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The Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff (administration), Major General Douglas Nyikayaramba, told parliament that corruption by some senior government officials was bleeding the economy.
Maj Gen Nyikayaramba’s comments followed serious infighting in President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF over a failed attempt by the anti-graft agency to arrest a minister accused of abusing public funds.
President Mugabe three weeks ago blocked the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) from arresting Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo over the alleged abuse of over $450,000 from a state manpower development fund.
Prof Moyo, a Zanu-PF strategist and one-time government spin doctor, says he used the money to bankroll ruling party activities.
The activities include President Mugabe’s 92nd birthday celebrations and his wife’s rallies.
Prof Moyo has accused Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and a faction in the ruling party of pushing for his arrest.
The army is said to be aligned to the vice-president in the battle to succeed Zimbabwe’s 92 year-old leader.
Maj Gen Nyikayaramba’s statements were being interpreted as support for the faction’s plot against a rival group linked to First Lady Grace Mugabe and where Prof Moyo is a key member.
« Corruption is a cancer, which is taking the nation backwards, thereby causing insecurity to the nation, » the general said.
« It is now a security threat because it is causing people to create mafia or alliances where if one is corrupt, he quickly asks for the help of other big names to protect him or her. »
President Mugabe’s second deputy Phelekezela Mphoko recently said a minister cannot be arrested for corruption if they channelled the money to Zanu-PF activities.
However, Maj Gen Nyikayaramba said the law must not be applied selectively.
« Do not look at the face of individuals or their positions when dealing with corruption because that will lead to disaster, » he said.
« If ordinary people see that nothing is being done to corrupt individuals, that will lead to disgruntlement and eventually instability. »
Zimbabweans have held several demonstrations this year calling on President Mugabe to resign for failing to stop graft.
The government eventually banned the protests, saying they were being sponsored by Western countries that wanted to topple the veteran ruler.
Copyright 2016 actualité africaine