Culture of silence is killing Zimbabwe


One of the things that has killed Zimbabwe is the culture of silence. People see police officers taking, and at times demanding, bribes from motorists, from commuter omnibus drivers, from bus drivers but keep quiet about it.

Every day people see customs or immigration officers taking bribes and even encourage friends to pay these bribes. Some cross- border traders even collect money for bribes on the bus so that they can be cleared quickly and go and do their business.

People waiting in queues to be served by civil servants, say at the passport office, whine quietly when their colleagues are asked to jump the queue because they have paid someone a bribe.

The common excuse is that it is none of my business. How wrong we are. It is our business because at the end of every month we pay taxes, even if we don’t pay income tax, we pay value added tax when we buy goods.

It is from this money that that corrupt police officer, that corrupt customs officer, that corrupt immigration officer or that corrupt civil servant is paid at the end of every month.

Almost the entire government revenue which is meant for salaries of civil servants, dev elopement of infrastructure such as roads, clinics, hospitals just to name a few, comes from our taxes. By paying a bribe you are depriving the government of that tax but enriching an individual, which means you are at the same time depriving yourself of services.

The government or the same corrupt police officer or the same corrupt civil servant will stand on the platform and tell you that he or she wants zero tolerance to corruption. That is crap. It is only you as an individual and the people of Zimbabwe collectively, each taking action, that can stop corruption.

The government cannot. So it is you who should take the first step.

The Insider is providing you the platform to help us stop the rot. You can send us tips on who is doing what through our submit news or help us investigate menus. These are secure admissions which will give you the anonymity that you require. So help us save our country by allowing us to do the talking.

It is you our readers who have the information. So from time to time we will be asking you for information so that we can expose the rot in our country.

Let us not be defeatist by thinking that we cannot change anything. Things will change and it is only by acting as individuals, taking individual responsibility and acting collectively as a nation, that we can bring about change.

Whoever thought that Morgan Tsvangirai would be Prime Minister of Zimbabwe? Whoever thought that the inclusive government would last three years?

Let’s get rid of this culture of silence and this culture of fear. No one can liberate us but ourselves. Help us investigate. Spread the word to your facebook and twitter friends.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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