attempt by the State and its proxies to keep
us distracted by side-shows masquerading as national issues.

However, on behalf of the 2.6 million Zimbabweans who put their faith in the MDCAlliance
we are putting the state and all its operators on notice. We will not be distracted
from the real issues bedevilling our nation.

The real issue is that Corruption is killing us.

Let’s start with the numbers:

  • In 2017, US$2.7 billion disappeared under Command Agriculture1.
  •  Of that US$2.7 billion, US$1.5 billion was withdrawn on a single day, the 27th of
    December 2017.
  •  In 2018, US$3.5 billion dollars was unaccounted for under Command Agriculture.
  •  We await the next Auditor General’s report but anticipate this pattern of state looting
    will continue.
  •  7.7 million Zimbabweans face food insecurity in a nation of approximately 15.6
    million people.
  •  This means that an estimated 5.5 million people in rural Zimbabwe and a further 2.2
    million people in urban Zimbabwe are facing food insecurity over the next year.
  •  When the MDC trio demonstrated against this hunger, they were abducted, tortured
    and sexually assaulted. They were persecuted for speaking out on behalf 7.7
    million Zimbabweans. Corruption is literally starving us.
  •  63% of Zimbabweans live below the poverty line.
  •  Despite the over US$6billion that has been poured into Command Agriculture,
    Zimbabwe faces, what the UN has described as, its worst hunger crisis in a decade.
    The UN went a step further to classify this crisis as “man-made”.
  •  According to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, women and children
    are “bearing the brunt of the crisis” with 90% of children aged six months to two
    years not consuming enough food.
  •  29.9% of urban households are cereal insecure.
  •  Corruption is killing us.
  •  Mr Mnangagwa signed the Zimbabwe Domestic and Humanitarian Appeal for
    Assistance in April 2020 appealing for a total of US$2,2 billion worth of
    humanitarian aid over the next 12 months.
  •  Of that money only US$955,67 million is required for the food insecurity response.
    This is far less than the US$3.5 billion looted under Command Agriculture in 2018.
  •  In fact, the entire amount requested in aid for 2020 is less than what has been spent
    propping up those who benefit from looting money under the Command
    Agriculture scheme.
  • This has not only left us unproductive but extremely vulnerable.
  •  In Mr Mnangagwa’s appeal for US$2,2 billion I have referred to, US$37 million6
    was requested for health yet we have seen the attempted looting of contracts up to
    the value of US$60 million due to dubious procurement processes and the
    insatiable appetite of those right at the very top.
  •  Prisca Mupfumira is alleged to have looted funds from NSSA in excess of US$95
    million. The amounts looted through these corrupt acts would have been enough to
    fund health assistance over two times over; yet Mrs Mupfumira walks free. No
    accountability. No political will to bring her or her accomplices to book.
  •  In the past few weeks, Covidgate has implicated senior government officials
    including those at the very, very top yet all we see are theatrics, weak
    investigations and the arrest of the smallest, weakest, least powerful fish.
    o Why is Obadaiah Moyo walking free?
    o Why is George Guvamatanga walking free?
    o Why is Mthuli Ncube walking free?
    o Why is Collins Mnangagwa walking free?
  •  Corruption is killing us.
  •  In 2019 we saw allegations of 17 000 tonnes of maize being imported from Tanzania
    at US$600 a tonne while world prices were at US$240 a tonne. There was no
    investigation into this allegation and the public is still left wondering who
    organised this contract and who benefits from it?
  •  According to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) itself, quoting
    Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), Zimbabwe loses at least US$1.8
    billion a year to corruption. This figure is conservative.
  •  Corruption is killing us.

Quite simply, the State has employed all manner of distractions disguised as foiled coup plots, army backed takeovers of private property, RTGS payments dressed as USD allowances, and many other theatrics. However, we say unequivocally: we will not be distracted. Corruption is killing us!

Way forward

  •  We want decisive and tangible action.
  •  We demand a public, televised inquiry into the Covidgate Scandal
  •  We are sick and tired of corruption being swept under the carpet and the perpetrators
    of corruption being exonerated behind closed doors to the detriment of the citizens.
  •  It is the citizens that the pay the price for the looting, so we demand answers. It is the
    citizens who bear the brunt of the bad governance, so we demand accountability.
  •  Corruption is killing us.
  •  If ZACC cannot act independently and transparently it should be disbanded. We are
    tired of the catch and release strategy being employed when dealing with the most
    damning corruption scandals. The true independence of ZACC must be part of a
    raft of wider political reforms.
  •  If corruption is everywhere, but ZACC is mute, the inescapable conclusion that the
    public will reach is that this important institution in the fight against corruption has
    become captured. We want ACTION because corruption is killing us. Arrest the
    big fish. Investigate the cases thoroughly.
    o Where is Prisca Mupfumira?
    o Where is the NSSA investigation?
    o What is being done to investigate corruption at ZINARA? At ZIMSEC and
    at all the parastatals that were named in the Auditor General’s report?
  •  The Auditor General does all the work, but her reports gather dust and are not
    followed up by any meaningful investigation, prosecution or conviction.
    Corruption is killing us.
  •  In terms of s255 of the Constitution, ZACC has a duty to not only investigate
    corruption but to expose it as well. We have not had a single exposé of corruption
    from ZACC. Not one. Yet we know, from the Auditor General, from our
    journalists, from reports from the IMF, the UN Special Rapporteur on Hunger and
    our own lived daily experiences that Corruption is killing us.
  •  Billions are being lost each year and there has not been a single call from ZACC for
    the looters to pay back the money. We make that demand now. They must pay
    back the money because corruption is killing us.
  •  We demand the strengthening of the National Prosecution Authority. It should not be
    an arm of the president’s office. In terms of section 260 of the Constitution, the
    Prosecutor General (PG) must exercise his or her functions impartially and without
    fear, favour, prejudice or bias. The PG is accountable to the public. In terms of
    section 260(2), the PG must formulate and “publicly disclose” the general
    principles by which he or she decides whether and how to institute and conduct
    criminal proceedings. We demand an explanation as to why top govt officials have
    not been arrested. What principles are protecting those at the top? Why are they
    allowed to steal with impunity? Yet, MDC Alliance members who protest hunger
    are arrested, abducted, tortured, sexually assaulted then re-arrested? The citizens
    have to know, in fact, we demand to know, what principles, are guiding the
    functions of the NPA as it carries out what are meant to be its constitutional
    functions? Corruption is killing us.
  •  In parliament we are going to push for amendments to the Public Finance
    Management Act so that there are consequences for those who do not comply with
    the requirement to timeously report and account to Parliament on government
    spending. There has to be a personal cost and personal liability to these leakages
    caused by corruption and maladministration.
  •  We demand that every public officer must declare their assets as was promised in
    January 2018 and this disclosure must be made available to public scrutiny and
    where necessary lifestyle audits conducted by ZIMRA.

Conclusion

  • At the beginning of 2020, President Chamisa outlined the MDC Alliance’s 5 Big
    Fights. We take the fight against corruption seriously and we will not be deterred
    from pursuing it on all fronts including in parliament, through protest, and even on
    social media. We refuse to accept any distraction that is not in the public interest.
    Right now, corruption is killing us. The architects and perpetrators of this
    corruption must be brought to book.
  •  The MDC Alliance has set out a comprehensive programme for the resolution of the
    national crisis in its Road to Economic Recovery, Legitimacy, Openness And
    Democracy (RELOAD) is the MDC’s comprehensive agenda to end Zimbabwe’s
    current economic crisis
  •  Economies are not resuscitated by fasting and prayer. They are resuscitated by good
    governance, transparency and accountability. The only demon binding our
    economy is that of corruption.