Without active collaboration and participation of police who then inform the judiciary, they won’t prosecute cases. The public is dying to see some people in jail, but how can they be when there are no dockets?
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) and the Swedish Embassy this week launched the Corruption and Cultural Dynamics in Zimbabwe Report 2018 as the corruption watchdog redoubles efforts to eradicate the scourge. Business reporter Melody Chikono (MC) interviewed TIZ board chairperson Richard Makoni (RM, pictured) and filed the excerpts below:
MC: You have launched the Corruption and Cultural Dynamics in Zimbabwe Report 2018, what are the main pointers?
RM: The main pointers are in the report, but some of the main pointers are that we have now normalised corruption into our day-to-day lives and have become part of our day-to-day societal lives. The report shows that, by and large, 85% of the Zimbabwean people know that it is wrong to engage in corruption and the clarity is there but they find and believe they have no choice.
So the report indicates that they are doing it but they know it’s wrong. Some said because some top people are doing it they could also do it while others say it’s the only way they can survive. But I believe to say that it’s our culture to be corrupt is wrong; we not corrupt people by nature.
MC: As TIZ, what is your major focus in terms of fighting corruption?
RM: We are part of a global coalition world over against corruption and Zimbabwe is a chapter in an international book against corruption. Our headquarters is in Berlin. Our effort is to highlight issues of corruption and how we are able to work with government in their effort to curb corruption.
MC: President Emmerson Mnangagwa has spoken a lot about the need to fight corruption .What do you make of his efforts?
RM: His efforts are commendable. Just to mention it is highly commendable as it is putting ideas into our minds. You will be amazed at the amount of mental freedom that we are beginning to have. We couldn’t do it before November last year, we are able to talk about corruption without fear and the discourse must continue. But I come back to the issue on how easily the president can work with our curriculum of development and put it as part of the ethics, part of the subjects for young people to start teaching people that its within their power to stop corruption, to question the parents if they are being corrupt. We can catch them young. To us, that’s a low-hanging fruit if there has to be a (school) subject on corruption, let it be taught.
MC: As a businessperson yourself, what can you say about the nexus between corruption and business in Zimbabwe?
RM: Corruption is expensive. It makes business long and winding, raising costs of production. It also gives unjust enrichment to other people, but can be shunned. I want to tell fellow businesspersons that you don’t have to be corrupt, you can say no to corruption as corruption makes business processes longer and it has an impact on the life of real things that you will be trying to do.
MC: You pointed out something about the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and public policy. How do the two relate?
RM: Zacc is there to highlight and unravel issues of anti-corruption at a national scale. But they have no powers to arrest once they have investigated. Police must step in and go deeper and put resources to issues unlike Zacc.
I would like to see a closer and better relationship between Zacc and the police to make things happen. Only when police do a good job can people be prosecuted. The judiciary works on the dockets and if they don’t there is no prosecution, you can see the value chain.
MC: So in short you are saying Zacc’s efforts remain fruitless as long as there is no collaboration with the police?
RM: Absolutely. Without active collaboration and participation of police who then inform the judiciary, they won’t prosecute cases. The public is dying to see some people in jail, but how can they be when there are no dockets?
MC: What is you comment on Zimbabwe’s international ranking on corruption and what do you think needs to be done to improve the country’s standing?
RM: Our ranking is very poor. It (corruption) has become endemic and a proper disease because we have accepted it as a way of life. We saw the research showing that we have accepted corruption as a way of life and justifying it. That explains our ranking, but I’m saying as Zimbabweans we can change it.
Naturally, Zimbabweans are very good, remember we have a pronounced sense of right and wrong based on that research. Let’s build on that strength and knowledge; we are not a loss cause to corruption. We know it is wrong, let’s proceed on that understanding and I tell you we will see improved results in next year’s rankings.
As TIZ we are saying to every citizen out there you have courage and power to say no corruption.
I’m coming to Zimbabweans and say we have got the choice and power to bring closure to corruption, our offices are open and you can report people engaging in corruption. We can’t do it on our own but with the collaborative effort of the government and police.
MC: Transparency International has been very visible. What do you seek to achieve with this anti-corruption drive?
RM: I wish more businesses were here (at yesterday’s launch of th corruption report). We wish to do more of these engagements targeting businesses so that they can make business costs cheaper by shunning corruption. It is not necessary. People feel they actually have to put aside funds for corruption which adds to business costs, making their products expensive and at the end of the day it’s the consumer who suffers. If we want our products and services to be cheaper we have to shun corruption.
Fact File: Richard Makoni
- Appointed board chairperson of Transparency International Zimbabwe in December 2017;
- Human resources specialist and business executive;
- LoriMak Africa CE for over 38 years;
- Consulted in 20 African countries;
- He has other interests in hospitality, trading and farming; and
- Graduated from the University of Zimbabwe.