Renowned business ethics professor Domènec Melé listed inefficient controls, slow judicial processes and downplaying or reacting mildly to corruption charges, as the causes of corruption.
The hypothesis of this tripartite virus that leads to the corruption cancer passed the test in Zimbabwe’s First Republic.
Inefficient controls were not an accident. They were part of a deliberate and sustained effort to prop up corruption with impunity.
Slow judicial processes frustrated whistleblowers by shielding corrupt Government officials from the long arm of the law.
Corruption was made to appear as too complex for local courts.
Lastly, public officials entrusted with the responsibility of arresting corruption would downplay or react mildly to corruption charges as a way of sweeping graft under the carpet.
In a bid to nip corruption in the bud, President Mnangagwa’s administration has gone out of its way to deal with the three subsets of the virus.
Legal reforms encompassing codes of conduct and the lifestyle audit are part of the new efficient controls aimed at dissuading public officials from engaging in graft. The principle now is “prevention is better than cure”.
The introduction of corruption courts, a new look Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and a Special Anti-Corruption Unit housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet are part of a number of efforts that have seen improved judicial processes. Cases are already being dealt with expeditiously. The downplaying or reacting mildly to corruption charges is now a thing of the past as President Mnangagwa has shown that he is a no-nonsense leader when it comes to corruption.
The ruling Zanu-PF has also heeded the President’s call with the Youth League producing a list of bigwigs alleged to be involved in corrupt activities.
The Youth League also demanded that President Mnangagwa take action against those accused of corruption without fear or favour. During a recent Zanu-PF Politburo meeting, President Mnangagwa assured the youth that he was going to address the issue by setting up a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations levelled against party bigwigs by the youths.
ZACC has also started on a positive note and should be supported by all Zimbabweans as it moves to cleanse the country of graft.
ZACC chair Justice Matanda-Moyo has promised to leave no stone unturned in a bid to fight corruption. True to her word, the corruption watchdog swooped on Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Prisca Mupfumira and she has appeared in court charged with swindling the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) of more than $90 million.
However, we have noted with dismay, efforts to politicise Mupfumira’s arrest as a Zanu-PF witch-hunt. ZACC is an independent constitutional creation meant to weed the country of corrupt elements and ensure that business is conducted in fairness.
Let it be known that ZACC is performing its constitutional obligation to combat crime. Therefore, those that were quick to say that the arrest of Minister Mupfumira is political should be educated about the country’s Constitution.
The fact that a politician has been arrested on corruption charges does not make the case political.
We urge Zimbabweans not to be hoodwinked by liars who are trying to politicise the war on graft. We urge Zimbabweans to focus on the bigger picture and not claims of factional politics being perpetuated by beneficiaries of graft.
Let the courts determine whether Mupfumira’s arrest was political or aboveboard. Let not the court of public opinion interfere with judicial independence.
In the media, we urge responsible reporting in line with the dictates of the profession. There is no need to plant seeds of mistrust and factionalism.
We trust our systems and we trust our Constitution which protects all Zimbabweans, even criminals.