Corruption is a curse which retards our development

In our economic blue print, HOPE, we recognise the need to deal will corruption as a fundamental prerequisite not only to attract investors back to the country, but to ensure that public funds are applied for their intended purpose. Zimbabwe has lost billions of dollars through corruption and patronage under ZANU (PF), money which could have been used to develop the country without the need to borrow.

Corruption-BannerWe have in place what we call a looting machine which is a machinery that is oiled daily by ZANU (PF) politicians and their cronies as they seek to accumulate wealth by all means necessary.

This looting machine is oiled mainly through inflated costs on dubiously awarded government tenders, funded by Chinese loans and minerals smuggling which results in the externalisation of billions each year. The latest conservative estimate is that Africa is losing close to $90 billion per annum through illicit financial flows.

Sadly Africa’s leaders are refusing to take responsibility for this and continue to blame international capital and yet we know that most of these leaders are at the centre of corruption. They have created corrupt predatory coalitions around them and are unwilling to establish transparent democratic and accountable institutions because these would result in the loss of opportunities to steal.

Africa’s political leaders have partnered with an international predatory cabal, mainly from China and Russia, which is afforded the opportunity to plunder the nations resources and externalise billions of dollars as long as they fund the political machinery to keep the African leadership in power. Zimbabwe has not been immune to this.

As far as we at PDP are concerned, corruption is a mind-set; it is a value system that is exacerbated by sheer greed, lack of accountability, the hunger for instant material wealth and conspicuous consumption. It is further fuelled by a corrupt local business sector who benefit immensely from contracts dished out by politicians. Many have chosen rather to be part of the looting machine than to be marginalised when it comes to accessing business opportunities.

As PDP, we believe that, first and foremost, ethical and principled leadership is critical in effectively dealing with corruption.  This leadership must start at State House where the President is expected to lead by example and protect national interests at all costs. The office of the President plays a central role in promoting anti-corruption and we expect accountability and transparency of the highest level. There should be no half measures. In addition, the constitutional oversight of parliament over the affairs of the President are critical to avoid abuse of power.

We also need honest and competent leadership at all levels of public and private sector enterprises and institutions. Our leaders must be accountable and there must be consequences for non-delivery especially where the constitution is involved. Many a time we have seen public figures displaying their wealth without the fear of scrutiny because they are protected and are not accountable to the public.

In any society, there are various levels of corruption from petty corruption, which can very easily become a common habit; to the high level corruption which is mainly hidden and misunderstood by many and in most cases, never exposed.

As PDP we intend to minimise corruption in Zimbabwe by being strict on petty corruption while having very punitive measures to discourage it. We will need to make fraud, bribery or theft not worth it. When citizens know that they will pay high penalties, they will not be attracted to petty corruption because the costs or consequences will be much more than the benefits. In addition and the punishment must be applied consistently without fear or favour. Unfortunately ZANU (PF) cannot lead this process by example because they have turned a blind eye to their own corrupt practices.

In order to deal with the high level corruption, we will need an independent institution that deals with it. As PDP we will establish an economic intelligence and anti-corruption unit made up of expert professionals whose role is to investigate any suspected or reported corruption cases properly. This entity must be independent and operate outside all state institutions and must especially not be linked to the police. The individuals involved must be well paid and incentivised to avoid bribes and cover ups. In other words, it must be a highly rewarding job which attracts professionals who deliver quality work and put national interests first.

Supporting this must be an anti-corruption commission which is independent, appointed by parliament and made up of citizens who have demonstrated their integrity, who are beyond reproach and have no fear. This commission has to be above politics and cannot be answerable to or approved by a sitting President.

It is also fact that incompetence in government contributes significantly to corruption. Within government, as PDP we will ensure that employees are trained and skilled to do the jobs which they get paid for. We will also expect good governance especially the strengthening of the boards of directors in state enterprises. Patronage or ethnicity must never be tolerated.

The banking sector is also a critical partner in the anti-corruption drive and we will have regulations that can raise red flags in the case suspicious transactions. This will require a very independent, apolitical and professionally run Reserve Bank and a closely monitored and regulated banking sector.

Our judiciary will also play a central role in stemming corruption and they must be accountable for the decisions they make. This requires that politics does not interfere. Organisations such as the law society will have a central role in the upkeep of professional standards. Typically they regulate themselves through a peer review system and this needs to be encouraged and strengthened.

Our efforts will be to inculcate new value systems especially within state institutions. We must ensure that the recruitment of employees is done professionally, that performance reviews are done regularly and that people must do their work as expected. Government employees can spread corruption through their daily habits. They also must be remunerated fairly to avoid temptation.

We will also have to address the issue of conflict of interest which has become normal in Zimbabwe. Government employees must never be allowed to run a business or do any business with government. This must also apply to everyone in national and local government.

Corruption leads to millions of lost revenues for the government and it is important that our tax authorities are professional, informed and effective in doing their work. Tax authorities must at all times work in the interests of the country and be apolitical as required by the constitution.

Added to this, our police force must be well paid and looked after so that they are effective in their job. Working for the police must be made attractive and it must be satisfying and respected profession. As PDP we will transform the police and have well trained professional police force that is apolitical and serves Zimbabwe first. Their activities must however be continually monitored and all must ultimately be accountable.

Our intention as PDP is to create a totally new paradigm in the future, a paradigm which says that the people of the Zimbabwe come first and everyone, regardless of their position in society, is accountable and subject to the same rules.

PDP will promote an equitable society where the rights of every citizen are sacrosanct and have the same weight under the law but we will expect our citizens to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

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