By Anna Chibamu
CANDIDATES vying for posts in the soon to be constituted Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZAAC) have underscored the envisaged anti-graft body should be totally independent from State and political parties’ interference for it to effectively discharge its functions in a country ranked among the world’s most corrupt.
The candidates also bemoaned what they found to be high levels of incompetence and lack of knowledge by previous commissions.
This they expressed during public interviews held Friday by parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee which was presided over by National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda.
The aspiring Commissioners called on government to allow to make it possible for any future Commission to perform its duties free of any interference.
Retired Police Assistant Commissioner Jeffrey Mahachi bemoaned lack of competence during investigations by ZAAC officials.
“There is lack of inside knowledge as police who have the mandate to arrest is handicapped. Do we have competent investigators? No! Poor investigations have led to several cases being thrown away.
“ZAAC has not been that investigative. It has failed to get finer details of high profile cases to ensure whoever commits a crime is arrested and taken to court,” Mahachi told the committee.
Another candidate Matthew Kunaka had this to say, “We want the courts to Walk the Talk. Very few of any convictions have been achieved or done due to several reasons.
“There are no sacred cows. When one commits a crime, whether influential or ordinary, there should be justice. One should face the consequences,” Kunaka said.
Former MDC Harare West legislator Jessie Majome also said there should be a price to one engaging in corruption.
“There should be zero tolerance on corruption,” she said.
The former Justice Deputy Minister said justice “must be done and must also be seen to be done so that lost confidence in the public can be regained”.
“Consequences must be seen and heads must roll…” Majome said, adding, “Those who are charged to deal with issues of corruption must have freedom to actually address the issues that come before them.
“There is no point of having this Commission if its functions are ignored or undermined in curbing corruption.”
Former magistrate and Advocate Wilbert Mandinde also bemoaned government and political parties’ interference on ZAAC operations.
“Independence of the Commission is not so clear because of interferences. The Commission does not need to be influenced by government or political parties of the day,” he said.
Zimbabwe, ranked among the most corrupt nations in the world according to periodic global indexes, has been plagued by high and low level corruption with authorities often blamed for failing to take a firm stand against the crime.
Former President Robert Mugabe was very vocal about dealing with corruption but came unstuck when it came to taking real action to stamping it out.
Similarly, incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said all the write things about dealing with corruption but has done little in that direction.
Most people involved in acts of corruption are said to be closely linked to the ruling elite, aking it difficult for authorities to deal effectively with the scourge.