Politicised military derail development in Africa

Zimbabwe is among  African countries which have witnessed the involvement of the military in politics, rampant corruption and maladministration within government.

Corruption which generally has international links through illicit trafficking, money laundering and the extraction of rents from sales of national resources or international contracts and concessions has impacted heavily on the risks of violence and underdevelopment.

Grievances have been fuelled by the acts of corruption and undermining the effectiveness of national institutions.

Zimbabwe’s  Anti-Corruption Commission recently hauled about five legislators to court over the misuse of Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

The proceeds from the sale of Marange diamonds are not being accounted for by the responsible ministry and this has raised eyebrows and seen development lagging behind in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is among mineral-rich African nations that lacks any significant development because of the failure to account for sales of national resources, awarding of national contracts and mining concessions.

This has proved to be costly and resulted in risks of violence and lack of development.

Corruption has also been rampant within the police force, justice fraternity and the government officials.This has resulted in commuter operators clashing with police officers and magistrates being transferred.

World Bank director responsible Global Centre on Conflict Security and Development Joel Hellman told the Weekend Post during the presentation of the world development report on conflict, security and development of 2011 in Harare last week that corruption derails development in most countries.

“Most African countries are affected by high levels of corruption from senior government officials and others prominent figures which has impacted heavily on developmental projects. Things such as money laundering, extraction of sales from national resources and on contracts and mining concessions are executed corruptly in most cases,” said Hellman.

In Zimbabwe the issue of international contracts and mining concessions are largely marred by corruption as in the case of Anjin Investments at Chiadzwa and Marange

The proceeds from the sale of diamonds has caused a rift between Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu and Finance Minister Tendai Biti as the latter is demanding transparency on the sale of diamonds for the benefit of majority Zimbabweans.

Senator Obert Gutu who is also the deputy minister of Justice and legal affairs told the Weekend Post that corruption was the most lethal weapon against development and was now deadlier than HIV/Aids as it is striking from the root level.

Kenya also experienced the same fate when some of the ministers used the CDF money to marry extra wives and purchase luxurious vehicles.

Equatorial Guinea  President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been accused of looting national resources for his personal use, leaving the majority of his subjects in abject poverty.

Violence has been the order of the day in Zimbabwe and countries such as Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia, Sierra Leone.

Governments were recently overthrown in Libya and Tunisia due to the government leaders’ failure to account for the country’s natural resources and the need for regime change.

Police and the military in Zimbabwe are politicised and are a source of insecurity and also a tool used by an autocracy politically dominated by the ruling party.

The 2008 presidential elections were characterised by harassment and torture of civilians by military and police officers which caused a lot of clashes and violence throughout Zimbabwe.

Police officers and military forces should not be involved in politics as they will cause insecurity and trauma amongst the citizens.

During the run-off elections in 2008 military bases were set up in most parts of the country especially in rural areas where innocent civilians were being victimised and tortured.

Senator Gutu also castigated the military for dabbling in politics and said that a highly politicised military establishment is against democracy and good governance in Africa.

“Any functional democracy does not have an overtly politicised military and soldiers should remain in their barracks or at the battlefront if there is a war.

“Any soldier who would like to openly dabble in politics should first of all resign from the military and then join us in the melting pot of politics.

“A highly politicised military establishment is the exact anti-thesis of democracy and good governance affecting development and causing violence,” said Gutu.

Gutu told the Weekend Post that Africans should embark on a genuine, holistic and broad-based empowerment program when it comes to natural resources and minerals, different from the smash and grab so-called indigenisation policy that will drive the nations into total ruin.

Diamonds from Marange and Chiadzwa are largely being looted and privatised without any meaningful developments.

Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo are experiencing the same problem as well as countries like Libya, Equatorial Guinea among other host of mineral rich nations in Africa.

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