The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has urged churches to encourage congregants to blow the whistle on any suspected cases of corruption and put pressure on issues pertaining to improved accountability and transparency in public institutions.
This was said by ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo while addressing the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) for Church Leaders workshop in Harare last week.
She said given that the majority of people belong to a religious group, corruption should not be on the upward trajectory.
“Pastors should be setting good examples to their congregants by not indulging in corrupt activities such as bribing officials to obtain land to build churches and accepting suspicious tithes,” said Justice Matanda-Moyo.
“We encourage blowing the whistle on congregants that pay suspicious tithes. In addition, when a congregant confesses to have committed a criminal offence to the pastor/bishop/elder, the church should be part of the rehabilitation process of the offender by providing an alternative route when dealing with matters involving corruption related offences.
“Encourage congregants that confess to return the stolen money.”
Justice Matanda-Moyo said the country was facing its biggest challenge of corruption which had not only destroyed the moral fabric of society, but undermined the confidence of the people in public institutions and destroyed livelihoods.
She said the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) was launched by President Mnangagwa two months ago and was premised on the spirit and principles enshrined in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
Justice Matanda-Moyo said NACS had strategic objectives which will be expected to be realised through actions, activities and interventions.
“It then puts the church at a critical position in the sense that the church should be more than just entertainment,” she said. “The church must return to its rightful place in society of influencing behavioural change amongst the citizens of this country.
“I have no doubt that senior Government officials, civil servants, members of independent commissions, local authorities and even officials in the private sector are church members to various denominations which are ably led by pastors here present.
“It is, therefore, the role of the church to pray for us as leaders. We are gathered here today as men of God, pastors, reverends, bishops etc. What have we done in contributing in the fight against corruption?
“How many of our church members have returned any stolen money following confessions made to the pastor? How many pastors have reported a suspicious transaction? How many congregants have been arrested and imprisoned for corruption related offences as a result of blowing the whistle by church members?
“How many outreach programmes for the youth, men and women have we had where we have included issues relating to corruption? These are some of the questions that should be addressed as you deliberate on the role of the church in NACS.”
Justice Matanda-Moyo said she looked forward to working with all church leaders in the implementation of the NACS for a better and prosperous Zimbabwe.