BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption commission (Zacc) yesterday said the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers Bill), whose principles were approved by Cabinet on Tuesday, would help the country fight corruption by giving informers confidence to expose graft without fear.
Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo told NewsDay that the proposed whistleblower law will be a great achievement in the fight against graft.
“It’s a great milestone in the fight against corruption. We have been seeing victimisation of witnesses after they would have either given information to Zacc or testified in court. That was derailing the fight against corruption as most witnesses were no longer willing to come forward without that protection,” she said.
“So we view that as a sign of political will to fight corruption and that will also give confidence to our whistleblowers and witnesses to come forward knowing that after whistleblowing or testifying, they are protected,” Matanda-Moyo said.
She said whistleblowers and witnesses were key enablers in the fight against corruption.
Zacc spokesperson John Makamure added: “Zacc welcomes this development to give impetus to the anti-corruption fight. Zacc has been receiving increased reports of victimisation and intimidation of witnesses and whistleblowers by accused persons.”
Makamure said the current anti-corruption laws were not comprehensive enough to provide maximum protection to whistleblowers.
“Now that the principles have been approved, we urge speedy drafting and introduction of the Bill in Parliament. Zacc submitted a lay Bill to Parliament and the Ministry of Justice to guide them on the alignment process,” Makamure said.
He urged authorities to accelerate alignment of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act with the Constitution and other good practices in fighting graft.
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) executive director Tafadzwa Chikumbu said: “We look forward to the whistleblower protection legislation because as it stands, without whistleblower protection laws, it is very risky for individuals to report corruption.”
Chikumbu said in most cases, individuals who report corruption faced repribution and death threats.
“Once we have a piece of legislation that protects them, it means they are guaranteed that once they report corruption they remain protected by the law. This will increase the number
of people who report corruption,” he said.