'I don't want to lead a party of thieves': Is Mugabe REALLY serious on corrupt ministers?

2017-02-23 10:03
Robert Mugabe (File: AFP)

Robert Mugabe (File: AFP)

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WATCH: President Mugabe's most funniest and shocking moments

2017-02-21 16:27

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe celebrated his 93rd birthday on Tuesday.WATCH

Harare - "I don't want to lead a party of thieves and corrupt persons." That was President Robert Mugabe talking tough on his 93rd birthday.

Sounds promising, don't you think?

But there was also this from His Excellency: "If there is evidence, we will pursue that evidence."

"There are no cases you can point to of big fish having done this," he added.

That got some Zimbabweans very hot under the collar. After all, corruption allegations have been taken to the authorities for investigation in the past - and very little has happened. That was the case when the then local government minister Ignatius Chombo faced corruption claims in 2014 ("no action was taken," the Zimbabwe Independent reported back then: same thing happened at the end of 2016). Former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation boss Godwills Masimirembwa was mired in a 6 million US scandal in 2013 but Mugabe later exonerated him. More recently, Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo is currently under investigation for the alleged diverting of funds meant for students (Mugabe referred to this briefly saying the Anti-Corruption Commission was "at cross purposes" with Moyo: no-one believes the minister will be locked up).

And Mugabe said dismissively in the second part of this long state TV interview: "I think the big fish, more of it has been talk, talk, talk and talk."

Watch the interview below.

"So he doesn't know the mischievous deeds by his government?" asked @RMukondiwa.

Said @KMazaranye: "[Opposition] MDC Harare City Councillors reported Chombo to the police with evidence of his alleged corruption and were instead arrested themselves." That appeared to be a reference to the arrest of Warship Dumba, who led a probe into the alleged corrupt acquisition of land by Chombo and Mugabe's nephew Philip Chiyangwa in 2011. 

The Zimbabwe president "always denies what's in plain sight", commented watchdog @ZimMediaReview.

There have been calls - online - for a more aggressive interviewer to be used in Mugabe's annual birthday interview, since Tazzen Mandizvidza of the state ZBC does not dare challenge the president. 

But that again seems very unlikely.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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