Zimbabwe’s corruption fight futile without political will

via NewsDay Editorial: Corruption fight futile without political will May 14, 2014

The fight against corruption is a tricky one especially when such corruption has become embedded in government. Embedded corruption works like a web; in involves intricate linkages straddling whole organisations.

If it hits a ministry, it means everyone from the office sweeper to the minister becomes part of the web. It also links ministries, the corporate world and shadowy syndicates that act as middlemen.

Many countries fighting corruption have established anti-corruption commissions and tasked them to investigate graft. But the results have not been forthcoming.

Often members of the anti-corruption commission end up in the dock, tables having been turned against them by the targets of their probes. This has happened in Zimbabwe.

Research elsewhere has shown that anti-corruption commissions do not work because they are not properly empowered to handle the kind of investigations they have to deal with. It has been shown in some countries such as Kenya that the greatest impediment to investigating corruption is the absence of political will.

Political will can only be guaranteed if those in the corridors of power are themselves not involved. Often they are fully involved having been co-opted either voluntarily or through blackmail.

To fight corruption, one has to identify the weakest link in the web and, if that is destroyed, the whole edifice collapses. Investigations should begin by establishing the existence of the syndicate and how it works.

The weakest link is not necessarily the office sweeper, who is often an innocent-looking reprobate sent on errands to deliver or receive the bribes. It needs painstaking investigation to establish exactly how the web works; and the best people to do this are the police. They too can only be effective when the country’s Executive gives them the nod.

The CMED (Pvt) Ltd saga comes in as a test case. Everything seems clear enough. CMED gave a company, First Oil, $3 million to procure fuel for the country. The fuel was never delivered!

Everyone has known this for a long time. Investigations were launched and someone somewhere knows what exactly happened to the money and what syndicate pocketed it.

The infighting that has been taking place in the CMED offices means someone in there is in the know and is trying to cover up. It is obvious there is some kind of protection for the culprits at CMED. But, that makes any investigator’s job simpler; the weakest link is in the CMED offices.

The onus is now on the Executive to show their will to fight the corruption at CMED by sending in the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Our police are known to be very efficient investigating such crimes; it only needs the go-ahead from the Executive.

It is, however, clear the Executive won’t move anytime soon for the CMED saga has been in the public domain for a while without it batting an eyelid.

Therein lies the problem. All the cases of corruption exposed in recent months will go uninvestigated and the culprits will emerge, as has happened in the past, better off than those who have dared expose them.



  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    ZANU the corrupt part will never investigate itself. If anyone can find me just one person in ZANU who is not corrupt.
    Mugabe ,because he is also compromised ,is powerless to do anything.

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    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    Corruption is our middle name now. No wonder God is judging. All those ill gotten gains are NOT of His radar. God knows everything. Think Zimbabwe! Especially the politicians because as leaders you are going to be held Very accountable

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    In Zimbabwe there are two types of corruption. One out of need like by ordinary workers and the out of greed by the chefs. So there no question of is there corruption? But which one?

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    Straight Shooter 9 years ago

    But how on earth do you expect political will from a gang of thieves? If each and everyone of them is a thief, how do you expect them to do anything about their thieving apart from perpetuating it?

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    The Oracle 9 years ago

    I disagree, Mahlaba. You can not categorise corruption and legitimise one category while condemning another. Corruption feeds greed regardless of whether you a rich man or a poor man. Regardless of who engages in corruption and for what reason, the act remains immoral and illegal.

    We can not justify rape perpetrated by a single man on the basis of need and condemn rape by a married man on the basis of greed. They are both wrong and should be punished.