ED mere Mugabe Clone

President Mnangagwa and his mentor, former President Robert Mugabe
President Mnangagwa and his mentor, former President Robert Mugabe

THE ‘new dispensation’, which in essence bears all of former President Robert Mugabe’s hegemonic structures, desperately guised under an Emmerson Mnangagwa administration, still manifests itself through local business cartels in which well-connected political big wigs in the private sector run the show and continue to benefit from a flawed, compromised and rotten-to-the-core system.

By Enock Gamatox

Diamond Tenders

With a loose procurement system in place, there are opportunities for abuse of tender processes through patronage and corruption. As a result, access to public contracts only serve as a means, in most cases, of financing the ruling political party and to reward political party supporters. This has been the case in most diamond mining tenders in the Chiadzwa fields, among others.

Zimbabwe Open for Business Mantra

Evidently, pronouncing that Zimbabwe is open for business is one thing, but in the absence of a headstrong political will, it becomes something else. Recommendations could be made, draft laws discussed, and position papers presented, but if no concrete action is taken to implement changes proposed, then Zimbabwe is only headed for a dead end. From the November 2017 coup to date, it’s almost eight months down the line, and still there is no sign of economic recovery except for rhetoric.

Pathetic Spoils System

While Zimbabwe appears to have some modern legal public procurement frameworks, some political bureaucrats lack the requisite knowledge of good procurement practices and procedures yet still occupy influential positions in procuring entities. The country inherited a procurement system based on the United Kingdom (UK) model, but it is the type of juridical instrument that is deficient.

There is need that reforms be put in place in that area in order to regulate the public procurement system. The UK historically managed public procurement by means of a set of regulations. This has, however, changed with most of the procurement in the now UK being governed by the European Union Directives on Procurement. But developing countries that have the UK based model like Zimbabwe have maintained this basic structure. This has proven to be problematic because such regulations apply mainly to central government. It leaves local authorities and state-owned enterprises in a position where they still need to create their own systems of procurement.

Lack of Consistency

In Mnangagwa’s administration, the flagrant abuse of the procurement system is largely because there is hardly any consistent enforcement of the rules and regulations. The procurement entities pretend to comply with procurement procedures when, in fact, they will be compromising the spirit of the rules.

Public officials and their accomplices severely compromise the systems, because they have no fear of retribution, if ever there is any. What is prevalent is advertising bids for a very short time so that just a few “potential” bidders get the opportunity to be considered. This reduces or starves off competition in favour of those already acceptable to the system who, it is possible, might already have had inside knowledge about pending bidding adverts well in advance. It is pathetic.

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