BY PRIVILEGE GUMBODETE
TRANSPARENCY International Zimbabwe (TIZ) director Tafadzwa Chikumbu has urged government to reform its anti-corruption institutions to enhance their autonomy, and to enact whistle-blower protection legislation in order to effectively deal with graft in the country.
Chikumbu’s statement comes soon after the Transparency International 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which was released on Tuesday, ranked Zimbabwe poorly, at number 157 out of the 180 countries.
The TIZ director said corruption could only be effectively curbed in the country if anti-corruption institutions were well-resourced to detect and sanction wrongdoers.
“Public oversight and enforcement agencies such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), the National Prosecuting Authority and the Auditor-General’s Office need to be independent, well-resourced and empowered to detect and sanction wrongdoing,” he said.
“The Parliament of Zimbabwe and the courts should also be vigilant in preventing Executive overreach.”
Chikumbu said enactment of whistle-blower protection legislation should be speeded up.
“The government of Zimbabwe should expedite the enactment of the whistle-blower protection legislation to ensure the protection of those who make reports in line with United Nations Convention against Corruption.
“The government must fulfil its commitments to national, regional and international frameworks including spending, and the 2021 United Nations General Assembly Special Session to include anti-corruption safeguards in public procurement. Maximum transparency in public spending protects lives and livehoods.”
He said the 2021 CPI was produced at a time when government proposed to enact the Private Voluntary Organisation Amendment Bill, which violates the freedoms of assembly and association and impedes citizens’ participation in governance issues.
“This, in the long term, will affect citizen’s participation in governance processes and holding duty bearers to account,” Chikumbu said.
“Therefore, respecting human rights is essential in controlling corruption as empowered citizens have the space to challenge injustices.”
Last year, Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo admitted that the country’s global index ranking was affecting its ability to attract investors.