THE government has fired a number of senior prison officials in an ongoing purge against corruption in prisons, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
Mnangagwa said the ongoing crusade against corruption in the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) was targeting prison officers from new recruits to the most senior official.
“You will not stay any minute longer in the ZPCS if you are corrupt. We will kick you out. Uyahamba emini (you will go in broad daylight),” Mnangagwa said.
He was speaking at a passout parade of 757 recruits at the ZPCS Training Centre at Ntabazinduna on the outskirts of Bulawayo on Friday.
“We have fired some of your bosses. We are not lying when we say we are against corruption. This is an ongoing exercise to weed the ZPCS of corrupt individuals. You should all desist from all forms of corruption to guarantee your stay in the ZPCS,” he added.
He said corruption was a cancerous disease threatening the government’s ZimAsset economic blueprint adding that it was also to blame for the widespread poverty faced by the majority.
“Corruption is the greatest threat to ZimAsset. It is impeding economic growth. It has resulted in the widening gap between the poor and the rich. It is a cancerous issue that should be dealt with decisively,” Mnangagwa said.
Analysts have also indicated that corruption would collapse ZimAsset and have urged the government to take stern action against perpetrators. Reports of top officials, mainly in government institutions, milking State companies have been rampant, but the government has done little to fight the practice.
The government announced that it had slashed salaries of executives heading State institutions as it fights corruption, but recent reports indicated that they were still earning their mega perks.
Mnangagwa also congratulated the ZPCS for its curriculum where recruits are taught about the liberation struggle, saying “it is necessary for the recruits to know where the country comes from and where it is going”.
“I would like to emphasise on the module on civic education. I have been informed by (ZPCS Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi) that you had an opportunity to receive lectures from very senior lecturers on the history of our country, the history of colonialism and the history of post-independence Zimbabwe.
“You must know where this nation has come from, where it is now and where it is going.”
He said the government was committed to improving infrastructure at the ZPCS, funds permitting before bemoaning the lack of computers at the institution yet “we are now living in an ICT (information and communications technology) world”.