THE corruption epidemic bedevilling our nation needs practical action for us to rescue the country’s declining economy. In the recent months we have read a lot of stories about corrupt activities in various parts of the economy. But up to now the generality of the public is awaiting anxiously to find out the practical steps which will be employed to deflate and curtail these vices in our society.
What really is being done by the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Unit to curb this scourge which is depriving the Government of revenue? Isn’t it prudent for the nation to open toll free hotline numbers dedicated to receive tips on corruption? This would enable us all to participate actively in exposing these evils and empowering law enforcement authorities to apply suitable measures to assert justice.
President Robert Mugabe declared zero tolerance on corruption while officially opening the first session of Zimbabwe’s 8th Parliament in Harare on September 17, 2013. He vows zero tolerance on corruption in the civil service and all arms of government. He warns that his new Zanu PF Government will crack down on high-level graft. “… High-level corruption is costing the government dearly in terms of funds, and lost opportunities as programmes and projects are never finished. The law will descend heavily on those who abuse funds,” President Mugabe said.
Corruption is defined by the World Bank as, “the abuse of public office for private gain.” The ugly face of corruption is the abuse and plundering of public resources to enrich or give unfair advantage to individuals, their families or their friends at the expense of the national interest. It covers a wide range of matters which embrace the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, misuse of entrusted funds, theft, fraud, nepotism and favouritism among other vices which grossly violate the society’s modus operandi as well as the law.
Referring to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which the Government introduced in 2010, the President reiterated that, “Parliament would debate a new law governing the fund to plug loop-holes that led to the abuse of the facility during the past few years.” He revealed that a new Anti-Corruption Commission would be constituted, with its constituent members expected to declare their personal assets. Numerous Members of Parliament were probed in 2011 after it emerged that some had misappropriated CDF allocated to them for constituency development.Advertisement
President Mugabe pledged that there will be a Constituency Development Fund Bill to be debated by the 8th Parliament soon. The Bill, once passed into law, will make it mandatory for members of Parliament to account for the CDFs entrusted on them by the government for developmental programmes in their respective constituencies.
The President’s hard stance on corruption is in tandem with the ruling party’s policy as defined by a resolution crafted by the Zanu PF 14th Annual Conference held in Chinhoyi, December 2013 that, both the party and Government should implement zero tolerance against corruption in all spheres of public and private life. This is also clearly spelt out in the Zanu PF election manifesto for July 31, 2013 harmonized polls. Cde Mugabe is determined to fulfil the wishes of the nation in rooting out corruption.
President Mugabe insisted that stringent measures to uproot corruption, and to ensure accountability, and service delivery from all arms of government, which include ministries and Parastatals will be put in place to regulate, and monitor all operations closely for the good of the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Chief among these would be the introduction of a results-based management system where government entities are required to submit reports and to be subjected to routine inspection for checks and balances to keep them on the rail.
This new system will require heads of Parastatals to periodically sign performance appraisals to improve their management of national strategic assets they lead so as to ensure maximization of their contribution to national development, economic recovery and growth. The relevant structures ear-marked to curtail the spread of corruption would be bolstered through the establishment of the National Prosecution Authority as prescribed in the new Constitution, the president said.
This new independent body is set to take over the functions which were previously performed by the Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Office. The composition of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission will also be re-aligned to the provisions of the new Constitution, while Anti-Corruption Commissioners will be required to subscribe to the highest levels of professionalism, adhere to a strict code of ethics.
Civic society is equally impressed by President Mugabe’s stance on corruption. The Director of Transparency International Zimbabwe, Mary-Jane Ncube, said her organisation was pleased with the President’s declaration of “zero tolerance” towards corruption, but she urged for suitable action to follow. “President Mugabe’s announcement that there will be zero tolerance to corruption is welcome and deserves everyone’s support to ensure that the scourge is contained and/or completely eradicated. We also welcome the planned, independent National Prosecuting Authority which should hit the ground running,” Ncube said.
The President reflects an unwavering position that his Government will not tolerate corruption. He charges that, “No matter how powerful someone thinks he is or how many friends he thinks he has in Government, corruption allegations will be investigated and the truth found. And if those allegations are proved, then the person will no doubt go to jail.” His pronouncement is the best spring-board which can catapult the propensity of the law enforcement agencies and officers that they are reinvigorated to pursue the hunt knowing that even corrupt elements who believe that they are best-connected will not be spared. No scared cows whatsoever! The law will take precedence over all odds! President Mugabe said the net is closing in on all such perpetrators. Their hay-days are gone!
Hats-off to His Excellence, President Mugabe for declaring war on corruption! Let us all work together to defeat corruption by saying ‘NO’ to it, and reporting it to the law enforcement authorities. The solution to this vice begins with you and me! Corrupt elements deprive us of our national heritage and pride. A culture of hard work, sense of responsibility, transparency and accountability should extricate us from this predicament of stunted growth owing to unbridled plundering of national resources by a few individuals who are selfish.
Fighting corruption is the most prudent aspect for any society as declared by President Mugabe. Let’s rally behind President Mugabe to defeat corruption now! To Hell with corruption!