Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter—-
Zimbabwe has stepped up the fight against corruption, with stakeholders in the justice delivery system launching an anti-corruption green card that will be distributed to the public to promote the culture of whistle-blowing.The card was launched at the anti-corruption campaign dubbed “Against Corruption Together” in Harare yesterday. Officiating at the event, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who oversees the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry — castigated corrupt legal officials, saying not a single day passes without him receiving complaints against them.
“This difficulty stems from the numerous complaints that are lodged at my office against your offices regarding allegations of corruption. “Not even a day passes without receiving one or two complaints against members of the legal profession, the bench particularly at the lower courts, the sheriffs and even the Messengers of Court.”
VP Mnangagwa urged the legal profession to stand up and share the responsibility of combating corruption. “Corruption will be hard to beat and could even become more widespread if the legal profession maintains a business as usual mindset towards it. Corruption is not just a character problem or wrong behaviour, but it is both an economic crime and crime against humanity,” he said.
He said the launch was a turning point and also urged the media to play a key role in creating a culture of hatred against corruption in the society. “Corruption can be fought off when all of the players and stakeholders share the same commitment. Without such concerted efforts, we will not be able to eradicate the contagious disease of corruption,” the VP said.
The card is inscribed “O % NO CORRUPTION” and has contact numbers of eight stakeholders namely, Attorney General’s Office, Judicial Service Commission, Law Society of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
Also involved is the National Prosecuting Authority, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Judicial Service Commission acting secretary, Justice Rita Makarau said the public can access the cards from the stakeholders’ offices or at courts of law country wide.
If asked for a bribe, a member of the public will flash the card on the perpetrator’s face before calling the numbers provided.
Justice Makarau said it was everyone’s responsibility to fight corruption adding that justice was for free and no one should pay for it. Speaking at the same occasion, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku urged members of the public to shun corruption.
He said the public should report all incidents of corruption and avoid participating in bribery issues. “In my view, certainty of detection and arrest for corruption will go a long way in curbing corruption. If every person who wishes to commit the crime of corruption were convinced that the chances of detection and arrest are nine out 10, the probabilities are that he or she will step back or think twice before going ahead in committing the offence. In this regard we are looking up to the police and members of the public generally to provide leadership in assuring that this is achieved,” he said.