Calls are getting louder following last week’s reports suggesting that about US$3 billion that was meant to finance the Command Agriculture (2017-2018) disappeared through the system with authorities clueless on how the loss took place, calls for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to act on corruption have increased.
A local publication, the Daily News, has argued that Mnangagwa as a way of addressing the issue must bring to book all officials implicated in the scandal. It added that failure to address the matter risk bringing the notion that the rhetoric on a shift from the previous administration is all but not true.
Since ascending to power in 2017, Mnangagwa has been preaching his administration’s commitment to alleviating corruption which is deeply rooted in the country.
Analysts, however, think that the president has so far paid only lip service to the issue that demands real action.
The reports about the missing money come at a time when the country is importing grain from neighbouring countries. Ironically, the programme could have boosted the Agriculture sector by subsidising farmers.
The money, as Lands and Agriculture ministry permanent secretary Ringson Chitsiko, and Finance director Peter Mudzamiri revealed last week to the Public Accounts Committee, never reached the ministry.
The duo said:
_It’s actually us the ministry which told the Auditor about this figure. We were complaining about the whole system of paying on our behalf, and then asking us to adopt a figure which we might not know, without documentation._
The scandal brings back memories of the 2008 farm and mechanisation programme which also failed to yield positive results as beneficiaries and top government elites reportedly abused the equipment and money to support the programme.
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