The Sunday News
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has always spoken against corruption and has implored every Zimbabwean to shun the evil practice.
Speaking in a special Independence Day interview, the Head of State and Government said the various hurdles in successfully uprooting the scourge mean “the fight is so wide and deep”.
“I now realise that corruption is deep-rooted. I thought that by pronouncing that let’s fight corruption, those who are corrupt will fear and stop; it’s not like that. It’s so rooted that you have to fight it from A to Z. (In) most systems, structures and institutions, there is an element of corruption,” said President Mnangagwa.
“To fight it, you need the police to unearth, investigate; but also within the police, there is corruption. The next stage, you need prosecution; that is the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) — they need to prosecute the cases, so once the cases pass the corruption in the police, it has to pass the corruption in the NPA, then it must go to the courts and there is an element of corruption in the courts, so the fight is so wide and deep.”
Fighting corruption, he said, was a collective responsibility. The President, however, has said his office would not interfere with judiciary processes.
Nonetheless, ever since the New Dispensation came into office, a number of high profile people including former cabinet ministers and company executives have been arrested over corruption, though there have been few convictions to date with most cases still pending in court.
It is the slow pace to wrap up the cases that has worried the President. Although he applauded the establishment of specialised anti-corruption courts last week, he nonetheless, expressed displeasure in the way corruption cases were going.
“I am disappointed that corruption cases are not moving. While we may be experiencing teething challenges, I implore all those who play a role in this mammoth task to remain steadfast, honest and upright in the execution of their duties. The success in this regard is imperative as it impacts on our quest to establish a corrupt free society, accelerate development and speedily improve the quality of life of our people.”
He made the remarks while addressing judges, lawyers, magistrates, ministers among guests at the commissioning of the new Labour Court in Harare, next to Rotten Row Courts. Eradicating corruption is part of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which has put in place a cocktail of measures to nip the scourge in the bud. Proceedings in most of the cases of graft have been stayed pending review applications filed by defence lawyers while in some cases the accused persons were discharged by the High Court.
A well-known definition by Bardhan (1997) and Andvig and Fjeldstad (2001) delineates corruption as the use of public offices for private enrichment, which could be in the form of bribery, theft, extortion, or fraud in order to further the personal goals of public officials and allow favouritism and extortion. The most consistent empirical finding about the factors positively or negatively driving corruption, reported that corruption is closely correlated with various aspects of economic development (Saha, 2017). More specifically, corruption can undermine economic growth, increase inflation, hamper international trade potentialities and cause natural resources curse.