The Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, is on record as having once said that Zimbabwe wanted divine intervention to avert corruption when he was then the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. Corruption, a vice that has plagued humanity since time immemorial, is a cancer that has the capacity to eat into the core of national ethos if allowed to persist.
The Bible condemns it in Isaiah 1v4 where it says: “Ah, sinful nation; a people laden with iniquity, off-spring of evildoers, sons who deal corruptly. They have forsaken the Holy One of Israel; they are utterly estranged.”Indeed those who deal corruptly will never find favour in the Lord.
Corruption is destructive as it creates acrimony among siblings and friends leading to anger, poverty, despondency and frustration. This is especially so because resources are not distributed equally as a minority elite benefits at the expense of the majority. Government, which is the biggest loser, finds itself grappling to make ends meet as revenue that it is supposed to tap into miraculously disappears into the pockets of individuals. According to Transparency International, more than a quarter of the people worldwide paid a bribe when dealing with public service providers in the past 12 months with the police being the major culprit.
Yes, corruption is not a new phenomenon and the fact that it is rampant throughout the world is no excuse to condone or sugar it over.
It is the devil incarnate and should be dealt with before it brings our country on all fours. As posited by Chenjerai Hove in “Palaver Finish” (2002), “the decay of the body begins with a small part of it.” Therefore, corruption should not be measured in terms of proportionality, no; corruption is corruption. If a small cancerous part is not removed in time, it will eat into the whole body and when that happens it may be too late to undo it. Corruption is also like a venomous snake with a tail, body and head. Cutting out the tail may not destroy it and hitting it on the back will only incapacitate its movement but it will not destroy the venomous head which will still strike any unsuspecting target with so much vigour and ruthlessness. In such instances hitting the head will suffice.
The police are corrupt, yes, and civil servants are corrupt, it is true; but who really is responsible for fuelling that corruption? The Government! You may say that because of the pittance it gives them as salaries. And all those other Zimbabweans who are wallowing in abject poverty and earning far less than them, who will cushion them — who will mitigate their suffering? No, the Government is not entirely responsible. We Zimbabweans are responsible for our own suffering because we offer bribes and we do not give a hoot about others.
Every time gentle reader that you offer US$5 because you did not “remember” to renew your radio licence, your road levies or insurance premiums, you are robbing a family of a livelihood. Every time you bribe a police officer or any other civil servant for an offence that you are aware of instead of paying a fine, you are making it difficult for a fellow Zimbabwean to enjoy the fruits of justice. It may only be US$5 or US$10 today but tomorrow it may be $500, US$1000, US$10 000 or US$6 million. It is not the amount that you give that matters, it is the idea that is deplorable. You are no better than a robber that robs a man of his entire takings at gunpoint, condemning his family to crumps.
We pride ourselves in being a peace loving people, but there is no peace in destroying somebody’s livelihood. There is no peace in crippling your neighbour’s wife and children. There is so much violence in that, so much agony and despair, so much destruction. As a nation we do not really need divine intervention, neither do we need foreigners to tell us about the rot in our midst or preach to us how to stop it. The panacea lies in us.
We have suffered enough, and waiting in a queue to be served will not kill us; doing the right things like getting driver’s licences and paying our insurances as required by the law will not mutilate us, but corruption will do that and more.
If we all play our part and the Government plays its own by improving working conditions of its workers, decongesting public service departments and creating opportunities for whistle-blowers through necessary legislation, then corruption at all levels will be mitigated without fear or favour so that our beautiful country cannot always be in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
Our gains will come to nought if this vice is allowed to take root. Something needs to be done to avert the suffering of the masses of Zimbabwe who have been burdened by poverty for a long time and the time is now. Procrastination really, is a thief of time, for monochronic time, which is both tangible and impatient waits for no man.
As posited by Jim Bishop, “nothing is as far away as a minute ago” because, as Michael Forbes concurs, “there is never enough time, unless you are serving it”.
It is really those who are incarcerated who have plenty of time on their laps.
Riding on the crest of success after thumping the opposition in the harmonised elections of July 31, and relegating it to the annals of history, Zanu-PF should take it in its stride to deliver on its promises as there is no reason why its election manifesto complemented by the blueprint, ZimAsset, should fail to turn around the fortunes of our mineral rich country. But this can only happen if action is put where the mouth is; shunning individualism and avarice — the hallmarks of corruption, knowing that there are no sacred cows in nation building.
It is time really that the flower buds are seen on the fruit trees of Eden because, as espoused by Baltasar Gracion, “all that belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that.” Hence, the custodians of our time as a nation should not let us down by watching it ticking away without doing anything about it. More action, less talk is the way to go.