Corruption causing misery, pain
INCESSANT calls by President Mnangagwa for Zimbabweans to put a halt to all forms of corrupt activities to walk the straight and narrow should be heeded by all progressive citizens if the country is to emerge from the murky economic waters.
Corrupt currency dealings, money laundering, abuse of office, demanding bribes, general mendacity and all other forms of graft have characterised the country’s economy spelling more misery and pain to the ordinary person, the unemployed and those that are honest.
His current pronunciation that there is an intricate network of currency speculators mostly in high places and in places of trust is evidence that he is aware of the goings on and is grounded in the truth and the troubles of the people. Corruption has in recent years been threatening not only the remaining vestiges of the country’s socio-economic order but has tattered its moral fibre leaving it threadbare and causing a severe economic retrogression whose effects are seismic and felt by many.
Corruption has become cancerous in both the private and public sectors of the country with politicians not spared by the rot either. It has become rampant almost embedded and an accepted way of life for the Zimbabwean society.
The extent to which it has spread is such that it can be engaged in openly despite the known legal consequences that have rarely been effected making it look very petty especially in most Government departments where people expect to get kickbacks for a job they are employed to do.
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) chair Commissioner Goodson Nguni said President Mnangagwa’s administration was serious and more determined to fight corruption than the previous administration as evidenced by the support he was giving to ZACC.
“We would like to thank the Government led by President Mnangagwa for supporting us. The previous Government failed to assist and support us and they were even refusing to fund our operations,” said Comm Nguni.
Acting Prosecutor General Mr Kumbirai Hodzi said they were going to act decisively on corruption cases: “Certainly, you are going to see highprofile cases being prosecuted. The public demands that and we demand that at the end of the day.
“The whole anti-corruption thrust, which has captured the imagination of the people, and what the President has said both at his first inauguration and when he ushered in the Second Republic was that the fight against corruption is going to be central to economic recovery. Frankly speaking, people are tired, people know very well that it is corruption which is causing things like potholes on the roads, shortages of goods, and it has to do with these corrupt syndicates. People are not fools, they want to see justice and corruption is going to be dealt with decisively and dismantled. People will be arrested and more will be brought before the courts soon,” warned Mr Hodzi.
Government waived a moratorium on recruitment to add 317 prosecutors. The NPA wanted an extra 653 prosecutors.
The economic dangers of corruption, no matter how small are so many. According to a market brief by the African Development Bank, corrupt practices distort markets and stifle economic growth and sustainable development including robbing countries of critically needed resources.
Corruption reduces efficiency and increases social inequality while capital has a strong tendency of shying away from risky markets where corruption is rampant. The increase in corruption cases in Zimbabwe has been repelling foreign direct investment which Zimbabwe so much needed to turn around its economy with allegations that Government and public sector bureaucrats are demanding bribes if an investor is to gain entry into certain sectors of the country’s economy.
This had an adverse effect of increasing the cost of doing business in the country thus frustrating and turning away investors in the process. As a result of damning reports of corruption, the competitiveness of Zimbabwe in attracting foreign direct investment is seriously compromised as foreign investors make use of global corruption indexes before they decide on where to invest.
Zimbabwe has been performing obscenely on the global corruption index while the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has often been referred to as a toothless barking bulldog as it has always been compromised and failing to prosecute politicians as a culture of impunity became serious. President Mnangagwa has however, pledged seriousness in dealing effectively with cases of corruption without fear or favour and without respecting political office.
“Reports and submissions before me on illicit currency dealings point to an intricate network of currency speculators mostly in high places and in places of trust. In a number of cases which have now been brought to Government’s attention, some of our guardians of the financial services sector have either not discharged their roles fully, or have not done so honestly,” said President Mnangagwa.
His committed voice is expected to add impetus in dealing a death blow to corruption and break the syndicates oiling corruption in the country. There however, seems to be a deep-seated culture of impunity that is stubbornly being perpetuated by some in high places that is hurting and thinning the moral fibre while excessively bleeding the national economy.
People are demanding a departure from the previous Government where the law was bended and applied selectively, where it became apparent that arrest and prosecution was reserved for the poor and not connected citizens while those with fat pockets could easily buy their freedom.
Political commentator and philosophy scholar Mr Jowere Mukusha submits that corruption is both a product and cause of poor governance and weak institutions, adding that it is one of the major costs and impediments to structural transformation in the country.
He said corruption in Zimbabwe was a phenomenon that was closely linked to poor society and argued that pressure to reduce corruption and move towards good governance was both necessary and desirable, but that those ends could not be achieved unless attention was also given to other governance capacities required for accelerating and sustaining growth. Mr Mukusha contends that corruption cannot be addressed without considering broader governance challenges and argued that it exhibits unique characteristics in small economies.
“There is need for serious political will in the fight against corruption in the country without which all the platforms to discuss it will remain talk shows without practical results to show for them. I am however, encouraged by the stance of Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa who has declared zero tolerance to corruption. The need to end corruption dovetails and feed into the re-engagement and the ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra that the country has been vigorously pursuing and popularising. It should never be the President’s fight alone but should be a serious signal of the trajectory that the country is pursuing,” said Mr Mukusha.
He said the Government should never dither in its fight against corruption and the culture of impunity to corruption that contributed significantly to the buckling of the country’s economy but should walk the talk and maintain the flick of hope in the minds of many. He added that the law should be impartial in its application and those that engage in the vice regardless of the office they occupy should be arrested and face prosecution.