By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MDC Vice President and legislator Tendai Biti has accused maverick business mogul and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ally, Kuda Tagwirei of capturing and running the country’s Finance Ministry.
Biti, once Finance Minister, also accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of being “godfather” of Zimbabwe’s high level corruption in government corridors.
Mthuli Ncube is current Finance Minister.
But the MDC top politician feels Tagwirei, also reported to be close to Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, is running Treasury through remote control for personal ends.
Biti said the ruling party, Zanu PF, was not able to fight graft as its senior members were also heavily involved in high level corruption that has bled the country of billions of dollars.
“I never thought that we could get to a situation as ordinary Zimbabweans in which we could say Mugabe was actually better. But, Zimbabweans are saying so because the level of looting under Emmerson Mnangagwa is unprecedented,” Biti said during a live NewZimTV current affairs programme, The Agenda, Monday.
“I have called the new government the archbishop of stealing, the deacons of stealing.
“The economy has been taken over by cartels in the form of Kuda Tagwirei, in the form of Sakunda, in the form of Trafigura in the form of Billy Rautenbach in the form of Van Hoogstraten, in the form of John Bredenkamp and other cartels that are running this economy.
“They are controlling the US dollar market, they are controlling the market for fuel, they are controlling minerals, particularly gold, platinum and chrome.”
Biti added: “They are controlling Command Agriculture, it’s sad and they are also controlling the Ministry of Finance.
“The Ministry of Finance has been taken over by those cartels, Kuda Tagwirei has taken over the Ministry of Finance in Zimbabwe.”
He said it was a shame that the Zanu PF-led government was seeking condonation from Parliament for US$10.8 billion that senior ruling party officials stole in the last three years.
“In 2017, $2.9 billion was stolen outside Parliament, in 2018, $3.5 billion was stolen outside Parliament. As I am talking to you right now, there is a Bill pending before Parliament called the Financial Adjustment Bill and in this is Bill they are seeking condonation of stealing $10.8 billion, it’s a shame,” the MDC Harare East MP said.
“Over $2 billion has gone to Kuda Tagwirei in the form of money for fuel, in the form of Command Agriculture and where you have a budget of $4.5 billion and one person is getting more than half of that, then surely he is now the Minister of Finance himself.”
On whether Zanu PF is able to deal with corruption, Biti said that was impossible.
“Look at what they did to these two kids (Lewis) Matutu and (Godfrey) Tsenengamu,” Biti said.
“These two kids raised an issue of corruption and they mention people who are not members of Zanu PF, Tagwirei is not a member of Zanu PF but the next thing is they are expelled.
“Why? Because the godfathers of corruption are in Zanu PF and Emmerson is the godfather of corruption and we say in MDC, you cannot send a mosquito to cure malaria. It’s not possible, Zanu PF cannot deal with corruption because they are corruption personified.”
The MDC top official urged Zimbabweans to go into the streets and demonstrate peacefully against the cartels.
“The people of Zimbabwe must know that they have a duty to defend themselves. And the people of Zimbabwe must know that unless we deal with the challenge of politics, challenge of stealing that is taking place, let’s all remove our jackets and get on to the streets without violence.
“Then as lawyers, we then take the cases to court to fight the cartels, then as Members of Parliament we take the fight to Parliament, but ordinary Zimbabweans must go into the streets and demonstrate expressing their anger,” he said.