Stakeholders speaking yesterday at the end of a two-day national anti-corruption strategy workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) in Bulawayo felt that some members of the executive seem opposed to or lack the political will to tackle the vice.
They said low salaries, economic hardships and greed are some of the factors fuelling corruption in the country.
The workshop was attended by ZACC officials, police, government departments, lawyers, industry representatives as well as civil society organisations who all shared their expertise on what could be contributing to graft cases in the country.
In a presentation by a group consisting mainly of various government departments, its presenter said it appears the President is fighting a lone fight.
"What we got there is that yes we have a strong message from the President where he says there is zero tolerance to corruption. But what we don't get is that when we cascade down the hierarchy, our ministers, our permanent secretaries, our heads of departments, that political will also decreases. In Government we also have some departments that receive some groceries, sugar, rice, flour among other things but other departments within the same Government will not be receiving the groceries. So, such things fuel corruption because one will be asking themselves whether they are working for the same Government," the group said.
It said there are people who claim to be untouchable as they brag about their connections to powerful figures while engaging in corruption.The group said shortage of resources in Government departments coupled with poor remuneration was also fuelling corruption.
"For instance, there is shortage of passport materials which results in delays in the processing and allocation of the travel document. This presents an opportunity for corruption as those who would be desperately needing the travel document can approach officials and bribe them to process their document. As a result, the corruption will result in those who have money always accessing products and services while those without money fail to access them," the group said.
Some felt that increasing salaries could reduce the appetite of some officials and individuals to engage in corruption but others were of the view that the issue of poor salaries was just an excuse by greedy and corrupt officials to defend their illicit dealings.
A representative of the civil society organisations said corruption in the country is fuelled by a perception that it is highly rewarding. He said the country has "mainstreamed and culturalised" corruption and this cuts across all sectors. ZACC commissioner Thandiwe Mlobane said the commission will consider all presentations as it crafts the country's national anti-corruption strategic document.
"I want to assure you that what you have given us is not going to be thrown away. This is not a talk show but real work that is in the foundation stages.
"From here the team is going to Masvingo to gather their input into the national anti-corruption strategy. When we go back to Harare we will then synthesise everything that you have said here in Bulawayo and what they are going to say in Masvingo," said Comm Mlobani.
"We are developing a strategy to fight corruption not for ZACC but consolidating all the institutions that are here. So we will take the common threads that have come through and build pillars so that when it comes to implementation, we are going to implement what you have suggested. We are going to have the result-based management approach in coming up with the national anti-corruption strategy."
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