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Magistrate under fire over CCC activists


Zim’s corruption fight hollow



ZIMBABWE’S fight against corruption is in a shambles and is expected to worsen, with experts warning conflict ahead of the 2023 general elections due to public discontent caused by economic failure.


The country has been a non-mover, with 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, according to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released this week by the civil society organisation Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ).

The index measures perceptions of public sector corruption levels in 180 countries around the world.

The global average has remained unchanged for over a decade at just 43/100, while the sub-Saharan region average is pegged at 32/100.

More than two thirds of the countries scored below 50, including Zimbabwe, while 26 others fell to their lowest scores yet.

Zimbabwe has the lowest score in the Sadc region, trailing all its neighbours, with Seychelles scoring 70/100, the highest score in the sub-Saharan region, followed by neighbours Botswana with 60/100.

The country also falls below South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi, among others, scoring 43/100, 26/100, 33/100 and 34/100 respectively.

The Civic Education Network (CEN), a human rights organisation, has predicted a bloody election period spearheaded by corruption.

In an interview with The NewsHawks during launch of the CPI report, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum board member and Civic Education Network Trust executive director Wellington Mbofana said reporting mechanisms may be difficult to access during the period with most public sector institutions riddled with corruption.

“The CPI points to reality. In this case we are talking about corruption. The perception is that Zimbabwe’s public sector is perceived to be highly corrupt. The effect of that on peace, as you know that corruption has an effect on peace.

Corruption affects the systems of governance, thereby inducing conflicts.

“So, if corruption is rife in all sectors, that means that our safety is compromised. If we go to the police station to report a case, and the police are corrupt and impartial, asking for a bribe in order to perform their duties, it means that we are at risk of violent conflict.

“We are seeing what has been happening with organised crime. The same things can happen during election time. People can take advantage of the election environment. In our history, we have been suffering from violence during the election period,” he said.
Mbofana said with corruption skyrocketing, it may be difficult to clampdown on perpetrators of election violence during the election period.

He said the situation is likely to be worsened by the shrinking public space which is likely to crackdown on dissenting voices.

In December last year, the PVO Bill sailed through the National Assembly, with opposition parliamentarians crying foul, saying the Bill would stifle public space should it be passed in its current form.

“There are some people who cannot roll out peaceful campaigns, also organising people to beat up others. We saw that in Mrewa and Mtoko. If the government does not act, and political parties fail to restrain their people, we are definitely going to see violence, especially now that NGOs that were involved in monitoring peace, and shedding light on violence may be affected by the PVO Bill which may be gazetted anytime from now,” Mbofana said.  

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) executive director Tafadzwa Chikumbu says conflict is likely to worsen due to corruption in repressive regimes.

“Corruption does have an effect on peace, while influencing people’s decision making in an election. Because if a regime runs a corrupt government, then it means that the people will be disgruntled. In a democracy, you would see such countries losing out.

“If you look at the rankings, you would see that lowly ranked countries are less in terms of democracy. They use the ill-gotten wealth to retain power,” Chikumbu said.

According to the 2022 CPI report, corruption was highest in hard autocracies, while very low in working democracies.

The average score for working democracies was 70/100, 44/100 and 36/100 for deficiency democracies and hybrid democracies whilst moderate autocracies and hard autocracies had 30/100 and 26/100 respectively.

Zimbabwe’s score falls below that of hard autocracies, which Chikumbu says is also likely to spell conflict.

He also said Zimbabwe’s new score is also likely to see the country fail to meet its vision to become an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

The country’s score of 23/100 falls below the middle-income average of 40/100, lower middle-income average of 33/100 and a low income average of 26/100, placing it 4 points above the bottom 10.

“Corruption becomes a threat to achieving that (upper middle-income status), because for you to have a middle-income economy, you have to generate enough resources, and put those resources to good use. But if you are generating resources, and the resources are lost, then you might be recording in terms of your gross domestic product (GDP), but then when it comes to seeing the results, there is nothing.

“The GDP should translate into human development. Where the GDP is high, we should see people thriving,” he said. 

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