Cor­rup­tion caus­ing mis­ery, pain

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

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.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa

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