Zimbabwe’s eighth parliament must go on record as being the one that stopped corruption in the country because corruption is now everywhere in Zimbabwe, even in the bathrooms, the Member of Parliament for Mangwe Obedingwa Mguni said.
He said Members of Parliament must sign a petition that they are against corruption but did not say to who they would hand over the petition to.
“Anti-corruption begins with me, anticorruption begins with you and anti-corruption begins with all of us,” he said. “Corruption is everywhere in Zimbabwe. You go to the schools, hospitals, police stations and even the bathrooms, there is corruption. It is an unlawful act that diminishes the dignity of a human being and prevents development.”
“As long as we have got these two things existing in order, sanctions and corruption, we will not make it. As long as those two things are vibrant and existing in this country, we may not realise the goals of our ZIM ASSET.”
The way forward, he said, was to create institutions that dealt with corruption such as an anti-corruption unit, a unit that forfeits all the proceeds of corruption, a commercial crime unit, forensic investigators and vibrant investigative journalism.
Mguni said he had noticed that some of his colleagues had lost hope that the country can eradicate corruption.
“Some of them have given up or think we are just talking and nothing is going to happen. We are being let down by a lot of these investigators where a corrupt situation will be described but there is no action taken. We just need an example of one or two to start showing that corruption is not accepted in our country,” he said
MR. MGUNI: I am glad to be debating on this touching the environment in our country. When this started, with the vibe that was in Parliament, I thought by the end of this debate all the Parliamentarians would sign a petition that this Eighth Parliament is there to fight against corruption in a way that it has to be counted in the history of Zimbabwe, that the Eighth Parliament stood up against corruption at this level until it went down. Therefore, it means anti-corruption begins with me, anticorruption begins with you and anti-corruption begins with all of us.
Corruption is everywhere in Zimbabwe. You go to the schools, hospitals, police stations and even the bathrooms, there is corruption. It is an unlawful act that diminishes the dignity of a human being and prevents development as he mentioned. I fear the ZIM ASSET story which has been spread around the country, that as long as we have got these two things existing in order, sanctions and corruption, we will not make it. As long as those two things are vibrant and existing in this country, we may not realise the goals of our ZIM ASSET. That is a brilliant thing but I have fears.
How is this corruption done in Zimbabwe? Due to the fact that we are a highly literate organised country, a lot of us are educated and therefore, there is a lot of white collar crime. People can twist systems and policies as mentioned before. On contracts, there is a lot of conflict of interest in this country, fraudulent acts and there are certain services that should be provided freely but now they are charged, like we heard that to go into a hospital, the security guy wants something. That is a free service as the guy is paid as a security guy but there is additional charges on her way there. That is rife in Zimbabwe.
Some people have been given too much power to make decisions. For example, an Australian lady I met when we were at the Conference Centre said, in Switzerland, the country charges 78% from the profit you make. The fiscal takes that to state but companies are investing. In Zimbabwe, somebody will say it is 51/49% to one person and to the other he will say, let us talk or negotiate. So that person has been granted powers to negotiate out of the rules, regulations or policy. To give somebody a lot of powers, you are giving an opportunity for corruption to creep in.
What is the way forward? I have seen countries like South Africa; they have got these following units. They have got an anti-corruption unit, a forfeiting unit whereby if somebody is found to have taken something that does not belong to him or her, they follow up and go and forfeit and there is an Act that supports that unit to forfeit or take it back.
There is investigative journalism. It is allowed in South Africa where journalists are so free to question a suspect so that the people who go to make a follow up, have already seen what is there. There is also a commercial crime unit and forensic investigators. These departments were formed to fight against corruption, so it shows that corruption is not a simple thing. You cannot just walk around saying corruption, corruption.
I am also touched that a lot of the Members of Parliament, when we started debating on this topic, some of them went out showing that some of them have lost hope. Some of them have given up or think we are just talking and nothing is going to happen. We are being let down by a lot of these investigators where a corrupt situation will be described but there is no action taken. We just need an example of one or two to start showing that corruption is not accepted in our country. There are two from those that I mentioned, the organisations that have been disabled to fight against corruption.
If you look at Section 119, it says that the Parliament should scrutinize, check, do everything and see whether the Executive are accountable and are doing according to the correct governance systems. But now, the Parliament as the previous speaker said, cannot do that as they do not have their allowances or any mobile means to go and scrutinise and some of them are even denied access. For example, when I went to the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, I was denied access by a receptionist. She said aah! where are you from? I said, I am Hon. Mguni. Can I see the Minister. She said aah! you cannot see the Minister, honourable. What do you want?
If you look at some of the systems, you will see that there are certain places where transparency, inclusiveness and accountability is not there. They do not want people to scrutinise or to come and ask questions. They do not want you to see what is happening there. That is already a formula for corruption. If there is no transparency, inclusiveness and accountability, then nothing is going to be done against corruption.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we propose that as Zimbabweans and we as parliamentarians, we should start to show that we are fighting against corruption. Let us not lose hope. Let us not give up. I am aware that there is a seminar that was held today and those people were briefing Parliamentarians that even if you talk and talk in your Parliament, no action is taken – they said so. They know now that in Parliament we debate about corruption but nothing happens.
What must we do for something to happen? I said we have to formulate a petition as Parliament. I will also support the mover on the proposal that there should be a committee established but that committee must be skilled, not only named to say that Mr. Mguni usually debates in Parliament let us put him in. We need skilled people; people who we know understand commercial crime so that we are very useful and fruitful and can bring up results. I thank you Mr. Speaker.