The United States government through its US Agency for International Development was spending US$100 000 a year on a Transparency International Zimbabwe programme that worked with the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s Public Accounts Committee in advocating anti-corruption in the public sector and in closing loopholes in legislation that makes corrupt cases easier.
TIZ was at the time headed by John Makumbe who was also sponsored by the US government to attend an International Visitor Programme to the US in early 2002.
According to a cable released by Wikileaks corruption in Zimbabwe was so rife that though it was once confined to petty transgressions, it had evolved into something on a grand scale, and had permeated every level of society from senior ministers and parastatal executives to civil servants and peasants.
“Nearly everyone with ties to government or the ruling party has benefitted from the government’s illegal and massive grab of commercial farms. A political environment of impunity has allowed opportunists to flourish and senior officials to plunder the country’s dwindling resources,” the cable says.
Viewing cable 02HARARE1376, USG ANTICORRUPTION EFFORTS IN ZIMBABWE
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001376
INL/C FOR DLUNA AND JBRANDOLINO
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
LONDON FOR CGURNEY
PARIS FOR CNEARY
TREASURY FOR EBARBER AND CWILKINSON
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: USG ANTICORRUPTION EFFORTS IN ZIMBABWE
REF: SECSTATE 90733
¶1. (SBU) Corruption at the official level in Zimbabwe has
increased markedly in the last several years as the
Government has systematically undermined the rule of law to
browbeat political opponents and the ruling party has
expanded its already considerable system of patronage.
Corruption, once confined to petty transgressions, has
evolved into something on a grand scale, and it has permeated
every level of society from senior ministers and parastatal
executives to civil servants and peasants. Nearly everyone
with ties to government or the ruling party has benefited
from the government’s illegal and massive grab of commercial
farms. A political environment of impunity has allowed
opportunists to flourish and senior officials to plunder the
country’s dwindling resources. The Government’s half-hearted
effort at an Anti-Corruption Commission in the late 1990s
floundered and it remains unfunded and unstaffed.
Prosecutors have not pursued pending corruption cases against
several ministers and other high-level officials despite
promises from the head of state at the time that justice
would be swift and impartial.
¶2. (SBU) Against this backdrop and given current chilly
US-Zimbabwe relations, the USG provides no anti-corruption
technical assistance to the GOZ. Given the GOZ’s
demonstrated lack of political will to fight corruption and
its history of politicizing and misusing direct assistance,
we would not encourage extending any assistance to the GOZ in
this area, nor would we advocate inviting GOZ representatives
to attend the anti-corruption conferences in South Korea next
¶3. (SBU) There are no notable efforts in the Zimbabwe
private sector to temper corruption, but civil society groups
periodically press the GOZ to rein in corruption.
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) leads the civil
society effort, and has a director who coordinates with other
local NGOs, such as ZimRights and the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries, in fighting corruption. USAID funds a
$100,000/year TIZ program that works with the Parliament of
Zimbabwe’s Public Accounts Committee in advocating
anti-corruption efforts in the public sector and in closing
loopholes in legislation that make corrupt practices easier.
For example, TIZ is seeking the repeal of sections of the
District Development Fund Act that tend to encourage
corruption at the local level. TIZ also continues to press
the GOZ, through the Ministry of Justice, to fund and staff
the Anti-Corruption Commission, and permit it to undertake
its mandated mission. The USG also sponsored TIZ’s director,
John Makumbe, on an International Visitor Program visit to
the U.S. in early 2002.