According to an online encyclopaedia, the word corrupt when used as an adjective literally means “utterly broken”.
Candid Comment Brian Mangwende
The word was first used by Aristotle and later by Cicero (Roman philosopher) who added the terms bribe and abandonment of good habits. Corruption is also described as the illegitimate use of public power to benefit a private interest.
Petty corruption occurs at a smaller scale and within established social frameworks and governing norms, while grand corruption occurs at the highest levels of government in a way that requires significant subversion of the political, legal and economic systems.
On the other hand, systemic corruption or endemic corruption is primarily due to the weaknesses of an organisation or process.
Corruption levels are perceived as remaining extremely high in Zimbabwe with the country being ranked 157 out of 177 surveyed states in the 2013 corruption perceptions index by Transparency International.
Of all Sadc member states Zimbabwe has the highest ranking, suggesting it is the most corrupt country in the region.
That has to change for the country lost about US$2 billion to corruption in 2012 as attested to by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, prompting the tax collection chief Gershom Pasi to urge citizens not to leave the fight against graft to the government alone.
Even President Robert Mugabe, long perceived as tolerating corruption among his loyalists, joined the fray last year, calling upon whistleblowers after his July 31 elections triumph to come forward with evidence of corrupt deals and names of culprits so the law could deal with them accordingly.
This year must witness action rather than rhetoric. It would be prudent for Mugabe to carry out his threats to effectively punish perpetratorsg and refrain from merely exciting a public exasperated by cheap talk.
The scourge of corruption has spread like cancer across all sectors of the economy including the public and private sectors.
But the US$64 000 question is how does Mugabe and his government deal with this menace?
While an anti-corruption commission was established in 2011, it has largely remained a lame duck because it has been rendered dysfunctional by politicians.
Below are a few tips to combat corruption for Mugabe gleaned from various sources:
Stronger rules and procedures to stop nepotism, favouritism and awarding of contracts to people who do not deserve them.
A toll-free anti-corruption hotline where incidents of corruption can be reported anonymously.
Investigating units like the Special Investigations Unit in SA to root out corruption in the public sector.
Laws to protect whistle-blowers
Training for all public servants on code of conduct, ethics and corruption.
Prosecution of all offenders and blacklisting of people who have been found guilty.
It’s no longer the time to make empty threats. The ailing economy is bleeding from the scourge of corruption.