THE Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has bemoaned the intolerance against its #HowFar campaign, an initiative to hold the government to account on public finance management.
Zimcodd executive director Janet Zhou (pictured) says the campaign had faced headwinds in its bid to go countrywide, with #HowFar billboards on corruption and misuse of public funds defaced.
“While we recorded key successes, the path we have traversed so far wasn’t a walk in the park. The campaign was also received with hostility and suspicion from some overzealous members of the society who thought and still think that the campaign is an attack. These sentiments were expressed through the defacing and destruction of the #HowFar billboards, particularly those that were focusing on corruption and misuse of public funds,” Zhou said during the launch of #HowFar 2.0.
Zhou said the defacing of billboards is an attack on public accountability.
“A billboard which inquired on the progress made on the prosecution of the Zinara, Drax and Nssa scandals was defaced; a billboard in Masvingo was uprooted and the Hwange Colliery Company also deliberately removed a billboard that requested an update on the Zambezi Water Project. These acts
were a direct attack on the quest for a culture of public accountability that the campaign seeks to entrench in Zimbabwe. This brought to light the extent of intolerance and resistance to citizen’s quest for accountability in Zimbabwe,” Zhou added.
The #HowFar campaign has hinged on activating citizens’ agency in demanding accountability and is based on the contemporary expression “How far?” which enquires on progress made in addressing some of the fundamental issues on public finance management.
Zimcodd launched the #HowFar campaign on 3 September 2021 as it moved to raise awareness and promote public dialogue on the lack of transparency and accountability by various levels of government in public resource management.–Staff Writer.