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Zimbabwe Corruption Wanes

ZIMBABWE recorded the biggest jump of the 180 countries surveyed by Transparency International (IT) this year being ranked as the 34th most corrupt nation from the number 14 it was positioned last year, indicating a slight lessening of corruption.

TI said Zimbabwe was still ranked in a worrying position due to the breakdown of formal procedures and structures at most institutions that are operating in a recovering economic environment.

TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI) measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on different expert and business surveys.

The 2009 CPI scores 180 countries (the same number as the 2008 CPI) on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 10 (highly clean).

Zimbabwe, which was ranked overall 146th had a score of 2,2 on the CPI scale, from 1,8 last year.
The country’s confidence level was ranked between 1,7 to 2,8 out of the possible 10 marks from last year’s 2,5 to 2,7.

Commenting on the survey TI chair, Huguette Labelle said as the world economy begins to register a tentative recovery and some nations continue to wrestle with ongoing conflict and insecurity, it was clear that no region of the world was immune to the perils of corruption.

“At a time when massive stimulus packages, fast-track disbursements of public funds and attempts to secure peace are being implemented around the world, it is essential to identify where corruption blocks good governance and accountability, in order to break its corrosive cycle,” said Labelle.

Fragile, unstable states that are scarred by war and ongoing conflict linger at the bottom of the index. These are: Somalia, with a score of 1,1, Afghanistan at 1,3, Myanmar at 1,4 and Sudan tied with Iraq at 1,5.

These results demonstrate that countries which are perceived as the most corrupt are also those plagued by long-standing conflicts, which have torn apart their governance infrastructure.

When essential institutions are weak or non-existent, corruption spirals out of control and the plundering of public resources feeds insecurity and impunity. Corruption also makes normal a seeping loss of trust in the very institutions and nascent governments charged with ensuring survival and stability.

Countries at the bottom of the index cannot be shut out from development efforts. Instead, what the index points to is the need to strengthen their institutions. Investors and donors should be equally vigilant of their operations and as accountable for their own actions as they are in demanding transparency and accountability from beneficiary countries.

“Stemming corruption requires strong oversight by parliaments, a well-performing judiciary, independent and properly resourced audit and anti-corruption agencies, vigorous law enforcement, transparency in public budgets, revenue and aid flows, as well as space for independent media and a vibrant civil society,” said Labelle.

“The international community must find efficient ways to help war-torn countries to develop and sustain their own institutions.”

Highest scorers in the 2009 CPI are New Zealand at 9,4, Denmark at 9,3, Singapore and Sweden tied at 9,2 and Switzerland at 9,0.

These scores reflect political stability, long-established conflict of interest regulations and solid, functioning public institutions. Overall results in the 2009 index are of great concern because corruption continues to lurk where lack of transparency rules, where institutions still need strengthening and where governments have not implemented anti-corruption legal frameworks.

 

Paul Nyakazeya

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