SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda must be commended for hitting the nail on the head on the issue of corruption in this land, pointing out why Zimbabwe’s fight against corruption is heading nowhere.
At the moment we are no different from a dog chasing its tail as far as making any meaningful progress towards reining in graft is concerned.
“Zimbabwe’s sentencing regime of persons convicted of corruption is considered too lenient because of the option of a fine, while lack of legislation governing conflict of interest for civil servants needs scrutiny,” is Mudenda’s well-observed conclusion.
While applauding the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) for its hard work in the battle against corruption, Mudenda also nailed it when he reminded the commission and other anti-corruption agencies that “catching and releasing” corruption suspects only serve to perpetuate the moniker “toothless” now associated with all those involved in the fight against graft.
It helps a great deal if high profile individuals such as the Speaker of Parliament clearly point out these things because we have a major problem in this country whereby people and institutions are averse to criticism.
While criticism is good because it helps improve how things are done, it is sad that in this country it is regarded as taboo to criticise anything or anyone, especially if they are in positions of authority.
Therefore, when people like Mudenda decide not to mince their words on critical issues such as the corruption scourge, we are heartened; and for us in the media it gives us the courage, to keep on highlighting matters that are of major concern to the country’s development.
At the moment people and institutions (especially government) hardly appreciate the role of the media (being the critical eye of the State) simply because criticism has become taboo.
We can only improve as a nation if we critique each other.
It is also important that we listen, take note and act on criticism. This way we become better individuals. And in the long run we will build better communities, better institutions and a better nation.
As it is, Zimbabwe is failing to develop fundamentally because of corruption and has seen its resources looted left, right and centre. The country has lost billions of dollars through corruption and we cannot afford to keep on feigning to fight the scourge.
The natural resources we boast of are not infinite. At some point they will run out and what will remain will only be memories of the diamonds, the gold, the platinum, the coal, the chrome and even the wildlife.
And as we speak, corruption is decimating all these resources as individuals, organisations and even whole countries plunder them at will. Zimbabwe is at risk of being reduced to a mere shell by corruption before this decade comes to an end. If we carry on keeping quiet about corruption and fail to act on what Mudenda and others are saying, Zimbabwe will be a basket case by 2030.