A LACK of strong and sound leadership has made it difficult for many organisations to develop effective structures that fight corruption.
Source: More has been said, less has been done! – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 7, 2016
BY KUDZAI GOREMUSANDU
Many organisations we have in Zimbabwe, particularly public government entities, are challenged by an absence of resolute leadership, as they struggle under precarious times.
In Malawi, according to the World Bank Enterprise Survey 2014 report, the public services sector carries a very high risk of corruption. More than a quarter of companies expect to give gifts to obtain a water or electrical connection, while less than two in 10 companies expect to give a gift to obtain an operating licence.
Our 21st century world seems to be an experiment in global self-destruction. We need strong corporate leaders, who have the courage to grapple with perplexing issues and seemingly overwhelming problems, as well as the ability to discover and implement workable solutions.
More than anything else, what we require today is competent, effective and visionary leaders in all walks of life.
The modern leaders, who have emerged, seem to believe that the primary qualities needed to address high levels of corruption, in demanding times are the following: great vision; academic and intellectual superiority; dynamic oratory and other communications skills that have the power to persuade; management expertise, and the ability to control others.
However, time and again, history has shown that the most important quality a true leader should and must possess is the moral force of a noble and stable character.
We have all these skilled people in positions of power, with an ample supply of potential leaders.
Yet, some leaders, who are trying to keep their companies, organisations and associations from sinking in tough economic times are either lacking, or deficient, in that vital element of true leadership character.
In Zimbabwe’s business environment, we have seen corporate leaders fall apart, ethically and morally.
Many leaders start strong (or appear to), only to end up “crashing and burning”.
A number of leaders have operated under a reputation of integrity that was only a façade. While they appeared competent and well-adjusted on the outside, they lacked real substance within.
Meanwhile, other people in positions of power have been hindered by incompetence because they have never learned solid leadership principles and how to implement them.
Zimbabwe, on a cumulative basis, and compared to other countries in the region, had foreign direct investment inflows amounting to $1,7 billion over the period of 1980 to 2013 whereas, Zambia and Mozambique received $7,7bn and $15,8bn, respectively according to the KPMG Investing in the Mining Sector October 2014 report.
One of the reasons for that is the high level of corruption in Zimbabwe’s corporate sector, which has created a gloomy atmosphere that cannot attract enough investment. We have to change or nothing will change.
The judiciary system has to present and adopt structures and models that help to reduce business corruption risk especially from the execution point of view.
Bribes and irregular payment are often exchanged in return for favourable court decisions in our judicial system, such loopholes have to be dealt with.
Nonetheless, the judicial system in Southern Africa is affected by shortage of judges and lack of resources and training, causing a backlog of cases and slow judicial processes.
True business leadership is, therefore, key to organisational preservation, growth, and change.
No matter what condition, level of corruption an organisation or company finds itself in, it didn’t arrive there by accident. Someone led it there.
Unless justice is served corruption issues will remain stories in Zimbabwe. Here is a story were justice was served.
Former Wall Street mogul, Bernie Madoff operated “the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, he bilked his clients of billions of dollars and fooled regulators for decades”.
Madoff was convicted of securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, wire and mail fraud, money-laundering, filing false documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission, making false statements, perjury, and theft from employee benefit funds. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison.
True business leaders must embrace the challenge and actively seek to change their ways if their companies are to move from a mindset of corruption and compromise to an outlook of conviction and character.
Kudzai Goremusandu is a strategic, innovative, dynamic, goal getter and enterprising management and leadership consultant. He is the founder of Africa Leadership Insight Institute. Goremusandu holds an award from the University of Zimbabwe for effective communication. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org