Corruption needs to be tackled effectively

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission

IN today’s issue an article describes how a vehicle dealership is in the eye of a storm after failing to deliver 28 vehicles to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

This is despite receiving full payment in December last year. The vehicle supplier won a competitive tender to supply the Ministry of Industry and Commerce with 24 Toyota Hilux 4x4 vehicles and four Toyota Corollas in November last year.

Sadly such incidents have become commonplace under the much-touted Second Republic under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. This is despite the firm undertaking by the octogenarian leader when he came to power that eradicating such vices would be a key tenet of his presidency. He even fired the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission board in 2019 for incompetence and replaced it with a new board to fight corruption.

He also went further to form the Special Anti-Corruption Unit domiciled in his own office with the aim of improving efficiency in the fight against graft and to strengthen the effectiveness of national mechanisms for the prevention of corruption. Alas this has proved to be totally ineffective as corruption has continued unabated. Arguably, it has become even worse than it was under the former late president Robert Mugabe. One needs only to peruse through the reports by the Auditor General Mildred Chiri to see this. In Chiri’s report on the appropriation accounts, finance and revenue statements and funds accounts for 2021, she revealed shocking details of how millions of United States dollars and billions in local currency have vanished from government coffers due to accounting malpractices and breach of protocol, with no paper trail to back the spending.

The report exposes a number of entities with variances between figures in the financial statements or returns and corresponding or related accounting records.The variances totalled $3,2 billion.

Even the disabled have not been spared from the grip of graft that has permeated through government ministries and departments. Chiri revealed  that the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has been raiding the Disabled People’s Fund without the Treasury's knowledge.  This has prejudiced people living with disability already hamstrung by the government's failure to provide adequate safety nets. The sincerity of Mnangagwa’s government to effectively fight the scourge is brought into further doubt given that  Zacc is grossly underfunded thereby limiting its ability to eradicate corruption.

It therefore comes as no surprise that Transparency International has ranked Zimbabwe as one of the top countries with endemic corruption. Mnangagwa has pointed to the sanctions imposed by the United States under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act as the major cause of the country’s ills.

However the astounding levels of corruption, in which billions of dollars are being salted away annually, has resulted in the widespread belief that this vice is far more damaging to the country than the restrictions imposed by the US. Unless Mnangagwa effectively tackles corruption,  his vision of the country becoming  an  upper-middle-income economy  by 2030 will remain a pipe dream.

Related Topics