Zim’s 38 years of unmitigated Corruption an Albatross

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President Mnangagwa and his mentor, former President Robert Mugabe
President Mnangagwa and his mentor, former President Robert Mugabe

AFTER a protracted liberation struggle that was brought to an end at Lancaster House in 1979, many Zimbabweans held high hopes of  an independent and prosperous Zimbabwe. Many young men and women had sacrificed their lives for Independence, with the firm belief that the fruits of Independence would go to all Zimbabweans alike.

By Elijah Tavengwa Svidzi

Nurturing Corruption

Thirty eight years later, this dream is yet to come true. One of the reasons why Zimbabweans continue to wallow in extreme poverty can be traced back to corrupt practices by those in positions of authority.

There are a lot of documented and undocumented cases of high profile cases of corruption that date to as far back as just soon after independence. The chief culprits in all these cases of corruption are mainly public officials. The irony of it all being that these same corrupt officials have Constitutional obligations to shun corruption in all its forms. It is not a secret that corruption is destructive in nature.

It tears apart the fabric that holds society together. The State has a duty to ensure that citizens are protected from societal ills such as corruption. The prescribed Oath of Office for Zimbabwe’s Executive President clearly states that “the President will oppose whatever may harm Zimbabwe”. Sadly, though, both former President Robert Mugabe and the incumbent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, have dismally failed to oppose corruption even though they are fully aware that it is very harmful to Zimbabwe.

Whither to Watchmen of the Night

The Constitution of Zimbabwe places an obligation on the State to ensure that citizens access basic services at State Institutions. A majority of the State Institutions, such as those that fall under the Home Affairs Ministry, have proved time and again to be roundly corrupt. It is not a secret that the motoring public in Zimbabwe has, over the years, fallen victim to corruption at the hands of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (Traffic Section).

Zimbabwe has witnessed running battles between Traffic Police and mostly Commuter Omnibus Crews. In some incidents, lives have been lost during these confrontations, and that again is a recorded truism. This is despite the fact that the Zimbabwe Republic Police is the one that is mandated by the Law to arrest perpetrators of crimes, of which corruption is one such crime. Finding a State Institution such as the ZRP being fingered in corruption cases is despicable, to say the least, and it’s proof enough that the fabric that holds society together has been torn to shreds.

Registrar General’s Office

The Registrar General’s Office, which again falls under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has proven to be equally corrupt. Getting basic documents such as birth certificates,   identity documents, travel documents and even burial orders or death certificates has at times been nightmarish. A good number of people  has had bad encounters with the Registrar General’s Office.

This has frustrated many fortune seekers to the extent  of embarking on journeys to  greener pastures using unorthodox methods and routes. Right now, most Zimbabweans who have fled their Homeland to neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia do not have the relevant and legal travel documents. The route cause being corruption at the Registrar General’s Office. This has exposed migrants to risks associated with using illegal routes and crossing points.

Those from the Customs Office have not been spared of corrupt practices either.

 Conclusion

To sum it up all, corruption has had negative effects on Zimbabwe. It is a major driver to the economic meltdown that Zimbabwe has witnessed. It has affected every sector, from mining, land, agriculture, commercial services, banking, health and education, to name but just a few. Diamonds worth a yet to be known value remain unaccounted for. Land barons are a menace in every part of Zimbabwe. Farming remains a not so viable business due to corruption which involves middlemen and State run institutions such as Grain Marketing Board, Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, Cold Storage Company among others.

The banking sector has over the years oiled illegal foreign currency dealings. Many people lost their hard earned money to Insurers. The salarygate scandal rocked Premier Service Medical Aid Society and up to this day, many Healthcare providers are turning away PSMAS subscribers to non-remittances by State run PSMAS. State run Institutions of higher learning have been fingered in corruption cases whereby some people earned  doctorates overnight and some of the cases are still pending at the Courts. Multi-million dollar tenders have been awarded to briefcase companies such as the Intratek saga which the Parliamentary Portfolio on Mines and Energy tried to conduct a hearing on.

In spite of all the available evidence of corruption and the acknowledgement by those in leadership positions that corruption is prevalent in Zimbabwean Institutions,  Zimbabweans are yet to witness a single high profile and meaningful arrest, something which would translates to a deterrent conviction of the culprit(s). Zimbabweans are eagerly waiting for the day when the Government of Zimbabwe will decent on corruption with a firm hand.

Corruption can be wiped away from Zimbabwe, only if the leadership is willing to walk the talk on corruption. The current regime has dismally failed to stamp out corruption. It’s akin to a situation whereby hyenas are given the task to look after goats, and when the goats go missing, it should be obvious that the hyenas become the first suspects. That’s the Zimbabwean scenario, sad as it may be. The sad part is that the victims of this corruption have nowhere to turn to. The whole system is corrupt, and there is need for wholesome changes in Government if ever Zimbabweans are to live in a corrupt free society.

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