Desmond Munemo Correspondent
Corruption is identified as a serious threat to the economy costing the country billions of dollars and derails development in all systems of government.
In Zimbabwe, it could be slowing progress towards the attainment of our vision to become an upper-middle income economy by 2030.
The Chinese key to success is perseverance in anti-corruption efforts, stress against economic crimes and making a long-term commitment in the fight.
The ever rising interest and curiosity of China’s governance policy and socio-economic success brings to attention the need for Zimbabwe to pursue the same path in establishing a long-term anti-corruption drive.
Likewise, Zimbabwe’s solution to the socio-economic challenges also lies in the determination and perseverance in weeding out corruption as outlined by President Xi Jinping’s “The Governance of China” narrative.
The Chinese government made a resolution at the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress to combat and prevent corruption in a more scientific and effective way. The President of China leads his people in confronting the problems and challenges facing the nation.
Arguably his most famous quote regards his approach towards corruption where he says; “We should continue to catch ‘tigers’ as well as ‘flies’ when dealing with corruption cases”.
The scale of China’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign is truly remarkable.
Over the past seven years, more than 1,5 million officials have been sanctioned as part of the crackdown, ranging from village committee members to some of the country’s most powerful bureaucrats.
Combating corruption in China was initiated by increasing the ability to handle cases for deterring corrupt officials.
Secondly, by improving the work style of officials and prohibiting them from enjoying special privileges, and promoting moral behaviour among them.
Thirdly, ill-gotten gains should be recovered and lastly, reforming the economic and political system to reduce corruption opportunities.
President Xi said the more complicated the situation, the more need to instil discipline.
Most of the officials investigated were removed from office and faced accusations of bribery and abuse of power, although the range of alleged abuses varied widely.
Chen Wanshou, a village accountant from Beijing, was found guilty of embezzling 119 million yuan from state coffers. Chen’s is just one of a number of high profile cases to have attracted widespread public attention and reprobation.
President Xi acknowledged his party as large and sound, but also prone to misconduct and corruption and yet maintains a clear stand against corruption.
Corruption is evident in any state regardless of achievements or success. America, China, South Africa all experiences the same circumstances.
In the Governance of China compendium, Xi Jinping lays out concrete plans on some major issues concerning comprehensively continuing China’s reform.
He lays out plans for promoting innovation in the anti-corruption mechanisms and institutions, and strengthening institutional guarantees in an effort to build a clean and honest government and combat corruption.
Leading the CPC, President Xi implemented a feasible accountability system, implored the process of reforming and improving the functions of anti-corruption coordination groups at all levels, and leaving the investigation of corruption cases mainly to commissions for discipline inspection of higher levels.
Simultaneous reporting of the related investigation process to the CPC party leadership was cited as a key undertaking as well as ensuring that the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in the anti corruption commission despatches resident discipline inspection agencies to the central-level departments of the party and the government.
This was done to improve the discipline inspection system at both levels, so that it covers all regions, all sectors, all enterprises and all public institutions.
The CPC led by President Xi has opened trials to promote justice and transparency. We should take the initiative in making trials open and invite oversight to render manipulation and judicial corruption impossible.
China strengthened reform in areas prone to corruption, improved institutions and systems to reduce loopholes to an absolute minimum, and eliminated breeding grounds for corruption through further reform.
This is the path which Zimbabwe should follow in the fight against corruption.
“China development faced a series of prominent dilemmas and challenges, and quite a number of problems and difficulties on its path of development: Unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development remained a big problem.
“We are weak in scientific and technological innovation. The industrial structure is unbalanced and the growth mode remains inefficient. The development gap between urban and rural areas and between regions is still large, and so are income disparities,” says President Xi.
He cites social problems affecting the people’s immediate interests in education, employment, social security, health care, and housing, the ecological environment, food and drug safety, workplace safety, public security, law enforcement, administration of justice.
“Some sectors are prone to corruption and other types of misconduct, and the fight against corruption remains a serious challenge for us. To solve these problems, the key lies in continuing the reform,” reiterates President Xi.
The CPC Central Committee encouraged all public and private sectors to improve working practices by opposing formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance.
It served as a focus for combating corruption and upholding integrity, as well as a starting point for consolidating popular support for the party’s governance.
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) set up by President Mnangagwa is by all means the foundation and a big step to combat and prevent corruption.
Upon taking office, in his inaugural speech in November 2017, President Mnangagwa reiterated the need to undo nearly four decades of corruption that had contributed to the country’s economic collapse.
“As we focus on recovering our economy, we must get rid of misconduct and acts of indiscipline which have characterised the past,” he said.
“Acts of corruption must stop forthwith. My administration declares full commitment, warning that grief awaits those who depart from the path of virtue and clean business,” Mnangagwa said.
Lately, ZACC has received more than 200 cases of corruption since the appointment Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo as chairperson in May.
Justice Matanda-Moyo revealed that the commission is investigating corruption-related crimes emanating from a varied spectrum of the economy and arrests will be affected.
Government says the ongoing anti-corruption drive is not just a talk, but a continuous operation running until the scourge of corruption is eradicated.
Government implores citizens to be patient with both the renewed ZACC and the courts.
Further, Government says citizens should not expect everyone arrested to be jailed right away without being afforded a chance to defend themselves in court in line with the Constitution. Corruption involved sophisticated and wealthy individuals who make every effort to wipe away their tracks, making the job of investigators difficult.
The principal agency ZACC must be empowered and supported so that it is able to enforce regulations without fear or favour for a better Zimbabwe.