Name, shame cor­rupt of­fi­cials: Mad­zongwe

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Aux­ilia Ka­ton­go­mara Chron­i­cle Re­porter

THE pres­i­dent of the Se­nate, Cde Edna Mad­zongwe, has urged the me­dia and civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions to name and shame cor­rupt pub­lic of­fi­cials to fos­ter ac­count­abil­ity in the use of pub­lic funds.

She said the me­dia and CSOs must work closely to pro­mote trans­parency in the use of pub­lic funds through ex­pos­ing cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties in coun­cils and state in­sti­tu­tions.

Cde Mad­zongwe said this while ad­dress­ing a joint ca­pac­ity build­ing work­shop for jour­nal­ists and mem­bers of civil so­ci­ety in Bulawayo yes­ter­day.

The work­shop was or­gan­ised by the Par­lia­ment of Zim­babwe with the aim of ca­pac­i­tat­ing jour­nal­ists and civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions with req­ui­site skills to fos­ter ac­count­abil­ity when it comes to pub­lic funds, es­pe­cially in lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and State in­sti­tu­tions.

Cde Mad­zongwe’s call comes amid grow­ing con­cerns over ram­pant abuse of funds in such in­sti­tu­tions.

“CSOs and the me­dia must name and shame cor­rupt pub­lic of­fi­cials serv­ing in our lo­cal, na­tional au­thor­i­ties, as a pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sure to de­ter re­cur­rence of the same.

‘‘Our Com­mit­tee meet­ings, in­clud­ing those of the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC), are open to the me­dia. This has en­sured greater press cov­er­age, thus en­hanc­ing pub­lic aware­ness and stim­u­lat­ing de­bate,” she said.

Cde Mad­zongwe also en­cour­aged the PAC to work closely with the press and civil so­ci­ety for it to suc­ceed in ex­pos­ing graft and mal­prac­tices by pub­lic of­fi­cials.

“For Par­lia­ment to suc­ceed in ex­pos­ing capri­cious be­hav­iour and cor­po­rate mal­prac­tices, it must forge mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial al­liances and re­la­tion­ships with the me­dia and CSOs as these are the moral van­guards of so­cial and po­lit­i­cal ac­count­abil­ity,” she said.

“While the law pro­vides that the State and all agen­cies of Gov­ern­ment at ev­ery level are ac­count­able to Par­lia­ment, I be­lieve that we are all ac­count­able to the peo­ple of Zim­babwe and this is where the role of the me­dia and CSOs come in”.

Cde Mad­zongwe said par­tic­i­pa­tory democ­racy, which is en­shrined in sec­tion 141 of the Con­sti­tu­tion, de­mands that all in­ter­ested and af­fected par­ties must get the ear of Par­lia­ment when­ever they have is­sues they want to raise.

“Our re­vised Stand­ing Rules and Or­ders now have a sim­pli­fied pro­ce­dure of how to pe­ti­tion Par­lia­ment and ex­pect a re­sponse within 21 work­ing days to the pe­ti­tioner or pe­ti­tion­ers,” she said.

The Se­nate pres­i­dent said Par­lia­ment is cog­nisant of the im­por­tant role that both the me­dia and civil so­ci­ety play in con­nect­ing the leg­is­la­ture to its key stake­hold­ers, par­tic­u­larly the pub­lic.

“The me­dia is not only an in­dis­pens­able bridg­ing in­sti­tu­tion be­tween Par­lia­ment and the pub­lic, but must also serve as a ‘watch­dog’ against all kinds of fi­nan­cial mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion. How well the me­dia ful­fils these func­tions is vi­tal. Civil so­ci­ety on the other hand, does not just re­fer to non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions, but a body of ac­tive cit­i­zens, work­ing to­gether in many dif­fer­ent ways to solve the com­mon prob­lems of the peo­ple [of Zim­babwe] and to de­fend their in­ter­ests,” she said.

Cde Mad­zongwe chal­lenged jour­nal­ists and CSOs to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with the le­gal frame­work govern­ing fi­nan­cial re­port­ing by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

More im­por­tantly, she added, they must also an­a­lyse the Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s Re­ports and pub­li­cise them in the court of pub­lic do­main.

The Clerk of Par­lia­ment, Mr Kennedy Chokuda, high­lighted the le­gal pro­vi­sions govern­ing the run­ning of Par­lia­ment, the role of the me­dia in Par­lia­men­tary re­port­ing as well as the du­ties of the PAC. — @Aux­il­iaK.

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