Zimbabwe’s Great Curse and Presence Beyond

Oberholster Venita/Pixabay/License

Politically naive and restrained Britons are now embracing fraud as the fastest growing crime in their country, reportedly costing taxpayers an estimated £50 billion a year. They were disillusioned after watching one of the biggest bank cheque frauds in British history, which is the brainchild of Zimbabwe nationals on asylum, and among them a church leader.

Fraud Squad, the 2015 Wild Pictures production on ITV, documented poignantly how the so-called political migrants infiltrated UK’s property market; sold contaminated flood and industrial zones to
unknowing victims; and succeeded in organizing a daring and sophisticated fraud at £6,5 million, while disparaging the local police force.

Currently topping the unrelenting swindles are criminal cases ranging from government grants and students bursaries from the treasured National Health Service (NHS) to accident, maternity and social benefits, as well as marriage scams among several crimes. Zimbabwean fraudsters in Western cities, particularly Britain, publicly deride British financial institutions as “fatuously loopholed and impotent.” while flooding Zimbabwe’s vast informal housing market with Western loot. Zimbabwe is currently described as an open prison because of stringent, weird, and mostly barbaric and inhuman policies that the ruling ZANU-PF party foists on this former British colony. And yet these criminals (especially the £6.5 million ringleaders) have the nerve to steal from the mother country, all while justifying the criminal acts by attacking colonialism?

Nevertheless, endemic corruption among Zimbabweans is not rooted in colonial injustices but within Africa’s post-independence elitist-syndrome, which created the controversially political and wealthy class. Now almost six decades after the first sub-Saharan country (Ghana) gained its independence, no cure has been found for the syndrome, even in industrialized and economically superior South Africa. In Zimbabwe, the first major corruption scandal was a car racket by government ministers and top ZANU-PF officials in 1987, which saw beneficiaries buying cars cheaply from the only official car importer Willowvale Motor Industries, then selling them at unreasonably inflated prices. By the time the Sandura Commission was “set up” to investigate the scandal, a path to the elite ruling class was established amidst questionable verdicts, as President Robert Mugabe’s Ghanaian wife Sally, was reportedly implicated. The land reform programme of 2000, just like the discovery of the world’s largest diamond fields at Chiadzwa Marange a few years later, have disappointed Pan-African advocates worldwide, as both projects have spelled out revolutionary apocalypse, unprecedented greed, and selfishness. Now a multiple farm ownership scheme for the ruling hierarch—the much-awaited land audit which sought an equitable, fair and transparent redistribution exercise—has been declared “complicated” by the relevant ministry. On the other hand, the nominal Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is investigating the disappearance of a US$3 billion agricultural fund, which former president Mugabe whose family owns 21 farms, unveiled in 2016.

Controversially, the scheme known as Command Agriculture was implemented by then vice-president and Mugabe’s successor Emmerson Mnangagwa. This agri-scheme followed the 2008 US$1.4 billion agricultural mechanisation programme from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which witnessed another historic looting. Ironically, in its June report, UNICEF declared that nearly 5.5 million people, a third of Zimbabwe’s population will need food assistance by 2020.

Disappointingly last year, a Mines and Energy parliamentary committee tried without success to bring Mugabe to answer questions over his 2016 claim that indeed, Zimbabwe lost US$15 billion in revenue due to corruption and foreign exploitation in the diamond industry. Of all the seven companies currently operating Zimbabwe’s diamond fields, their affiliation with top military and political officials is undisputed. Until June 24th this year, Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 banned the use of multi-currencies, notably the luring and dominating U.S. dollar, introduced to cushion the hyperinflation of 2008, that reached 79,600,000,000 percent, month-on-month.

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