Zimbabwe anti-corruption commission must be independent

The Zimbabwe Anti – Corruption Commission (ZACC) was established in terms of Section 254 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The core functions of the ZACC are to investigate and expose cases of corruption in the public and private sectors as well as to combat corruption, theft, misappropriation, abuse of power and other improper conduct in the public and private sectors.

On numerous occasions, the MDC, as a social democratic political party that is anchored on the values of honesty, integrity, accountability and transparency, has called for the arrest and prosecution of all corrupt public and private individuals as long as there has been thorough, unbiased, impartial  and diligent investigation. As a political party, the MDC has resolutely adopted a zero tolerance policy to all forms of corruption. Thus, without fear or favour, the MDC would like to call for the uncompromising enforcement of the country’s anti – corruption laws as well as the arrest and prosecution of all suspects as long as the evidence against them is strong and unassailable. Put differently, the MDC fervently and passionately advocates for a policy where all corrupt persons, no matter who they are or what office they hold in the public or private sector, have to be hauled before a competent court of law whenever and wherever a prima facie case of corruption has been established against them. There shouldn’t be any sacred cows in matters pertaining to the investigation and prosecution of anyone who, on reasonable grounds, has been alleged to have committed any act of corruption.

Against this background, therefore, the MDC is calling for the investigation of all known and reported cases of corruption ; whether or not such cases involve highly placed and influential politicians and other public and private sector officials. Corruption is simply defined as the abuse of one’s office for private gain. Cases of rampant and unmitigated corruption, over the years, have been reported at the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS),the various subsidiary companies of Zesa Holdings, the Parks & Wildlife Management Authority, Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef), the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Air Zimbabwe, the diamond mining sector etc. It is very saddening and indeed, depressing to note that the ZACC has not been given enough latitude and space to thoroughly investigate these reported cases of insipid and debilitating corruption. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe has since gained a notorious reputation of being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Transparency International, in its latest report on corruption in Zimbabwe, disclosed that the country is losing at least US$1 billion every year because of corruption. This is a very startling statistic especially considering the fact that Zimbabwe is being run on an annual budget of about US$4 billion. This, effectively, means that at least one quarter of our budget is lost through the cancer of corruption annually. Corruption militates against socio – economic development and it invariably causes political upheaval and instability.

Recent reports that some highly placed Zanu PF government officials have been trying to improperly interfere with the work of the ZACC should be condemned in the strongest terms. The ZACC is an independent constitutional commission that should be left to impartially and freely investigate all cases of corruption that are brought before it. The operations of the ZACC will be severely compromised and weakened if powerful politicians and some other such well – placed Zimbabweans are allowed to derail and/or improperly interfere with the day to day operations of the ZACC. For as long as Zimbabwe is perceived as a country that tolerates and actually, encourages corruption, it will be virtually impossible for the country to attract meaningful domestic and foreign direct investment.

This is a clarion call to the ZACC to fearlessly and impartially investigate all reported cases of corruption. Zimbabweans are very keen to know what happened to the US$15 billion worth of diamonds that President Robert Mugabe recently disclosed had been pilfered from the Chiadzwa and Marange diamond fields. The people would also like to know what eventually happened to the millions of dollars that were looted from PSMAS. All these reported cases of massive corruption should never, ever be allowed to die a natural death. All perpetrators of acts of corruption, no matter who they are, should have their day in court. Nothing short of this would be acceptable if Zimbabwe is to successfully uproot the cancer of corruption that is now so deeply embedded within our society.

MDC : EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL

OBERT CHAURURA GUTU

MDC NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON

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