MUTARE – The levels of corruption in Zimbabwe have become so alarming that they are now affecting service delivery, foreign direct investment, the economic turnaround and social order, a top government official said recently.
Prosecutor General Kumbirayi Hodzi said this in the Manicaland capital Mutare, while officially opening an Anti-Corruption Court, the fourth such court in the country, following the commissioning of similar establishments in Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo.
“Everyone is agreed that corruption in Zimbabwe has reached alarming levels and is affecting service delivery, foreign direct investment, the economic around and social order,” said Hodzi.
“The cost of corruption ultimately, is development denied to our citizens and youths robbed of a brighter future.”
The PG added that the scourge of corruption had become a threat to the livelihood of people and choked the hopes and aspirations of the nation to extent that it undermined peace and security.
He said the anti corruption presents the country with an opportunity to advance the anti-corruption agenda as envisioned in the 2030 United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Fighting corruption is a global fight and Zimbabwe will not be left out,” said Hodzi.
Corruption, Hodzi said, eroded the people`s confidence and trust in the justice delivery system, as well as legitimacy of political, economic and other government institutions, adding that corruption cases were usually committed by sophisticated individuals, using sophisticated means, resulting in complex clandestine transactions.
Against that background, the PG suggested the need to capacitate judicial actors such as magistrates, judges, police, prison services and the Anti-Corruption Commission.
“It is for these reasons that all these justice delivery actors need capacitation and continuous skills training in order to combat corruption effectively. We also need an improvement in conditions of service to ring fence the personnel involved in stamping out corruption.
“Sophisticated crimes should be investigated using sophisticated means, sophisticated technology and high trained sophisticated personnel.”
Hodzi expressed the need for government to remunerate prosecutors, as most of them continued to use public transport or lifts from accused persons.
“That is a crying shame and opens up the Prosecutor to all kinds of interference, ridicule and lose of esteem and dignity befitting their esteemed office,” said the PG.
“They are the custodians of the system that we depend upon to stamp out corruption. They must have the proper tools of trade, from computers, the internet, furnished offices as well as clean and safe environment to work from.”
He added that combating corruption was not a simplistic but robust process that involved engaging the citizens at all levels.
“The citizens are the vanguard that holds the fight against corruption. We need to educate citizens about the evil of corruption, and the power that they have, to put an end to corruption. Zimbabwe will be corruption free the day our citizens refuse to pay for bribes for services that should be free from government officers, we will have won the fight, the day every citizen decides to live a life of integrity.”
Zimbabwe is the 160th least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in Zimbabwe averaged 123.48 from 1998 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 166 in 2008 and a record low of 43 in 1998.