By Audience Mutema
ZIMBABWEANS have reacted strongly to government’s apparent failure to both detect and act upon a massive foreign currency scandal involving some top central bank managers and a handful connected individuals, leaving it to persons such as controversial socialite Acie Lumumba to reveal the scam.
Lumumba, real name Gerald Mutumanje, on Sunday torched a storm when he took to his private Facebook page to expose four Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) executives’ hand behind the source of country’s puzzling but thriving black market forex trade.
The culprits, namely Mirirai Chiremba (Financial Intelligence), Norman Mataruka (Bank Supervision), Gresham Muradzikwa (Head of Security) and Azvinandawa Saburi (Financial Markets) were later summarily suspended by RBZ governor John Mangudya, pending an investigation into the alleged mischief.
Reacting to the shock revelations, Zimbabweans interviewed on the streets of Harare Wednesday poured their frustrations on the prevalence of high level corruption that has apparently gone on unchecked.
“It is very frustrating that the government has never shown any willingness other than empty public threats to deal with corruption.
“Corruption is haemorrhaging the economy and making us all suffer and the sad part is that it is benefitting a tiny section of powerful individuals in a country full of grinding poverty,” said one Zimbabwean who preferred to remain anonymous.
Tirivangani Chinamhora also denounced the way government has failed to handle corruption.
“We have become very corrupt. Corruption has become institutionalised because of the areas and levels it has reached which we do not expect it to reach,” he said.
Barnabas Gombakomba said “corruption is a road that has brought us down”.
“It is not helping us as a nation. It’s not helping our economy. It is something that must be dealt with, with the seriousness that it deserves and by a lot of state agents,” he said.
Other Zimbabweans interviewed slammed what they found to be government lethargy in dealing with effectively with the country’s multi-billion scandals across all sectors of the economy.
Tawanda Majoni, national coordinator with local anti-corruption NGO, Information for Development Trust (IDT) questioned why it took Lumumba, a controversial Zanu PF youth empowerment lobbyist, to reveal the RBZ corruption.
He located the drama within Zanu PF’s factional soap opera that has seen party hawks send outspoken characters to sling mud on the faces of their rivals for political reasons.
“I think the question on everyone’s lips is why is it that they have to hire Acie Lumuba to expose what was happening at the RBZ,” he said.
“What we must remember is that there is a lot of untidiness, awkwardness around the manner in which the expose’ was made.
“We must also remember that the current RBZ governor John Mangudya, this is his fifth year as the governor and then they have given us the impression that they have to wait for someone who was outside to expose what was happening.
“That it self-incriminating and it shows a lot of dishonesty and it seems as if the RBZ governor knew what was happening.”
The foreign currency black market, which has seen the rate of the US dollar at one time in the past two weeks shooting to 500 percent against the local bond note, has been blamed for the country’s recurrent economic troubles.