By Anna Chibamu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has warned against the tendency by some individuals to abuse their proximity to high ranking officials to seek undeserved favours and benefits.
He was speaking at the burial of Major General (Rtd) Clever Shadreck Chiramba (66) who died from Covid-19 complications last week.
He was buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare Sunday.
Mnangagwa’s threats follow reports of several people who have been arrested or stand accused of using their close links to him and other senior government officials to engage in corruption and other crimes.
He said Zimbabweans should instead emulate the late Chiramba, who despite his close working relations with senior government and military officials, never abused that privilege to access favours or benefits.
“We have lost a selfless team player and a true revolutionary cadre. He was also a God-fearing man. Chiramba remained astute, versatile and a responsible cadre who served for and looked after strategic armaments in the fight for our revolution,” said Mnangagwa.
“Although he trained and deputised commanders who occupied high positions, he never claimed such associations to be a right to access privileges or benefits. Under the Second Republic, proximity or relations with those holding public positions should never be a basis whatsoever to access favours or benefits.”
At one time, Chiramba was deputy to now Vice President Constantino Chiwenga who was the commander of the Five Brigade in Gweru in the 1980s.
Last year, an unspecified number of Zanu PF employees were fired after they were found guilty of “name dropping”.
The now Zanu PF acting political commissar, Patrick Chinamasa, at the time described “name dropping” a disease before declaring war on the scammers seeking bribes and other favours using names of Mnangagwa, and other senior public officials.
“Name dropping – it’s a disease. The Zanu PF revolutionary party is declaring war on name droppers. Here at Zanu PF, we have fired some of these name droppers, conmen and con-women who abuse the name of the party leadership,” he said.
“They allege they are relatives of senior leaders and go about conning people in the name of our leadership. That should stop forthwith.”
Chinamasa urged the media to “expose these fraudsters and extortionists whenever you come across them” before he threatened to name and shame after full investigations.
“They are in various forms. Some whenever they get an opportunity to meet our president, who as you know has declared an open-door policy, they ask for selfies and the president obliges, which is a good thing.
“We will never ask him to stop obliging to those who ask for selfies. But when they go out, they use these selfies whether in a bar to get people to buy them drinks or to use them for extortionist purposes. That should stop.”
At the time, Chinamasa also blasted Mnangagwa’s relatives for attempting to influence and interfere with the president’s duties.
“Then you also have relatives. Some of them are not even relatives, who go about name dropping that they are related to the president. If they are related to the president, Zanu PF is saying they have no interest whatsoever in your relationship with the president.
“It has nothing to do with us and we take strong exception that you are seeking, even as relatives, to appropriate the president to you. The president is a national figure, is president to all of us. We would not want any relative to appropriate the name of the president or to put the president in their pockets. The president will not fit in their pockets.