The Second Republic of Zimbabwe has set anti-corruption as one of its major anchors of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme critical for giving vision 2030 a strong plinth to stand on.
In the background is the fact that the entire Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) resigned in January, giving the country a chance to recruit new commissioners. Last week President Mnangagwa invited nominations for new commissioners and 133 people were nominated.
Out of those, 16 have already been singled out as unfit to hold the office by the ZACC investigators, who handed over the list of those they felt are not competent to the clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda.
Well, 133 is not a bad number for the interest on national duty. The interest is good, if is meant to serve the country. But certainly the interest is bad if some of them are trying to go in to cover their backs or make money.
Suffice to say corruption is a very dangerous vice that has gripped our country and it is indeed a tall order to clean the country, hence the need for due diligence in the selection. Fighting corruption is not a stroll in the park. It is not for the weak and the faint hearted.
The Government needs to put in place safety nets to ensure that corrupt people do not get into ZACC. Expressing interest or being nominated by relatives and friends into ZACC alone is not enough, but a clean record and the depth and vision to fight corruption should be a prerequisite.
This is the time for Zimbabwe to move away from the rhetoric of anti-corruption and really go to thwart it by choosing the right people for the job. Corruption is a complicated issue. Corruption is normally done in a cordial manner, the actors are usually subtle and in agreement. Their intention is clear and well crafted.
We therefore need real men and women of record. We need real men and women with the tact, the zeal, the will power, the depth of character and the vision to serve the country and deal decisively with corruption.
There is real need to bring on board good natured and patriotic Zimbabweans to fight corruption. There is need to sift and sieve through these prospective commissioners and remove chaff from grain. It is not a self-serving job but critical national duty, especially when you consider that Zimbabwe has lost billions of dollars to corruption. Those billions would have been useful to nation building.
Detection, investigation and subsequent prosecution of people in corruption cases is a very difficult process that needs intelligent and principled people.
Wrong choices will only bring us back to the same level of corruption that we are bemoaning. Fighting corruption needs people who are not corrupt themselves. People who have the nation at hear. People who will put the country first and their own needs second.
Corrupt people by their nature are cunning and crafty. They easily want to get out of situations by buying their way out. This means the Government must go beyond appointing commissioners but put in place a compelling control and monitoring mechanism for selected commissioners as well so that they are not caught in the strong currency of corruption. Government must make sure those who are weak and susceptible or gullible should never make it to ZACC.
Zimbabweans in their broad totality need to have confidence in whoever is selected into ZACC. It is that confidence that will give all and sundry the reason to report corruption and corrupt tendencies. Once the nation has no confidence with ZACC officers, many cases will go unreported and it will work against the Second Republic’s anti-corruption drive.
Indeed this is a great opportunity for the country to get the right people and get the job done for the good of the country. Gone are the day when the fight against corruption remained mere rhetoric.
The time to act is now. The time to get the right people for the job is now. The opportunity is there and there for us to lose. Zimbabwe needs real and competent commissioners if the job is to be done. Let us all participate in ensuring that the right people take up the job at ZACC.