President speaks on corruption


CORRUPTION has proved to be one of the major hindrances to the country’s economic and societal development.
Several solutions have been advanced in the fight against corruption, but none have been able to nip it in the bud.
The fight against corruption has taken different forms like the forming of anti-graft agency, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
In 2011, e-Government was introduced to heighten transparency in conduct of Government businesses.  
Recently, President Robert Mugabe tasked Cabinet ministers to take full responsibility of parastatals and state enterprises that fall under their portfolios and ensure those fingered in corrupt activities are brought to book.
Despite these measures by Government, corruption keeps spreading like a bush fire in the public and private sectors.
Zimbabweans are still smarting from the stunning revelations of cases of executives in parastatals, state enterprises and local authorities who have helped themselves to obscene salaries and allowances without the approval of relevant boards.
However, with the rapid growth of Information Communication Technologies across the country and increasing expertise, the country will sooner rather than later reap dividends of e-Governance in running Government businesses and on its war against corruption.
e-Government is the art of using tools offered by information technology in various aspects of the process of governance with objective of achieving efficiency, transparency, accountability and user friendliness in all the transactions that the citizens and business conduct with government.
e-Government has four primary delivery tracks, namely: Government-to-Citizen or Government-to-Customer (G2C); Government-to-Business (G2B); Government-to-Government (G2G); Government and Government-to-Employee (G2E).
While e-Government is often thought of as ‘online government’ or ‘Internet-based Government’, many non-Internet ‘electronic government’ technologies can be used in this context.
Some non-Internet forms include telephone, fax, SMS text messages, Bluetooth, CCTV, tracking systems, biometric identification, road traffic management and regulatory enforcement, identity cards, smart cards and other Near Field Communication applications; polling station technology (where non-online e-voting is being considered).
In the last few years, Government ministries, departments and parastatals have opened web-sites with full details of their mission, programmes, staff strength, and activities within and outside the country.
Speaking at his 90th birthday luncheon hosted by the Public Service Commission last week, President Robert Mugabe said there was need to scale up the e-Government programme as a way to fight corruption in the public service.
“A lot has been said about corruption in Zimbabwe’s Public Service,” President Mugabe.
“The people we serve are expecting to see a difference in our conduct particularly given the imperatives of Zim-ASSET.
“They expect efficiency and effectiveness, transparency and an onslaught against all forms of corruption.”
In order to meet the public’s expectations, President Mugabe said, there was need to build additional capacity and support the development of different mixes of skills, knowledge and expertise in the public service particularly in the area of information communication technologies.
“We have started the process of transforming the way we do business through the introduction of e-Governance, to reduce the distances people have to walk for services and bring certainty to service delivery,” said President Mugabe.
President Mugabe said e-Government implies a sovereign national government that manages top level domains within its borders and whose preoccupation is its people first and foremost.
“e-Zimbabwe means a developing Zimbabwe, with a sovereign people, run and developed by Zimbabweans, but not by anyone else,” he said.
“It also means a deliberate preference for indigenous software solutions in both public and private sector applications.”
Introduction of e-Governance and transaction in financial transactions like e-mail, e-verification of payment, e-transfers will eliminate corrupt practices bordering following of files and cheques from one desk to the other and from one accounting officer to another.
It has been established that the unfortunate culture of physical following of files and other contract papers breeds corrupt practices between the contractors, internal monitors, and the banks.
e-Governance will also scale down unnecessary delays associated with clearing of transactions, which take days, weeks or even months before services are delivered.  
Some analysts, however, argue that despite the tremendous boom in ICT in the country, a sizeable number of people are not in the world of ICT.
They say the low level of knowledge is still giving criminals some room to wangle through their heinous schemes due to the gullibility of the people.
President Mugabe called on all public servants to adhere to the values and ethics espoused in Section 194 of the constitution.
“It takes a humble spirit to comprehend and implement what these ethics demand of us,” said President Mugabe.
“To be a servant of the people, a public servant, demands integrity and commitment, a givenness to selflessness and a total dedication to national development, ensuring the virtue of professionalism and zero tolerance to corruption.”
The Patriot last month reported that ZANU PF should revisit the Leadership Code in order to deal with corruption.
The Leadership Code crafted in the 80s was a set of ethics and moral codes that provided a benchmark of behaviour and conduct for leaders.
It 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 the executive and administration officers and above, and employees of parastatals, local authorities equivalent to the rank of executive and above.


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