Mugabe must declare own assets first - anti-corruption network

Harare – The African Parliamentarians' Network Against Corruption has reportedly demanded that President Robert Mugabe declare his assets first before making it mandatory for all public officials in Zimbabwe to do so.

This comes a week after Mugabe, 91, said his government will introduce a law in Zimbabwe’s Parliament that requires senior officials to declare assets as part of measures to tackle corruption.

The network works to involve all regional parliamentarians in the fight against corruption.

"The scourge of corruption continues to rear its ugly head at all levels of our society," Mugabe was quoted as saying at the official opening of Parliament last week.

"A code of conduct will be put in place, in terms of which all high-level public office holders shall be required to disclose their assets upon assumption of office or to declare their interests on matters that may create scope for conflict of interest," Mugabe said.

'There is no seriousness'

Zimbabwe was ranked 156 out of 174 countries on last year's Transparency International index, which measures public perceptions of corruption in public institutions.

According to News Day, chairperson of the network Willias Madzimure said Mugabe must lead by example and declare his assets first as did his counterpart Namibian President Hage Geingob and wife Monica Geingob last year.

"This is just talk for publicity’s sake. Mugabe has been talking of corruption over and over again and issues of a code of conduct are not new... There is no seriousness to fight corruption and I can bet my last dollar that the National Code of Corporate Governance Bill will not be crafted by 2018," Madzimure was quoted as saying.

Critics and the opposition accuse Mugabe of turning a blind eye to graft, especially among his close allies and ministers, and say endemic corruption is one of the reasons foreign companies are not investing in Zimbabwe.

Western media claims that the veteran leader is a billionaire, having creamed off the country’s coffers over the 34 years he has led Zimbabwe.

His wife, Grace, however, claims the nonagenarian is the world’s poorest leader.

Mugabe and his family own what is thought to be one of the largest integrated dairy enterprises in southern Africa.

They also own a $20m mansion in the posh Borrowdale suburb of Harare.