Corruption: Revisiting the Leadership Code

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THE air of gloom and fears that gains made by ZANU PF will be swept away by the senseless looting and gluttonous feasting on public funds by heads of parastatals and some Government officials is expected to disappear following the announcement by President Robert Mugabe that the looters will be brought to book.
There had been scepticism among the Zimbabwean populace that perpetrators would not be brought to book.
But in a statement by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Professor Jonathan Moyo to a local weekly, The Sunday Mail, it emerged that President Mugabe is disgusted with what has now come to be known as the ‘Salarygate’ scandal.
President Mugabe, it also emerged this week,  has ordered Cabinet ministers to take full responsibility of parastatals and State enterprises that fall under their portfolios and ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
“Dismayed by the undeniable rot which is allegedly rampant among the 78 parastatals and State enterprises and the 92 local authorities in the country, and whose extent includes corruption of the tender and procurement processes as well as price distortions to the detriment of ordinary consumers, His Excellency the President, Cde R. G. Mugabe, on Tuesday directed all Cabinet ministers to take full responsibility of the affairs of their ministries and of the parastatals, State enterprises or local authorities under their supervision to ensure that the rot is brought to an end by holding those culpable to account and to protect public assets and funds,” said Prof Moyo.
“The President’s directive means that the buck must start with the honourable Cabinet ministers, and that is as it should indeed be. In ridding our country of this culture of corruption, there must be no sacred cows, whatever the position of those involved.”
Besides President Mugabe’s stern warning to the crooks, there are other measures that can be used to stem the shocking graft chief among them the popular, but widely ignored ZANU PF ‘Leadership Code’.
That the looters are by design or default linked to the ruling ZANU PF party presents even more challenges to the party.
It is for this reason that ZANU PF has to decisively deal with the matter to put to rest public fears and to endear itself with the electorate.
There are many possible remedies, some realistic and others bizarre, but still the party has to act on the graft.
One cannot help, but recall stories of how some citizens ‘cleansed’ the popular Mbare Bus Terminus of notorious thieves by crushing and cutting off the crooks’ fingers in the 80s.
Although there has never been confirmation that this really happened, the message is that tougher measures must be taken against perpetrators of corruption.
Far away in Ghana, there is a story of how that country’s former President Jerry Rawlings ‘mercilessly’ dealt with corruption.
It is alleged that to get rid of corrupt officials, Rawlings invited them to his rural home for a function and on their way in a plane, he threw the corrupt office bearers into the sea.
While the above two stories might be extreme, they serve to highlight the extreme measures required to rid the country of the scourge that is derailing progress.
The Leadership Code that ZANU PF crafted in the 80s, would go a long way to deal with corruption.
The Leadership Code was a set of ethics and moral codes that provided a benchmark of behaviour and conduct for leaders.
It acknowledged that leaders are only human and by virtue of their positions, are a privileged group in society with access to public funds.
The Leadership Code set parameters for leaders so that they avoided the temptations to pursue personal aggrandisement at the expense of serving the people.
Unveiled by ZANU PF, President and First Secretary, Cde Mugabe on August 10 1984 at the ruling party’s Second Congress, the draft espoused that ‘it is necessary, desirable and expedient to impose on leaders a strict code of behaviour to assure the advent of socialism. Leaders will be required to disclose their assets (and now their salaries) periodically’.
The Leadership Code targeted members of the ZANU PF Central Committee, provincial, district and branch executive committees, ministers and provincial governors, members of the judiciary and public service commissions, commissioned officers of the army, air force, police and prison services, civil servants of the rank of executive and administrative officers and above, and employees of parastatals, local authorities equivalent to the rank of executive and above.
The then Prime Minister, Cde Mugabe warned party and Government leaders to forgo wealth and quit masquerading as leaders.
“You cannot have it both ways,” he said.
Recent events in which public funds have been shamelessly looted have necessitated the need for ZANU PF to not only effect the arrest of the criminals but to reflect on the Leadership Code whose provisions include the following:
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.
There is need that criminals must be brought to book, and the challenge is on ZANU PF to do that.

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