A BAROMETER by think-tank Sivio Institute has identified corruption as the main factor hampering the effective operation of local authorities and central government over the past five years.
Findings by Sivio Institute in its Citizens Perceptions and Expectations (CPE) report for 2023 have shown that the largest number of respondents believe corruption is still the greatest constraint to performance by local authorities and central government.
According to the report, 49% of the respondents in the think-tank’s survey said that incompetence by the central government has largely been spearheaded by corruption, while 13% have blamed ineffective leadership.
Thirteen percent of the respondents also laid blame on incompetence by the central government, while 8% say the government has been constrained by limited resources. A paltry 6% believe sanctions have played a major role in containing the government, while 11% have blamed other factors.
According to the report, Zimbabwe has a 44% score in its fight against corruption this year.
“As with the other CPE surveys done since 2018, corruption still ranks the highest with 49% of citizens identifying it as a major constraint.
Corruption is followed by ineffective leadership 13% and then incompetence at 13%. While the government has indicated that sanctions are a major factor hindering its efforts to address the crises affecting the country, only 6% of the respondents felt that this was a constraint,” reads the report.
“While corruption continues to be identified as the top constraint by citizens in the last CPE surveys — we do note that there is a decrease in the number of citizens who consider it as the top constraint — from 81% in 2019 to 49% in 2023.
“This could be an acknowledgement of some of the actions taken by the government in attempts to fight corruption including setting up the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) and the arrests of public officials – some high ranking, around allegations of corruption and subsequent conviction of some of them.”
Sivio’s report also identified corruption as the main constraint to local authorities in 2023, with 39% of the respondents attributing it to the rot in local governance.
According to the report, 23% of the respondents said that the ineffectiveness of local authorities has been mainly spearheaded by incompetence by office holders while 14% said councils are inadequately resourced.
Twelve percent said that local authorities’ incompetence has been caused by meddling by central government, while 6% say there is lack of appropriate oversight by councillors.
Three percent of the respondents said local authorities have been hamstrung by lack of appropriate oversight by councillors, while 2% blamed other factors.
Zimbabwe’s corruption fight has been hollow, with the country being a non-mover on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), on a 23/100 score, falling behind the regional average of 32/100, while ranking 157 out of 180 of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The index measures perceptions of public sector corruption levels in 180 countries around the world. More than two-thirds of the countries scored below 50, including Zimbabwe, while 26 others fell to their lowest scores yet.
Zimbabwe also has the lowest score in the Southern African Development Community region, trailing all its neighbours, with the Seychelles scoring 70/100, the highest in the sub-Saharan region, followed by neighbours Botswana with 60/100. Zimbabwe also falls below South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi, among others, whore scored 43/100, 26/100, 33/100 and 34/100 respectively.
Last month, main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) parliamentarians admonished Zacc over the low number of convictions referred to the police despite the rampant illicit financial flows in the country.
According to its 2022 annual report, Zacc received 684 criminal cases, with over 70% being accounted for by Harare.
Matabeleland South province had only one case, accounting for 0.20%. Of the cases, only 147 cases were referred to the police, a situation worsened by the National Prosecution Authority’s (NPA) low crime clearance rate.
According to its 2022 annual report, the NPA had a clearance rate of 38.38% on economic crimes, a performance which has been met with disapproval from MPs, amid evidence that Zimbabwe is wallowing in a corruption-induced crisis.