PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday said he will not defend senior government and Zanu PF officials implicated in corrupt deals or abuse of public funds, vowing to let them face the full wrath of the law, provided there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations.
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at the commissioning of Murongwe Primary School, built by the Air Force of Zimbabwe in Mt Darwin, Mashonaland Central province, Mugabe said all government and ruling party officials accused of corruption should have their day in court.
“No one who breaches the law would be protected and those accused would be left to face the music. It is not good for one accused of improper conduct to be protected,” he said.
The 92-year-old leader, however, said he would not be pushed to act because of media reports.
“We don’t want people to be accused of wrongdoing when they have not done so. We want people to be taken to court when there is a proper investigation and enough evidence. We want our people to defend themselves before the courts of law. If they have lawyers, let their lawyers defend them in the court,” he said.
“We don’t want our members to listen to the media and say we have read this in newspapers, so this one and that one must be arrested, or this one and that must be fired from the
party. No, we don’t do that. We have our courts and platforms where we discuss these issues and if anyone is convicted, they must go to jail.
“If someone abused money, it must be clearly exposed how the money was abused. What you read in newspapers is only media speculation.”
This came as war veterans yesterday piled pressure on the Zanu PF leader to wash his hands of Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s alleged $400 000 Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) scandal and let the Tsholotsho North MP carry his cross to the court.
Moyo and his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, are being probed by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission for allegedly abusing Zimdef finances to ostensibly fund Zanu PF activities and various developmental projects in their respective constituencies.
The duo has denied the allegations, claiming the charges were being raised for political expediency by their rivals in the ruling party.
Mugabe added Zanu PF was united, dismissing reports of the alleged factional fights as a creation of the media.
“These days, there are so many things being said about the party. Many people are saying the party is finished. Let me tell you: The party is united,” he said.
“Yes, they might be misunderstandings here and there. It is normal like in any other family. People are saying we are fighting and that we are finished, are we sorting that out?
“Those who would have erred in the party, we tell them they are wrong and we solve the problem.”
Mugabe also lashed out at the Zanu PF leadership in Mashonaland Central province for allowing a situation to go on at Murongwe Primary School, where pupils were still taking their lessons under trees, 36 years after independence.
“To be honest with you, from the bottom of my heart, I am very disappointed by what has been happening here. My government never anticipated that 36 years after independence we could be constructing primary schools. Why? Why? Why? I thought we should be focusing on building secondary schools and other institutions here, why a primary school?
“When we gained independence we prioritised basic education and I thought the issue of primary schools has been sorted out. I am really disappointed by our leadership.”
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association chairman, Christopher Mutsvangwa, told NewsDay yesterday that Mugabe’s alleged tacit support for Moyo posed a risk to his continued stay in power.
“Jonathan Moyo is nestling in his own version of the medieval Divine Order of King Mugabe. Never before has a constitutional republic been so blatantly challenged,” he said.
“That is precisely why the war veterans feel acutely incensed. He (Moyo) has awoken the great monster.
“All their defence is we are Robin Hoods working on a self-serving agenda for Mugabe the appointer-in-chief. The structures and constraints of a constitutional democracy stop at the door of the Executive. To Moyo and his cohorts, ‘The State is Mugabe’, to paraphrase King Louis at the start of the French Revolution.”
Asked if he thought Mugabe was protecting Moyo, Mutsvangwa retorted: “Moyo is in fact asserting that. The onus is now on HE (His Excellency) to refute that. Also (Police Commisioner-General Augustine) Chihuri is an Executive appointee.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Economic Empowerment, chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Justice Mayor Wadyajena, is also pushing for the arrest of Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere on allegations of failing to account for the $50 million allegedly pledged by diamond firms in Marange to fund the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust.
The issue caused a storm in Parliament on Tuesday, as legislators, from across the political divide, accused Acting Speaker Mabel Chinomona of seeking to block presentation of the report on the missing funds.-Newsday