In a statement read on his behalf by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibiusiso Moyo the fraud and corruption conference which occurred in Harare last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa stated that those convicted of corruption will go through both restitution and retribution as they were taking a hard stance on corruption.
This announcement suspiciously came after a press conference by the ZANU PF Youth League in which they claimed high ranking party officials and captains of industry were among the corrupt. They insisted that only those who manage to clear their names of allegations should be allowed to continue with their duties.
Zimbabwe has a disappointing record when it comes to dealing with corruption. The news of the moment will be the auditor generals report on state-owned enterprises which revealed that Air Zimbabwe has failed to account for 3 aeroplanes. We have seen many names being bandied about, arrests being made, trials or at least what looks like trials occurring to no avail.
Yet corruption is pervasive in Zimbabwe and it is not an understatement to say that every citizen has come across it as a willing or unwilling participant at least once in their lives. The rot is deep, our governance structures non-existent and our country all the worse for it. In light of this, the president said the government is also setting up a Whistleblowers Act to encourage those who report corruption and protect them.
ZANU PF has promised to move on those within its organization accused of being corrupt in response to the youth league but the question begs how they can self investigate and why the task is not rather carried out by law enforcement and the relevant courts? And this brings us full circle on the problem as the courts have also proven ineffective with corruption cases.
The systems are not working and corrupt practices have popped up as a result of inadequate systems. Corruption has rocked almost every public institution large and small scale. This the president has said is a reflection of the sophistication and complexity which the corrupt have employed.
The battle with corruption must ultimately start at the top of our governance structures. Without proper governance, we lack both the ability to see and the power to act on corruption. The president speaking tough on corruption is a welcome move but not one we haven’t seen before. We have a whole anti-corruption commission that has counted for nought and itself was fingered in being corrupt. Yes, crazy isn’t it?