Former police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka who is now the Member of Parliament for Buhera West hailed the media for the pivotal role it was playing in exposing corruption but at the same time he urged the media to investigate issues and not just smear people without concrete evidence.
Contributing to the motion on god governance, Mandipaka said: “The media plays a pivotal role as the fourth estate someone alluded to. It plays a watchdog role and it is important that we respect the role that the media plays in bringing to the fore some of these issues that might be happening behind our back.
“On the same note, I would also urge the media to be thorough in whatever investigative journalism that they employ themselves in so that at the end of the day we do not just smear but we have concrete evidence.
“In law we say, he who alleges a fact must prove it. Therefore, there is need for our media to verify when they look at these cases.”
Mandipaka also called for harsher punishment for those who are corrupt and said he was fully behind Settlement Chikwinya.
Chikwinya called for capital punishment for corrupt parastatal heads saying this was what China did and since Zimbabwe had adopted a Look East policy, it should do the same.
MR. MANDIPAKA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me time to also say one or two things in relation to this very important motion that was moved by Hon. Madzimure and seconded by Hon. Chikwinya. I recollect Mr. Speaker Sir, that when His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe officially opened the Eighth Parliament, he vowed to zero tolerance to corruption –[HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- He also vowed that his administration would crack down, if I am to use his words, he said his administration would crack down on high level corruption.
I think from what is coming out of this House, this is the right time that we live up to the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe’s words to crack down on high level corruption -[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
Mr. Speaker Sir, when Hon. Madzimure made a reflection of the songs that were being sung during the liberation struggle, it touched my heart. If you go through the song, understand the lyrics of that song. It was something to do with perfection of the human mind, character, behaviour and so on. I think as Zimbabweans, we need to reflect on the basics that caused some of us to wedge a protracted struggle.
I was very glad to note that, although Hon. Madzimure is in the opposition, he correctly articulated that, there were certain virtues and values that were important for a nation coming out of the songs that were being sung during the liberation struggle -[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- I would want to thank Hon. Madzimure in a very great way. One of the days, I was reading The Herald, there is a column that Panganai Kahuni normally writes. Panganai Kahuni, Mr. Speaker Sir, is a Political Socio-Economic Commentator. He talks about corruption as an illicit industry. He says the corruption vice that has engulfed our economy in both the private and public sector needs a holistic, courageous and honest fight to eradicate it.
I think he was telling the truth because I got the shock of my life to understand that in this country, given the economic situation that we are under, there are certain people who pocket well over US$300 000 per month. I got the shock of my life to be very honest. Mr. Speaker Sir, let me reiterate that where we come from, from the villages there, there are people who are poverty stricken, to the extent that if you get that US$300 000 which someone is pocketing per month, you are able to cater for five or more wards in terms household projects.
We need to be very serious when we talk about corruption in this country. There is another column again The Herald, it is an analysis column, where writers from all walks of life share their opinions. I was reading an article by Ben Tsododo. He points out that the world one day, just woke up to some unprecedented news from the European Union, where Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Marystar said or produced a damning report on corruption in Europe. She actually highlighted that there was breathtaking corruption in Europe, costing European countries as much as United States US$160 billion per year.
When I look at corruption I see it as a vice which knows no boundary at all. So it would not be correct to assert that corruption is more rife in Africa than any other countries. I want to believe from what we read from various articles that corruption has become a worldwide pandemic, just perhaps as good as HIV/AIDS. One of the days I was singing aloud and saying look this country is under sanctions, sanctions are glowing at the roots our existence, but I now want to believe that corruption too like sanctions is gnawing at the roots of our existence and we need to do something -[HON MEMBERS: Hear, hear]-
Mr. Speaker Sir, Corruption erodes public trust; it undermines the strength of economies, if we do not act now we will not have done justice to this great nation of Zimbabwe –[HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear]- I want to support the thinking by Hon. Madzimure, seconded by Hon. Chikwinya and also the position that Hon. Chinotimba took that there an urgent need for that matter, that we come up with an almost perfect Committee that looks into all these alleged corrupt activities in various sectors of our economy. There is need for a very powerful, honest, courageous and right minded Committee that looks into these aspects, for the sake of transparency. I also want to believe that good corporate governance is so necessary, if we are to combat corruption.
Mr. Speaker Sir, if scandals that are being reported in the media, both private and public are anything to go by, then what should follow is proper and thorough investigations, so that this nation is properly informed of what is taking place. Issues that come to the public domain are matters of interest to almost everyone, even men along the streets.
There is need Mr. Speaker Sir, that as a country we take corrective measures where people go astray. I will also attempt to define what corruption is. Section 174 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act, Chapter 9:03 states that it is criminal abuse of duty as public officer. If a public officer, in the exercise of duty or her functions as such intentionally does anything that is contrary to or inconsistent with his or her duty as a public officer or omits to do anything, which it is his or her duty as a public officer to do, for the purpose of showing favour or disfavour to any person, he or she shall be guilty of criminal abuse of duty as a public officer.
However, if you look at the Criminal Law Codification Reform Act, the punishment that is meted to those that are found wanting or in breach of this section that I have cited, I do not think in my view, it is punitive enough or deterrent enough. I want to believe that there is need on our part to make sure that we craft laws that incorporate deterrent sentences; very deterrent and very punitive so that at the end of the day, we live an honest life.
It is shocking to read from our newspapers headlines like the one I am going to talk about here. It was in the Herald, ‘Prison Services loses $US1.8 million in tender scam.’ It was in the Herald of 11th February, 2014. I do not want to believe Mr. Speaker Sir, that US$1.8 million is little money; that is a lot of money. I think we need to debate this motion with the seriousness it deserves. This has had negative impact even in the operations of our Prison Services or any other Government institutions. I think there is need on our part to act and to act now.
Mr. Speaker Sir, when I relate to the definition of corruption, again I would want to say corruption includes the use of public office for private gain or personal benefit. If you use a public office for your personal aggrandizement, that is corruption. Corrupt behaviour Mr. Speaker Sir would include the following: bribery, extortion, issues to do with fraud, misappropriation of funds or embezzlement, cronyism or nepotism, appropriation of public assets or property for private use. That in itself amounts to corruption.
I think it is high time this nation must have people of integrity and people who are honest. We have come of age Mr. Speaker Sir, 33 to 34 years after independence and it is important that we be sincere to the cause of our brothers and sisters who are very poor. I would also want to say that conduct of economic business affairs like in sports or soccer require observance of certain rules of the game so that proceedings are orderly and we are also able to maintain a sense of fair play. This also will necessitate the prevention of disastrous conflicts when we abide by rules and orders. It also assists us as a nation to keep greedy, predatory human instincts in check because we have greedy, predatory human instincts that must be kept in check. So good corporate governance is necessary. If we employ good corporate governance, we also minimise socially undesirable consequences. Lastly, to ensure that referees and players abide by certain accepted standards, those rules are very necessary. Therefore, we also need rules and regulations in our parastatals and our private sector.
Mr. Speaker Sir, as a nation we need to be accountable to those people that elect us into office. We need to be transparent in whatever we do so that this suspicion is not there. Mr. Speaker Sir, there is Professor Syed Hussein Alatas of Malaysia, I was reading an article about this man. He is a noted authority on corruption. He believes leadership has a key role in combating corruption. As we sit here as hon. members, we are leaders to a certain level. We have a key role to make sure that we combat corruption. We have a role as well to set an example to be honest, to have integrity and capacity for hard work and once we do that as a nation, we build this nation for future generations.
Mr. Speaker Sir, we need firmness and boldness in decision making. At the same time, we recommend that we need credibility. I urge the Government to be serious about fighting corruption.
The media plays a pivotal role as the fourth estate someone alluded to. It plays a watchdog role and it is important that we respect the role that the media plays in bringing to the fore some of these issues that might be happening behind our back. On the same note, I would also urge the media to be thorough in whatever investigative journalism that they employ themselves in so that at the end of the day we do not just smear but we have concrete evidence. In law we say, he who alleges a fact must prove it. Therefore, there is need for our media to verify when they look at these cases.
Mr. Speaker Sir, last but not least, I would want to support colleagues who talked about institutional strengthening in as far as making laws in this Legislative House are concerned. We need very strong laws. I do not know whether it was Hon. Chikwinya or Hon.Madzimure who cited China, for an example. The penalties that they impose to persons that are found wanting in this regard; I think it is high time Mr. Speaker Sir, that we also look at that because corruption has become endemic, pandemic and there is need on our part to have a collective voice to ensure that this animal corruption is minimised if not eliminated. Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir, for affording me time to add my voice.