OPPOSITION Mavambo Kusile leader, Simba Makoni has accused President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle of effectively encouraging corruption by failing to act despite numerous threats to clamp-down on the problem.
Makoni – a former politburo member in Mugabe’s Zanu PF party - formed a coalition with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of last year’s general elections won by the veteran leader.
In his New Year’s message, the former Finance Minister said: “Corruption remains endemic in all spheres of life.
“We hear loud declarations of `Zero Tolerance’ of it, by the highest public officer, and a coterie of others in high offices. In spite of threats of tough action against its perpetrators, nothing is being done to demonstrate the zero tolerance.
“On the contrary, everything that’s done shows maximum tolerance, if not active encouragement, of corruption.”
Speaking at the official opening of Parliament in September, Mugabe berated Goodwills Masimirembwa – who chaired the State-owned ZMDC mining firm - for allegedly demanding a bribe from an investor from Ghana.
But police have yet to act on the President’s order to arrest the losing Zanu PF parliamentary candidate despite claiming to have launched investigations.
Makoni meanwhile predicted a bleak future for the country.
“For the majority of Zimbabweans indications are that, life will remain as difficult in 2014, as it was in 2013; if not worse. There are no plans to revive agricultural production,” he said.
“Severe food shortages continue in almost all parts of the country. Whilst acknowledging the food crisis, and making statements that ‘no Zimbabwean will die of hunger’, the Government has yet to unveil concrete plans to save lives.
“The country was forced into a farce of a general election in July 2013. Even though they claim a ‘resounding victory’, Zanu PF and its government are completely lost over how to take the people of Zimbabwe out of poverty, fear and insecurity,” he said pledging to work with the Zanu PF government and civic society.
Makoni also accused Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa of failing to offer coherent policy proposals in his 2014 budget statement announced belatedly in December.
“The delayed national budget was presented and was a big let-down. In spite of all the rhetoric about it being `policy driven’, there are no rational, viable, coherent policies that can guide citizens, especially players in the economy, to plan for the future with clarity and confidence,” he said.
“The industrial sector continues to bleed, with a growing number of companies ceasing operations. As with agriculture, there are no plans to arrest the haemorrhage, let alone restore growth.”
Job losses in the formal sectors of the economy continue unabated, he said, adding that the country has been turned into “one big supermarket with products from other countries&rdquo.;