Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Corruption in Zimbabwe

In May, the finance minister wrote to the International Monetary Fund, warning that Zimbabwe faced a health and economic catastrophe. The government of Zimbabwe has spent millions of dollars on luxury cars for senior officials despite a deepening economic collapse that has plunged its people into profound hardship. 
The new cars, including dozens of Range Rovers and Toyota pick-up trucks worth more than $40,000, were distributed to ambassadors and senior civil servants. Dozens of luxury models are also believed to have been distributed to senior army officers, while junior ranks have received more modest vehicles. Analysts say the move constitutes a new effort to shore up support for the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power after the military coup that ousted Robert Mugabe in 2017.
New vehicles had been delivered to all Zimbabwe’s 50 diplomatic envoys and some other staff. the head of Zimbabwe’s health services board confirmed that commissioners recently took delivery of Range Rover Discoveries worth around $50,000 each. Paulinus Sikosana said the distribution was standard practice for senior bureaucrats. Currently, thousands of nurses and doctors are on strike in protest at working conditions, a lack of protective equipment and low salaries. Zimbabwe’s largest nurses’ union said inflation – now running at 785% year on year – means its members can no longer afford basic items.
Rising transport costs have forced many nurses to walk to work.
“The reality … is that we are incapacitated from attending work even if we wanted to,” the Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (ZINA), which represents around 15,000 state nurses, said.
Enock Dongo, a nurse in Harare and president of ZINA, said he could not afford to feed his family.
“If you look at how things have gone up in the shops, the basic commodities and rentals, surely you can not expect US$30 a month to cater for all that … We don’t have anything. I have subsidised the government for a long time but now I cannot do that anymore.” 
What’s unusual about the expenditure [on luxury cars] is that it comes when the government is under siege financially. It looks like a desperate effort to scaffold their support. The real challenge for Mnangagwa is that the policy of patronage and plunder means significant reform is impossible,” said Piers Pigou, an analyst with the International Crisis Group.
 An estimated 4.3 million rural Zimbabweans are currently in need of urgent assistance. Many in towns and cities are also threatened with malnutrition.

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