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Zimbabwe Corruption

A sitting cabinet minister in Zimbabwe’s government is facing charges of abuse of office, bringing to two the number of high ranking officials in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, nabbed by the country’s corruption watchdog, this year.

The chair of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), Loice Matanda-Moyo, confirmed that the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs (Monitoring and Implementation of Government Programs) Joram Gumbo, is scheduled to appear in a Harare court, Tuesday, to answer to allegations of abuse of office, during his tenure as minister of transport.

“Yes, it's correct that the ZACC has taken in the former minister of transport and currently he is being questioned by ZACC with the view of taking him for a remand before the courts tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Matanda-Moyo.

Gumbo faces several charges including renovating a government property and renovating it for one million U.S dollars, involvement is a fuel deal worth $US$2.7 which was never delivered, and reinstating persons who were under investigation for corruption.

“He is accused of having leased his niece’s property for Zim Airways, and paid a million dollars for its renovations and payment of rentals, and did not declare that he was conflicted in that matter,” explained Matanda-Moyo.

“He is also accused of being involved in the CMED (Central Mechanical and Engineering Department), a fuel deal he was involved in where US$2.7 million was paid to a second company and no fuel was delivered,” she continued.

“And he is also accused of having directed the reinstatement of persons facing corruption charges, and they had not been cleared by the courts, and others,” added Matanda-Moyo.

Gumbo is the second minister in President Mnangagwa’s government under active investigation for corruption. The first to be investigated and arrested was former Tourism Minister Prisca Mupfumira, who was arrested in July over allegations involving the National Social Security Authority that she was in charge of as then minister of Public Service, Labor and Social Welfare.

Mupfumira is currently out on bail.

Asked about the status of the case and possibility of Mupfumira being charged for the alleged misuse of US$94million, Matanda-Moyo said ZACC’s responsibility is solely to investigate, not prosecute.

“ZACC only investigates matters. So people have got this wrong impression that it is ZACC which then prosecutes the matters. ZACC’S duties end with investigations,” explained Matanda-Moyo. “I do agree that sometimes we do lose control of the matters along the way, but for us we are doing our part as ZACC, in investigating the matters and taking the matters to court.”

Matanda-Moyo said her commission is currently investigating 30 people, the majority of them ministers, so more arrests are likely.

“We are investigating about 30 high profile matters and most of them are ministers. But we are just waiting to get all the evidence. We cannot simply push the docket through without thoroughly investigating them otherwise it will result in acquittals,” said Matanda-Moyo.

The Commission appealed to the public to discretely report incidents of corruption, and Matanda-Moyo said while many are assisting the Commission with making reports, investigations have been difficult as many fear reprisals.

She said she’s hoped that would change once laws protecting whistleblowers are implemented.

“So I'm really pleased that people are coming forward with reports of corruption, but perhaps what’s only lacking is the legislation pertaining to whistleblowers protection in Witnesses Protection Act. So once we get that legal framework in place I want to believe that our people would then be prepared to bring all the evidence that they have, because whilst they are reporting, some of them are not yet comfortable to come forward with information, without such protection,” said Matanda-Moyo.

According to Matanda-Moyo, the Commission is investigating about 1,000 cases, due to tips from the public.

The lawyer representing Gumbo, Selby Hwacha, said his client was not arrested, but was just questioned, but could not confirm whether he would appear in court on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe Cabinet Minister Faces Corruption Charges, More to Follow Says ZACC Chair
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Edited by Gibbs Dube, VOA Zimbabwe Service

South African captain Siya Kolisi holds the Webb Ellis Cup aloft after South Africa defeated England to win the Rugby World Cup final at International Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, Nov. 2, 2019.

Thando Makasi has always been a rugby fan, she says — a rare black supporter in a sport long associated with her country’s white minority.

But times are changing. On Saturday, South African rugby fans of all racial backgrounds cheered as a black player from her small, impoverished hometown, helmed the national rugby team, the Springboks, to a decisive 32-12 victory over England in a historic Rugby World Cup final.

And so, for Makasi, this was about more than just a game.

“This tournament has just brought so much hope,” she said in Johannesburg as she watched the match at a downtown restaurant with her husband and 17-year-old son. “... We really are rallying behind the Boks and we are one together, strong together. We are stronger together. That’s a win. That’s a win for South Africa.”

The win, many fans said, is reminiscent of the nation’s 1995 triumph at the same tournament. South Africa ended the racist apartheid system in 1994. The next year, the country’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, walked onto the pitch, wearing a green-and-gold Springbok jersey, to congratulate team captain Francois Pienaar. Their warm embrace showed this divided nation a path to racial reconciliation.

Siya Kolisi, the squad’s first black captain, was clearly aware of the implications beyond the pitch.

South African Rugby Captain’s Win Unites Divided Nation video player.
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“I’ve never seen South Africa like this,” he said after the final match, in Yokohama, Japan. “I mean, obviously in 1995, what the World Cup did for us, and now, with all the challenges we are having, the coach just came and told us the last game, we’re not playing for ourselves anymore, We’re playing for people back home.”

That’s a message that was heard loud and clear by fans in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and a melting pot of different races and nationalities. Many young black South Africans, affected by high unemployment and persistent inequality, acknowledge that Mandela’s dream of racial reconciliation isn’t quite complete.

But, says 28-year-old fan Madi Ramahuma, events like this help.

“In South Africa, it’s not about color,” she said. “Since 1994, we are just trying, eventually we’re getting there, just to be South Africans, But one thing I love about sports is it always bring us all together. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you have, what you don’t have, it’s sports.”

Even non-supporters agree. In this crowd, though, Nigel Ngwenya stood out — and not just because he plays rugby for the University of the Witwatersrand and weighs 120 kilograms.

Ngwenya, who was born in Zimbabwe and educated in South Africa, is an England fan, and wore their red jersey. But, he said, he gives the Springboks their due.

“They have that fighting spirit,” he said. “They’ve got that never-give-up, never die spirit. Whatever you bring to the table, they try to catch up and actually do better, which they’ve done in the past games.

"Siya Kolisi, ah, man — guy’s coming from far… It’s a shame I’m not supporting him. I’d have preferred him to play for England.” He laughs.

A newspaper seller poses for a photograph on Nov. 3, 2019 in Johannesburg with the banner headlines of South Africa's Rugby World Cup win over England on Saturday. South Africa beat England 32-12.

It was a strong and exciting match, with both tries scored by non-white players against a uninspired English team. For fan Devon Seoble and his friends, who are members of South Africa’s mixed-race community, that was icing on the cake.

“It obviously makes us feel awesome,” he said “I mean, coming from 1994, it shows how much the country’s grown, having a black captain, having an African black captain leading our team. It’s something brilliant, it shows the change, it shows democracy.”

By the final whistle, even Ngwenya — the England supporter — was a changed fan, swapping his red jersey for Springbok green. He laughed as he congratulated other fans, and Kolisi spoke to his excited nation, and to rugby fans around the world.

“We can achieve anything if we work together as one,” he said.

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