Police cannot arrest corrupt government officials because they are afraid of politicians and the corruption is being covered up by “the high office”, a Member of Parliament for Manicaland Fanny Chirisa said.
Chirisa said corruption was so rampant and entrenched in society that it would be very difficult to eradicate. There was even a perception that it was now a way of life.
She said if people had listened to Thomas Mapfumo when he sang about corruption years ago, instead of banning his song, they would have gone a long way by now.
“It is going to be hard for us hon. members here to fight corruption as it has gone unchallenged for a very, very long time. Mr. Speaker Sir, a number of corrupt cases have been swept under the carpet……
“Mr. Speaker Sir, the world over now thinks corruption is accepted in Zimbabwe in the high places and even those who purport to be friends of Zimbabwe, are now also involved in corruption. They believe and it is true that they can get away with it because nothing is being done.
“It is also believed that when the heat is on, like it is now, the high office summons these lieutenants to give them warnings and tell them to cover their tracks and hence no action is going to be taken. The police cannot even arrest the corrupt Government officials because they fear us the politicians,” she said.
MRS. CHIRISA: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I think we should all remember that we are a member of the global village. Zimbabwe has signed a lot of regional, continental and international treaties and the protocol against corruption has been signed at all levels. These are regionally, continentally and internationally. The signed protocols are SADC Protocol Against Corruption- signed 14, August, 2001. AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption – Signed on the 18th November, 2003 and Ratified (17 December, 2006) by Zimbabwe. United Nations Convention Against Corruption was signed on the 20 th February, 2004 and ratified (8 March 2007) by Zimbabwe.
Mr. Speaker Sir, it is no longer a local matter but a transnational phenomenon that affects all economies, making international cooperation to prevent and control its essentials. We must make sure that we are making efforts to deal with it so that at least we are seen to be doing something. As a member of the Global Village, the other states are looking at us to see how we are dealing with this corruption. I think Zimbabwe is one of those top ten countries in terms of corruption. I beg to say to this House like Hon. Mguni has said that may be we need to do something as Parliament so that we can be recognised that we are doing something.
Individual states have taken responsibility of fighting corruption and Zimbabwe is included. My question is how far have we gone in fighting corruption besides the debates that we are having in this august House? I think it is high time we think of how best to deal with corruption because all those who are dealing in corruption are getting away with it because nothing has been done.
Corruption is now also linked to other violations of national and international law, including organised crime and economic crisis. Since this is now a universal problem, it cannot be effectively dealt with individually because some of these people who are corrupt like cross borders and things they are hiding there – I think it is a universal problem. We need to link with these other countries regionally and internationally to deal with this corruption Mr. Speaker Sir.
Anti-corruption treaties are part of the international law, regional law and national level. I want to take this august House back to when Thomas Mapfumo composed and sang a song called Corruption. Instead of taking him seriously and investigate, we banned this song. This is the time when some people had realised that there is corruption going on in the country. We should have done something about it. The corruption should not have reached this alarming level that we found ourselves in Mr. Speaker Sir. It is now a cancer and it needs to be fought. It has been rampant in this country unabated for a long time and nothing has been done. It is going to be hard for us hon. members here to fight corruption as it has gone unchallenged for a very, very long time.
Mr. Speaker Sir, a number of corrupt cases have been swept under the carpet. Here we are dealing and debating on recent cases of corruption, what about the previous cases which were not tackled. What comes to mind is the VIP housing scandal for civil servants. Unfortunately this was the late Minister Chikowore’s project.
We have the War Veterans Victims’ Compensation Fund which is being debated in this House. When the war veterans were given Z$50 000, this led to the collapse of the currency and the economy on the 14th February 1997 and the day became known as the ‘Black Friday’. The land Reform led to vandalism of agricultural equipment and agriculture has never been the same since then, Zimbabwe ceased to be the bread basket of Africa.
Mr. Speaker Sir, the world over now thinks corruption is accepted in Zimbabwe in the high places and even those who purport to be friends of Zimbabwe, are now also involved in corruption. They believe and it is true that they can get away with it because nothing is being done. It is also believed that when the heat is on, like it is now, the high office summons these lieutenants to give them warnings and tell them to cover their tracks and hence no action is going to be taken. The police cannot even arrest the corrupt Government officials because they fear us the politicians.
Mr. Speaker Sir, there is no political will to curb corruption. I think it is high time corruption is dealt with once and for all. This 8th Parliament can do this and change the bad image of the country to the best image and leave a legacy. I thank you Mr. Speaker.