The Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance (MDC-A) has pilled pressure on government to urgently set up an inquiry into the scandalous procurement of COVID-19 related medical and personal protective equipment in what has come to be known as Covid-gate.
Speaking at a press briefing this afternoon, MDC-A spokesperson, Fadzai Mahere said the state was instead diverting public attention by meddling into opposition politics, creating heightened clashes between the two MDC factions as witnessed recently.
“We want and we demand decisive tangible action. We demand a public televised inquiry into the Covid-gate scandal. We are sick and tired of corruption being swept under the carpet and the perpetrators of corruption being exonerated behind closed doors to the detriment of the public,” Mahere said.
The state has come under immense scrutiny following leakages of procurement contracts between government and a contractor, Drax Consult SAGL showing approved inflated prices of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.
The mounting pressure led to government terminating the deal but outrage broke again after the local media published a letter from the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) addressed to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) seeking insight on a US$2 million payment made by the Zimbabwean government to Drax Consult SAGL earlier.
This come at a time the country is experiencing acute fuel and medical supplies shortages owing to foreign currency unavailability in the country.
Mahere went at lengths chronicling major corrupt scandals involving the state in recent years which have not been fully investigated and are yet to yield convictions such as Command Agriculture and Zesa, NSSA, Zimsec and ZINARA scandals among others.
She alleged that the state has come up with smokescreen allegations of failed coup plots on opposition activists who expose the state in a bid to silence them in reference to the MDC activists who were allegedly abducted.
“The State has employed all manner of distractions disguised as failed coup plots, army backed takeovers of private property, RTGS payments dressed as US dollar allowances and many other theatrics, Parliamentary recalls, fake opposition internal disturbances, however we say we will not be distracted because corruption is killing us,” Mahere said.
She also took a swipe at the Prosecutor General’s office which she described as captured and ìn need of reforms in order to execute its duties fairly.
“We also demand the strengthening of the National Prospecting Authority; it should not in terms of the law be an extension of the President. In terms of Section 260 of the constitution, the prosecutor general must exercise his/her function, impartially and without fear, favor, prejudice or bias. The PG is accountable to the public,” she added.
Zimbabwe is facing the worst economic crisis in a decade that has been exacerbated by rampant looting and misappropriation of state funds over the years.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has on several occasions attested the scourge of corruption and made promises to put an end to it.
However, failure by the State to convict some figures alleged to be corrupt yet are closer to the executive or are from the ruling Zanu pf party has eroded public confidence in the anti-graft fight.
Early this year, Zanu pf expelled its youth leaders, Lewis Matutu and Godfrey Tsenengamu for naming corrupt party heavyweights.
Last year, a former cabinet minister, Prisca Mupfumira was deeply engraved in a multi-million US dollar scandal disenfranchising the public pensions company, NSSA but the matter is still pending before the courts.