02 January 2024, The Tablet

Zimbabwean bishop condemns corruption at installation

The country faces a worsening economic crisis despite its vast natural resources, as huge quantities of minerals are plundered.

Zimbabwean bishop condemns corruption at installation

Graffiti attacking President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government in 2020.
Associated Press / Alamy

Zimbabwe’s newest bishop has condemned corruption in the country and the lack of effective action to fight it.

Bishop Raymond Tapiwa Mupandasekwa CSSR of Masvingo spoke at his installation on 10 December, following a series of scandals that have cost public funds but have not led to any high-profile arrests.

Government critics say Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has shown little commitment to confronting criminal syndicates.

Recent months have seen widespread reports of corruption with cabinet ministers, senior politicians, high-profile business persons named in scandals costing millions of dollars.  Zimbabwe faces a worsening economic crisis despite its vast natural resources, which include gold and diamonds, as huge quantities of minerals are plundered, according to researchers.

Although the government has declared a zero-tolerance policy on corruption, this has not led to effective action, with critics noting that politically connected individuals named in corruption cases have escaped the law.

Observers have accused Zimbabwe’s Catholic bishops of failing to speak out against mounting economic hardships and their causes after threats to the Church from Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party, but 53-year-old Bishop Mupandasekwa used his installation in Masvingo to demand action.

“We must value justice and denounce all forms of corruption, both within and outside the Church,” the bishop said.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported that individuals close to Mnangagwa had inflated the price of medical supplies and defrauded the government of millions of dollars in public funds. No one has been prosecuted for the

The Zimbabwean Catholic Bishops’ Conference has condemned corruption and human rights abuses in pastoral letters in the past, but government officials have repeatedly warned the bishops to stay out of politics.

Local priests have also reportedly shied away from publicly addressing the country’s political and economic crisis, amid reports that government spies sit through Sunday homilies to monitor what the priests preach.

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