By Idah Mhetu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has for the first time publicly admitted that he dissolved the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) then headed by career diplomat Job Whabira in January this year.
At the time, Mnangagwa’s office, in a statement claimed Whabira and his fellow Commissioners had resigned on their own volition.
But Mnangagwa last week told journalists during a State visit to Namibia that he had fired the Commission, a Chapter 12 institution provided for by the Constitution because it had become corrupt.
“We are determined to fight this cancer called corruption. We had an anti-corruption commission in existence as provided for by our Constitution.
“But my view after some few months in office I realised that the Anti-Corruption Commission was now part of the corruption so I removed it,” said Mnangagwa.
The Zanu PF leader swept to power in November 2017 on the back of a bloodless military coup that toppled his predecessor Robert Mugabe in dramatic scenes that left the world spellbound.
Mnangagwa promised to fight corruption including in government and a day before Whabira “resigned”, the President told a group of private media journalists in a wide-ranging interview that he had realised “I am hunting with corrupt people.”
A few hours later, Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda released a statement to State media announcing Zacc commissioners had resigned enmasse.
Mnangagwa then appointed High Court Judge Loice Matanda-Moyo to head the Commission and recently swore in eight other Commissioners to join her.
“Only last week, I swore in a new team of Commissioners. The former Commission had no teeth with regards to both arrest and prosecution. These are now in place so there is no excuse,” he said.
Before his visit to Namibia, Mnangagwa seemed to have given his approval to the arrest of Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira on charges of criminal abuse of office. Mupfumira is now languishing in remand prison, having been denied bail.
Added the Zanu PF leader: “However, corruption involves more than one person. Generally the one who gets cheated exposes the corruption. If both sides are satisfied it takes long to discover. We are continuously imploring Zimbabweans to come forward. We may put a law in place to protect whistle-blowers.”