The politics and theatrics behind Zimbabwean cartels

By Tatenda Marwodzi

Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU PF, has silenced and suspended 2 youth league members for releasing a list of corrupt cartels without the president’s authorization.

Youth league deputy secretary, Lewis Matutu appeared in an impromptu press conference alongside youth league political commissar, Godfrey Tsenengamu, accusing 3 top businessmen for running cartels.

The names released while interesting, offered no new insight but rather sounded like an old broken record, as they have in the past been accused for corruption with officials choosing to ignore these allegations.

Dubbed as the “president’s beloved nephew”, Kudakwashe Tagwirei, founder of Sakunda Holdings has been accused of conducting illegal deals in the fuel sector and receiving command agriculture grants from the government.

Tafadzwa Musarara, president of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe -always breaking the news for threatening legal action of all sorts- has been accused of diverting grain subsidies for personal use while pushing black market sales of mealie meal at unauthorized prices.

And controversial tycon Muller Rautenbach -otherwise known as “Billy”- has been accused of acquiring vast land for mining purposes through scrupulous deals .

“These corrupt cartels are very powerful and have been left to do as they please for a long time. They are fuelling all black market activities.”

According to Matutu the trio are bleeding the economy through corruption but are untouchable because they have close ties with the country’s leadership.

“…they are related or close to the national leadership. They have become untouchables,” said an unapologetic Matutu who was fully aware of the consequences of making these allegations on a public platform.

His Excellency, President Mnangagwa issued a statement, condemning Matutu and Tsenengamu for trying to divide the party. “We must all guard against misguided & misdirected activism which threaten Party’s unity, cohesion & singleness of purpose. Such behavior will never be condoned.”

Although the youth league members made a rookie move, holding an unauthorized press conference, their punishment was inevitable but that is just a distraction from the the underlying cause of concern.

Why is there is no urgency from country leaderhip to conduct investigations on the 3 businessmen?

A concerned citizen commented on the whole saga saying “(This) proves that Mnangagwa and his government are not interested in addressing corruption. They want to silence and make people afraid of exposing their corrupt & criminal activities.”

Matutu and Tsenengamu have however pledged to continue fighting corruption.

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