THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is a “toothless bulldog” that would never be able to deal with rampant corruption which has severely shredded the country’s moral fabric to an irretrievable level, says an academic.
Speaking at a public lecture organised by Transparency International Zimbabwe last week, Zimbabwe Open University lecturer Tobias Guzura said corruption in Zimbabwe needed a collaborative approach from civil society, the government and the private sector.
“Corruption, being a deeply ingrained societal vice, requires the collective efforts of both governmental and non-State actors in fighting it,” he said.
“Corruption is a crime which usually occurs with the knowledge and complicity of public officials; the same group of individuals required to tackle the phenomenon.
“Undoubtedly, participation by the private sector, media and civil society is indispensable as a tool not only in preventing corruption, but also in ensuring that the crime is adequately exposed and monitored after it is committed,” Guzura said.
He added that Zacc should be independent from political interferences and should have security of tenure.
“The anti-corruption agency should be independent and should have security of tenure, but ours is not like that. They are answerable to a minister and that is a problem.
“We cannot have a commission of that nature answerable to an individual. What if that individual is corrupt?
“What do they do? They cannot do anything because it says he who pays the piper plays the tune. How can they have that security of tenure yet they are answerable to a minister. They have to submit annual reports to the Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,” he said.
Guzura also said out of 147 corruption cases reviewed by Zacc in 2006, only four cases were completed. Zimbabwe was ranked 163 out of 176 countries in the 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.
The country has a long history of corruption in the post-colonial era with prominent examples, including the Willowgate scandal, the VVIP Housing Scheme, the War Victims Compensation Fund and recently, Salarygate, among others.