THE fight against corruption in Zimbabwe will remain abstract without genuine inclusion of all stakeholders, watchdogs have noted on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day commemorations.
In a statement to mark the day, which was celebrated on Saturday and ran under the banner: Uniting Against Corruption for Development, Peace and Security, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) implored stakeholders to unite in the fight against corruption in line with Article 13(i) of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
The article implores State parties to promote the active participation of individuals and groups outside the public sector, such as civil society, non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations, in the prevention of and the fight against corruption and to raise public awareness regarding the existence, causes and gravity of and the threat posed by corruption.
“Zimbabwe continues to fare poorly in various governance indices such as the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. It is ranked 157 out of 180 in the world with a score of 23 out of 100, against a regional average of 33 out of 100.
“Such low-level rankings and poor performances can be attributed to lack of coordination among institutions and poor implementation of anti-corruption legal instruments,” the organisation said.
TIZ said the shrinking of civic space was also hindering the fight against corruption.
“This is in view of the Private Voluntary Organisations Bill and the patriotic provisions in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. These pronouncements are a threat towards championing greater transparency and accountability in governance processes,” it said.
The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) expressed concern over rising corruption cases plaguing the country.
“The use of political connections to avoid the consequences of arrests and prosecutions has become a pervasive ill, as exemplified by the catch-and-release phenomenon,” Zimcodd said.
“The effects of this corruption are significant to the poor masses as witnessed through poor public service, poverty, lack of proper justice, increased unemployment, poor health and hygiene, low life expectancy, tenderpreneurship, decrease in investor confidence, unsustainable debt contraction and weak social protection.”
Zimcodd said to improve good governance and the fight against corruption, the government should strengthen oversight institutions such as Parliament to oversee public deals and debt contraction.
“Arrest and prosecution of high public officials and breaking of the catch-and-release phenomenon, … [should] ensure that those caught on the wrong side of the law [do not] influence … the political elite,” Zimcodd said.