By Dr Masimba Mavaza | Corruption kills more than Corona-virus.
The new dispensation has ushered in several ways of fighting corruption. Corruption breeds deceitfulness lies mistrust and it is evil. It has been said corruption started at birth when your sibling says “Ndini ndakakusira mukaka” when it took chilli Piri Piri to drag him off the milk.
So corruption brings patronisation. Its effects are very real. Corruption stops medicine and drugs from reaching the sick, stops schools from being built, leads to roads washing away in the rain, and empties the public coffers. … Most importantly, corruption breaks the trust between the citizens and the state that is critical for development to work.
Corruption and international perceptions of corruption in Zimbabwe has been damaging to the country’s reputation and has created obstacles to local and foreign direct investment, flows to the stock market, global competitiveness, economic growth and has ultimately distorted the development and upliftment of our economy.
In trying to deal with this pandemic, the President of Zimbabwe came up with a double edged sharp sword to deal with corruption. He promoted the work of ZACC which is led by Loice Matanda Moyo the widow of the national hero SB Moyo. Just like her late husband Matanda Moyo has fearlessly faced corruption. It must be known that fighting corruption is a dangerous game.
Many fighters of corruption have died with hands on the plough and some were framed and ended up in prisons. Corruption is indeed a brutal cruel enemy. With the advent of technology corruption has become very difficult to fish out and prosecute.
To this end President Emerson Mnangagwa established SACU Special Anti Corruption Unity which is led by the bull fighter, Thabani Vusa Mpofu.
The Special Anti-Corruption Unit is a government organisation or department housed in the Office of the President and Cabinet to improve efficiency in the fight against all forms of corruption and to strengthen the effectiveness of national mechanisms for the prevention of corruption.
SACU was established by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2018 not as a competitor of ZACC but to consolidate and supplement the efforts of ZAAC. Where ZACC misses SACU sweeps. So SACU works with the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other such institutions in the fight against corruption.
The Judicial Service Commission, in support of Government policy on the fight against corruption, has also established specialised anti-corruption courts. Inspite of all these efforts the National Prosecuting Authority made meaningful progress in the prosecution of these cases before the courts. The President noted the concern by the Prosecutor General that the National Prosecuting Authority lacks the human capacity to effectively prosecute these matters. The Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs therefore recommended that a Special Unit be constituted to give effect to the policy pronouncement by the President to fight against corruption.
SACU is born of one objective to fight corruption by improving efficiency in the fight against all forms of corruption and to strengthen and improve the effectiveness of the national mechanisms for the prevention and fight against corruption in accordance with the anti-corruption strategy. This goal is critical in view of the fact that the President has articulated zero tolerance to all forms of corruption and the need to expeditiously prosecute all such cases.
The team as headed by TV Mpofu , a renowned lawyer and former State prosecutor, heads the six-member team that also includes lawyers from Government, private practice and experienced prosecutors. These are Mr Thabani Mpofu (SACU) – Director Mr Brian Vito or simply Mukoma Vito a ver senior prosecutor a very soft spoken but effective no nonsense fighter. Vito is known for his flashing smile which lightens the path of it comes dark and heavy. Other members are Mr Tapiwa Godzi Mr Mike Chakandida Mr Zivanai Macharaga and Ms Vernanda Chakandida.
This team brooks no nonsense in their work. They wake up everyday knowing very well that the day can end up with them as victims since the war against corruption is bloody one.
The President of Zimbabwe considers corruption a major challenge to Zimbabwe’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent of people in the country.
Corruption has a disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable, increasing costs and reducing access to services, including health, education and justice.
Corruption in the procurement of drugs and medical equipment drives up costs and can lead to sub-standard or harmful products. The human costs of counterfeit drugs and vaccinations on health outcomes and the life-long impacts on children far exceed the financial costs. Unofficial payments for services can have a particularly pernicious effect on poor people.
Empirical studies have shown that the poor pay the highest percentage of their income in bribes. Some studies have suggested that the poor may even be preyed upon since they are seen as powerless to complain. Every stolen or misdirected dollar, robs the poor of an equal opportunity in life and prevents governments from investing in their human capital.
Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. This is cause for concern across the globe, but particularly in contexts of fragility and violence, as corruption fuels and perpetuates the inequalities and discontent that lead to fragility, violent extremism, and conflict.
Corruption impedes investment, with consequent effects on growth and jobs. Zimbabwe under ED as the president is affectionately known is capable of confronting corruption use the human and financial resources more efficiently, attract more investment, and grow more rapidly. To this end Thabani Mpofu the fighter not Thabani the Advocate of destruction has been given the opportunity to nab the thugs in our midst.
Since July 2020 43 arrests with 29 trial dates have been achieved.
Thabani Mpofu has a strong conviction that
“Corruption affects us all. It threatens sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice; it destabilises our society and endangers the rule of law. It undermines the institutions and values of our democracy” But because public policies and public resources are largely beneficial to poor people, it is they who suffer the harmful effects of corruption most grievously.
To be dependent on the government for housing, healthcare, education, security and welfare, makes the poor most vulnerable to corruption since it stalls service delivery. Delays in infrastructure development, poor building quality and layers of additional costs are all consequences of corruption.
Many acts of corruption deprive our citizens of their constitutional and their human rights.” Bemoans TV Mpofu. It is to this end that SACU will stand and fight even though faced with serious revulsion from many detractors.
We must remember that even the trusted high ranking ministers can be corrupt. These are the most dangerous people in the fight of corruption. They use the name of the President in their night escapades. They use their pockets to put down any investigation against them. They bad mouth the corruption fighters so that the dilute the fighting spirit in these gallant fighters.
SACU recognizes that corruption comes in different forms. It might impact service delivery, such as when an official asks for bribes to perform routine services. Corruption might unfairly determine the winners of government contracts, with awards favoring friends, relatives, or business associates of government officials. Or it might come in the form of state capture, distorting how institutions work and who controls them, a form of corruption that is often the costliest in terms of overall economic impact. Each type of corruption is important and tackling all of them is critical to achieving progress and sustainable change.
Making inroads against corruption often requires determined efforts to overcome vested interests.
When popular disaffection with corruption and cronyism reaches a boiling point, the political rewards to addressing corruption can exceed the costs of upsetting interests.
Short of sweeping reform efforts, progress can be achieved through better and more open processes, professional accountability systems, and the use of the latest advanced technologies to capture, analyze, and share data to prevent, detect, and deter corrupt behaviour.
Through hard work by those in SACU CID director Commissioner Chrispen Charumbira was arrested on 24 September 2020 on allegations of accepting protection money from drug and gold dealers to stop criminal investigations. He was arrested by the Special Anti-Corruption Unit (Sacu) after seven of his junior officers alleged he had been interfering with their duties by protecting drug and gold dealers after accepting bundles of US dollars in protection money.
Prosecuting corruption cases is not an easy thing. The evidence is complicated and witnesses are either bribed or threatened. The investigators are threatened or set up and framed.
Every successful prosecution of a corruption case has a bruised and destroyed investigator. Despite all those challenges SACU officers do understand that they are in a war and coming out alive is a blessing.
Each day is a challenge but each challenge needs the support of everyone.
Help fight corruption. Those who refuse to help are like those who see another drilling a hole in a boat. If the hole allows in water the whole boat will capsize sinking deeper in the sea with the silent ones as casualties. It is only during CORONA that you cover your mouth. But in corruption please speak up. We are all in danger if you keep silent.