Zim public ‘paying the price’ of rising corruption

A leading economist has warned that the public will continue to pay the price for worsening corruption, which has been steadily rising across all sectors of Zimbabwe in recent years.

The scale of Zimbabwe’s corruption problem has featured strongly across news headlines in recent weeks, with everything from MPs being caught out in fraud, to allegations that Zimbabwe’s foreign aid dependency is fuelling high level corruption.

Most recently, an MDC-T MP who has been accused of theft of council funds was arrested this week. St Mary’s MDC-T legislator Marvellous Khumalo stands accused of squandering US$50,000 allocated under the government’s Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Government set aside a budget of US$8 million for the CDF in 2010 and the money was to be used for development projects by the legislators. Each constituency received US$50,000, but some have failed to account for it.

Other MPs also facing arrest for failing to account for the CDF allocations are Peter Chanetsa (ZANU PF Hurungwe North), Franco Ndambakuwa (ZANU PF Magunje) and Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T Kariba).

Also implicated were the Minister of State for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, Sekai Holland, Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga and Health and Child Welfare Deputy Minister Douglas Mombeshora.

More corruption was then unveiled this week when a Chitungwiza Town Clerk was placed under house arrest over fraud charges. Godfrey Tanyanyiwa is facing charges of defrauding the council of over US$700 000.

Meanwhile, a detailed report on the unity government’s spending has also provided a clear picture of the level of legalised corruption in the country. The report published by the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper accused that country’s foreign aid spend in Zimbabwe for allowing corruption to run rampant.

The report, titled ‘How we aid profligacy’ shines a light on Zimbabwe’s national budget for 2012, saying that it shows the “grotesque sense of priorities of the two men (Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai) who run one of the poorest countries in the world.” This includes US$45 million on travel, and hundreds of millions for their separate offices.

“Meanwhile, ‘capital expenditure’ for secondary education in 2011 was, well, a blank. If page 207 of the national accounts is correct, Zimbabwe’s government spent precisely nothing on capital assets for secondary schools last year, an omission that was probably unique in the world,” the report reads.

The report accuses the UK International Development department, DFID, and other Western donors of filling in the gaps and funding the areas government is not putting money into, such as health and education. The report blasts this behaviour for enforcing corruption, and not actually benefiting Zimbabwe.

“By covering the cost of basic essentials that the government chooses not to fund, we risk underwriting — albeit indirectly — the monstrous way in which Zimbabwe’s leaders spend their country’s resources,” the report says.

Economist John Robertson told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that Zimbabwe’s corruption is linked to senior officials “claiming entitlement to get their hands on whatever they want.”

“They behave like its legitimate conduct and that they are just exercising the rights that come with their authority,” Robertson said.

He added: “This corruption just adds to the costs everyone else has to bear.”

Robertson said that with barely any sector free from corruption, inflation is driven higher and higher because the cost of doing basic business “always comes with another price.” He warned that the people who bear the brunt of this are ordinary Zimbabweans. – SW Radio Africa News

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *