Corruption: More remedies required

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THERE was an overwhelming sense of commitment and unity towards taking the nation forward among ZANU PF Politburo members who attended the revolutionary party’s extraordinary meeting last week.
The country has been rocked by shocking cases of executives in parastatals, State enterprises and local authorities who have helped themselves to obscene salaries and allowances without approval from relevant boards.
Even more appalling, have been reports that the executives in question have allegedly been conniving with officials in the private sector to corrupt procurement processes.
This has dealt a heavy blow to service delivery while at the same time inflating prices of goods and services.
As a result, the national economy has had to bear the brunt of these shameless and shocking corrupt activities necessitating the call for the ZANU PF Extraordinary Politburo meeting last week.
Prior to the meeting, there had been reports of ‘rifts’ and ‘fireworks’ and these were expected to take centre stage in the highly anticipated meeting, but they were extinguished as soon as officials of the party’s highest decision making body started trooping in for the crucial gathering.
One by one and in a cheerful and jovial mood, the officials gathered waiting for President Robert Mugabe to arrive.
When he finally arrived, the officials immediately got down to business, thrashing such issues as the ongoing salary scam and corruption that has stunned the nation.
President Mugabe told the Politburo that there must be decisive action against all people convicted of corruption.
It was also resolved that the anti-graft fight should be widened to include the private sector.
ZANU PF Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo, soon after the meeting, said: “On the issue of ‘Salarygate’ and corruption, the President was very strong on that.
“He identified that the first thing was to prevent corruption and secondly to establish facts about corruption.
“He also said decisive action will be taken on the people who are found to have engaged in corruption.
“He said corruption is not only in the public sector and parastatals, but is also rampant in the private sector.
“The President said we should look into it.”
Besides the stance on corruption by President Mugabe and his ZANU PF party last week, there are many possible remedies that can be adopted to curb the ills of corruption in the country.
The party can go back in history and establish a commission of inquiry similar to the one that dealt with the infamous Willowgate scandal of the late ’80s.
The scandal first took centre stage in October 1988.
In December 1988, President Mugabe appointed a three-person panel, the Sandura Commission, to investigate the corruption allegations. 
According to The Washington Post the commission’s hearings ‘struck a deep chord’ in Zimbabwe, where citizens had grown to resent the perceived growing corruption of government, a Wikipedia report says.
“A provincial governor and five of Mugabe’s cabinet ministers eventually resigned due to implication in the scandal, including (the late Enos Nkala and Maurice Nyagumbo, who at the time was the third highest-ranking official in Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe National African Union (ZANU),” reads the report in part. 
“Nyagumbo committed suicide by drinking pesticide.”
Last week The Patriot reported that ZANU PF should revisit the Leadership Code so that, as President Mugabe said at the meeting last week, ways to prevent corruption are found.
The Leadership Code provides a cocktail of preventative measures which include among others:
l Leaders will not make collusive arrangements with other people or secretly obtain consideration for themselves or other people or fail to disclose the full nature of the transaction to the party or to the Government.
l They will not decline to disclose their personal financial affairs to a properly constituted party or Government body of officials investigating corruption.
l In no circumstances will relatives be used as fronts for business ventures. It will be the duty of a leader to defend the party and Government at all costs against enemies, failure to do so will call for disciplinary action.
In the same vein, officials and executives of parastatals, local authorities and State enterprises must be appointed on merit not on the basis of patronage as is the case now.
At the Politburo meeting last week, one official told this reporter that he concurred with The Patriot on the need for the party to revisit the Leadership Code saying our story had ‘given key, striking and decisive insights on how to prevent corruption at all levels’.
Perhaps the most important strategy in preventing corruption is to have guiding legislature that governs operations of parastatals, local authorities and State enterprises.
Comprehensive inspection of these entities is key in curbing corruption.
Chapter 9 of the Constitution should urgently be enforced through the institution of legislation pertaining to the Public Finance Management Act.
This chapter of the Constitution provides a broad outline on basic standards expected of public officials, including focus on service delivery, accountability and transparency.
This should be seriously looked at so that decisive action can be taken on graft.
As Politburo emerged from the meeting after President Mugabe’s departure, there was an air of collective satisfaction on the deliberations of the day and the zeal to work towards set targets.
All that is left is for implementation of the measures.
Let those with ears listen.

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