The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana has accused Alex Tawanda Magaisa, a law lecture in the United Kingdom, of deliberately removing some names from the list of beneficiaries of the farm mechanisation programme of 2008.
Magaisa who is also the former Chief of Staff in the office of Zimbabwe’s former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, had, in his Big Saturday Read posted a list of the beneficiaries of the programme who did not repay the loans.
The loan was later assumed by the state which means the taxpayers’ money was to be used to clear the debts of “financially sound” individuals. Mangwana responded to the blog saying:
The fight for public accountability should never be seen as a political tool. When lists of beneficiaries of State programs are published with some names deliberately redacted, then the exposé betrays its nefarious intent. The act of redacting certain names in itself is corrupt.
Some have protested that the list shared in the first BSR was incomplete. I acknowledge this criticism but also point to the fact that the BSR never made suggested that it was complete. It is in part a reflection of the information available to us and partly because of the thematic categorisation which we used for the data – hence judges, commissions, the clergy, etc. Some of the individuals who have excited people by their so-called “exclusion” might fall in a different category, which best describes their role. There are also some obscure entities whose details are still the subject of on-going verification, and details of one province are missing. We have worked with what we have. I have neither the need nor desire to protect anyone.
He added that there was no “no cherry-picking or nefarious plan” apart from the public interest to uphold the constitutional values of transparency and accountability.
Magaisa urged those who have the full list to furnish it to the public so as to fill the gaps in his blog.