“This morning we all woke up to newspaper headlines about Zivanai Macharaga, one of the Prosecutors in the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU). Allegations of bribe taking were made in a Court of law during proceedings of a matter that he was not prosecuting or a party to, in which former Minister Chidakwa is facing corruption charges.
As I was driving to work, the newspaper banner that first caught my eye was the yellow Newsday one which read “Anti-Graft Prosecutor in Bribery Storm.” The newspaper carried this story on page 2 under the same headline. Not to be outdone, The Daily News carried the same story under the headlines “Special Prosecutor demands $20,000.00 Bribe.”
Zivanai Macharaga does not own a newspaper, nor does he have any friends in the media fraternity who are willing to put his side of the story in the newspaper so I have taken it upon myself to inform those I can reach through this platform about this man. I am sure that a more formal response on this issue from the appropriate office will be made in due course.
I have known Zivanai Macharaga since June 2018 when we were both appointed to the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU). Zivanai is a lawyer in private practice who is self-employed. During the six months that I have worked with Zivanai I have found him to be a man of integrity whose dedication to duty and service to his country is far beyond question. As a self-employed lawyer Zivanai has forgone the opportunity to generate income for himself by dedicating a substantial amount of his time to the work of prosecuting accused persons who have been charged of corruption related matters.
He has done this under very difficult circumstances characterised by a hostile environment and determined push back efforts by the corrupt in our society who are ably aided by their associates and cheerleaders. Zivanai was the first Prosecutor in Special Anti-Corruption Unit to take a matter to court when he prosecuted Wicknell Chivayo in August 2018 and successfully applied for Chivayo to be remanded in custody. Zivanai has emerged as the busiest Prosecutor in SACU , handling many cases including the corruption case against former Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. Any objective observer will attest to his competence in the manner in which he has handled matters in court. There is not a single decision Zivanai has made in court that would justifiably attract the minutest dose of criticism. He is a man of integrity.
As the Head of Special Anti-Corruption Unit I have been humbled by the sheer magnitude of dedication to duty that Zivanai Macharaga and his colleagues have displayed in the last six months. One of the officers Micheal Chakandida another self-employed lawyer, travels from Chinhoyi almost on a daily basis to handle corruption cases, which he does with fierce determination and unquestionable integrity. The team that I head has answered The Honourable President Emmerson Munangagwa’s call to fight corruption and we shall continue to do so regardless of the obstacles thrown in our path.
An Advocate has made allegations of corruption against Zivanai Macharaga which some sections of the press have covered in a manner that is devoid of fairness. In my view the headlines of the press articles that I have referred to above induce in the reader a sense that there is substance to these allegations. The allegations themselves are vague, providing no detail as to when this bribe was solicited and from whom this solicitation was made. Macharaga was not part of the Court proceedings where these allegations were made against him and the real story of concerted attempts by the Advocate to delay the commencement of the trial against Chidakwa is only found in little snippets in the articles carried by both The Newsday and The Daily News. The prerogative to choose newspaper headlines and what to put in articles is entirely the newspaper Editors’ but one would have thought that fairness would have demanded that Zivanai Macharaga’s side of the story be elicited and included in the articles. That this was not done means that Macharaga was subjected to gross unfairness. I know that newspapers would in their defence state that they merely reported on court proceedings but the fact that Macharaga was not part of the proceedings, taken together with the vagueness and seriousness of the allegations made would have surely led a fair minded reporter to seek a response from Macharaga.
That notwithstanding, I invite my fellow Zimbabweans to join me in asking the Advocate to make a full disclosure of the facts that are known to him to the public including his sources in the interest of transparency. That way, the real charlatans will be exposed.
Finally I call upon all Zimbabweans to embrace The Honourable President Emmerson Munangagwa’s fight against corruption. The corruption scourge affects all of us who live in this country regardless of our political affiliations. Let us all join whole heartedly in the fight against corruption, whatever our political objectives and inclinations are. Let us all join hands in naming and shaming the corrupt in our society so that they are prosecuted in our courts of law.
In conclusion I would like to request the full support of all media houses, regardless of their political views and inclinations, in this very difficult noble task of fighting corruption.
It has been said that sport is the known sphere in which people of different political persuasions, religions and lifestyles find unity. I propose that, for the good of our nation, the anti-corruption fight becomes another sphere where we all speak with one voice despite our different political views and ideological leanings”