President Mnangagwa is being criticised for setting up an anti-corruption unit in his office. He should not be dissuaded at all. His critics are almost certainly the corrupt element in opposition and ruling party, fearing that the anti-corruption drive now has some teeth.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared in a video yesterday pounding his fist, demanding that corruption "be dealt with now", as he announced the setting up of a special team of prosecutors in his office.

As soon as he announced this, lawyers and constitutionalists who have been silent all this time as corruption hollowed out the prosperity of Zimbabwe, came out of the woodworks to say the move was a violation of the constitution and a whole load of other nonsense.

And, yes, no apologies for calling it nonsense.

Corruption is a real cancer, the biggest contribution to Zimbabwe's poverty. The president must, by any means necessary, tackle it.

He made it clear that the Prosecutor General has informed him he does not have the human capacity to expeditiously deal with these matters. The public has also been insulting the President over the last couple of months saying he is not serious about prosecuting these cases, that they are taking too long to be finalised and so on.

It is worrisome that, after being silent as corruption ran rampant in Zimbabwe, the moment the president takes a stance that will actually mean action on the ground will be seen, we suddenly see all sorts of people coming out of the woodwork to complain that his move may not be constitutional and may be a conflict of interest.

So they would rather we remain with the status quo. No Zimbabwean would allow that. It would be a criminal dereliction of duty by the President to sit back and do nothing.

The most cited argument from the corruption apologists is that the President should have capacitated the bodies that are there already to be more effective.

That is nonsense because the issue goes beyond capacity.

Corruption in the Third World, including in Zimbabwe, tends to be endemic. Corruption  captures state institutions, so that so-called "independent bodies" end up corrupted themselves and ineffective.

The best way to tackle this is what ED has done. It becomes very difficult for a person of power or means to infiltrate the President's office and corrupt that institution.

The objection therefore, has to be seen in that context. The people objecting to this are doing so only because they fear that this anti-corruption drive will now actually get some teeth.

One reason they would object is that, if their sympathy is with the opposition, the effectiveness of this new arrangement just before an election will move electoral mountains for President Mnangagwa and ZANU PF.

If they are within ZANU PF and are objecting, it then can only mean that they are afraid that this latest move will result in the neutralising of any influence-peddling that could have allowed them to escape censure or arrest as a result of their corrupt activities.

At the end of the day, Mnangagwa's approach must be applauded.

There will never be any moral equivalence between ED's alleged constitutional ambivalence in this case and the untold damage, poverty and denial of a prosperous future that failing to decisively deal with corruption will visit on the country.

Investors are applauding this move, because it means if any official asks them for anything underhand, they can not report directly to a dedicated team in the President's Office, instead of reporting to someone else, who may be captured and who would not escalate or prosecute the matter nor even act on it.

ED would do well ignore these naysayers, his people are behind him on this. Comments on his Facebook page clearly show that 99% of Zimbabweans support this move. That is all that matters.

His critics on this one can take that, put it in their pipes and smoke it.


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