Zimbabwe’s police are so corrupt that you can travel with a dead body from the South African border to Chirundu on the Zambian border without proper papers, a Member of Parliament said this week.
Willias Madzimure, the Member of Parliament for Kambuzuma, who sponsored the motion calling for good governance, said “you can negotiate your way through each and every roadblock as long as you have got some money put aside to bribe the police”.
He said he was so ashamed to be Zimbabwean and could not defend the police at a conference when a Zambian legislator said she only needed US$10 to bribe her way through Chirundu border post.
“She was saying it is so easy, you just smile and say how are you, are you comfortable here and the officer is already expecting something to come out of the pocket. Upon payment of US$10 to the officer, he does not even ask for any document and that is how she was negotiating her way past the police,” Madzimure said.
The rampant corruption in the police was evidenced by the number of kombis that belonged to police officers that were on the Harare roads.
“One member tried to explain where our police details were getting the money to buy kombis. He gave an example of those who had been deployed to Kosovo and the like. How many members of the Police Force have gone on those missions? Are we saying that all of them, when they come back use their money to buy kombis?” he asked.
Madzimure said another source of corruption was the roadblocks and spot fines. He said with the new technology available, there was no need for the police to collect spot fines.
“The argument that the police have always put across is that it costs probably US$200 to try and recover US$10. That is an excuse that should have been used way back before the advent of technology.
“These days you give one a ticket and at the end of the day, you take the receipt books and feed into a computer, which transmits the information to the CVR and ZIMRA. When the person goes to ZIMRA to pay for his/her license, he or she will be slapped with those tickets. That is the use of technology. Their argument that they will use more money to collect less money is a lame argument that is purely used to justify something that is unjustifiable.”
MR. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I want to add my voice again to this very important motion. There is something that I want to say about corruption which we have to deal with first before we proceed. Corruption is the kind of crime that is very difficult to sometimes detect, to the extent that if we continue to put the onus to prove the issue of corruption to the accused, we are fighting a losing war from the word go.
Corruption Mr. Speaker, for it to be fought successfully, the onus to prove innocence should lie with the corrupt person. There is nowhere in the world where the onus to prove corruption has been placed on governments and have managed to successfully fight corruption. It is clear that we have corruption in Zimbabwe and if we then say if I, as a Member of Parliament am approached by my constituents, the people that we say we represent, they give you information and you are then expected to investigate first before you raise the issue, then you will not successfully fight corruption.
This calls for us as members to look critically at the laws that deal with corruption. The laws that we have are not adequately prepared to fight corruption. Therefore, there is need to have a clear definition of a law that deals with corruption. So, I am of the opinion that we should have an Anti-Corruption Bill which the Executive should bring to this House. This Bill should define corrupt crimes to enable us to fight corruption.
Going to the issue of institutions that fight corruption Mr. Speaker, one of the institutions that should help us fight corruption is the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Hon. Mashayamombe was very correct when he said that the Police has become one of the most corrupt institutions in Zimbabwe. This is why Zimbabwe is now very lowly ranked as far as corruption is concerned. Mr. Speaker, you can travel with a dead body from the South African border post without the proper papers up to Chirundu. You can negotiate your way through each and every roadblock as long as you have got some money put aside to bribe the Police.
Mr. Speaker, I was ashamed and felt so bad when I was attending a certain conference and our Police were used as an example. I have also experienced some of these things. So, I could not defend our own Police. There was a Member of Parliament from Zambia who was telling me of what she did from the border up to Chirundu border, negotiating her way through our Police. She was saying it is so easy, you just smile and say how are you, are you comfortable here and the officer is already expecting something to come out of the pocket. Upon payment of US$10 to the officer, he does not even ask for any document and that is how she was negotiating her way past the Police.
Mr. Speaker, this is evident from the fact that you look at the kombis plying the routes of Harare. They are labeled Chikurubi, Mbare Glen-Norah, Mabvuku Police Station and now, they are busy trying to remove those addresses. One member tried to explain where our Police details were getting the money to buy kombis. He gave an example of those who had been deployed to Kosovo and the like. How many members of the Police Force have gone on those missions? Are we saying that all of them, when they come back use their money to buy kombis?
Mr. Speaker, we need to deal with that corruption. When Hon. Mashayamombe talked about the issue of spot fines – Mr. Speaker, we are in a world of technology where we can actually use machines at roadblocks. The argument that the Police have always put across is that it costs probably US$200 to try and recover US$10. That is an excuse that should have been used way back before the advent of technology.
These days you give one a ticket and at the end of the day, you take the receipt books and feed into a computer, which transmits the information to the CVR and ZIMRA. When the person goes to ZIMRA to pay for his/her license, he or she will be slapped with those tickets. That is the use of technology. Their argument that they will use more money to collect less money is a lame argument that is purely used to justify something that is unjustifiable.
Mr. Speaker, another issue that we must deal with as we debate this particular motion is how those corrupt elements of our society should be punished. What the corrupt people do, after having amassed wealth through corrupt means, after having siphoned those proceeds outside this country, they use certain means and ways to clean the money or bring back the money.
You siphon the money out and the next thing you bring a tanker full of fuel using the proceeds and you deliver the fuel to any one of the service stations. When you are paid, you deposit the money and use the proceeds to buy anything that you want. It now appears to be clean when actually the assets that you may be acquiring are products of corruption. Therefore, as a country, we must start looking at ways and means of making sure that we recover through the acquisition of those proceeds of corruption.
As Zimbabwe, we are signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. In that particular Convention which was ratified by more than 50 countries, Zimbabwe being one of them, there are resources available which Zimbabwe can also access to make sure that it tracks down the proceeds of corruption. If we want as Zimbabwe, to find out why we do not have a lot of money in our banks but we have got a lot of money that we use to import, you look at our Balance Sheet.
We have very little exports, about US$ 3 billion but we import US$8 billion worth of products. You then ask where the money to bring back those products is coming from. Those are the proceeds of corruption.
So, if we want as Zimbabwe to recover what these people take out of this country through corrupt means, we can do so through the engagement of the United Nations. If you want to know exactly who in Zimbabwe banks with which bank outside, it is possible for us to get the information. So, for corruption to be dealt with effectively, we must chase those corrupt people, follow them up here in Zimbabwe and outside Zimbabwe. That is the only way we can fight corruption.
There is also the issue of assets declaration. In our Standing Rules Orders booklet, there is a provision that requires us, as Members of Parliament, to declare our assets the moment we are sworn. That Mr. Speaker, we have not done. It is us, Members of Parliament who are appointed Ministers. I heard another hon. member talking about Ministers declaring their assets.
If Members of Parliament had declared their assets upon being sworn in this House, we would have gathered the information already. For us to start doing that now, again it is trying to close the door after the horse has already bolted out. All the same, Mr. Speaker, it is honourable for this House to lead by example. Members of Parliament must declare their assets.
It is not a crime for one to be rich Mr. Speaker, but it is how you become rich. I do not see it as a crime if members can say today, this is what I have. You are declaring what you have and it will be up to your constituents to judge you when you acquire more wealth. I urge, through you Mr. Speaker, Members of Parliament to declare their assets.
Mr. Speaker, we have got a number of issues that we have to deal with. In the local authorities, Mr. Speaker, there is the issue of land that is allocated to individuals. There is also this problem that there is no clear rule that governs the issue of land. Who owns what land in a local authority? Who has what authority over that particular land? Who should issue what land and to who? That Mr. Speaker has to be addressed. This is where a lot of corruption takes place.
Mr. Speaker, I would also want to say to hon. members, when we start to debate issues, we must also ensure we conclude that particular debate. There is still a debate that is outstanding were Members of Parliament raised their concerns regarding the land barons. That is corruption and the issue now seems to be dying a natural death. We have not dealt with those culprits, those people who have swindled a lot of people a lot of money.
Those people who have caused serious suffering when people’s homes are then demolished because they will have wrongly allocated land under electric cables or on top sewer pipes. As members, we must also deal with that particular problem and I think that what Hon. Zindi is seeking for, which is something we thought was going to be allowed from the word go; that a Committee be put in place for it to help in the investigations.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development came here trying to appraise the House on what the Government is doing as far as corporate governance is concerned and talked about a Cabinet Committee that was going to deal with the issue of forensic audits. Mr. Speaker, there is no way the same Ministers who appointed these board members who had their secretaries sitting in boards will be in a position to oversee a process of a forensic audit.
It is my submission that what Cabinet should have done, which is an honourable thing, is to say, yes, we were sleeping on duty, let a commission be put in place. The Sandura Commission which dealt with the Willowgate scandal did a tremendous job and we still have very credible judges, some who have retired and others who are still in office who can preside over that particular exercise. That exercise does not require us to gloss over issues, or to have a cosmetic approach to the solution. It requires a serious approach that ensures that we deal with the issue of corruption.
Unless we do that, ZIM ASSET will remain a pipe dream. It is a very good document which requires us to do a lot of work. Through ZIM ASSET, we can create those $2, 5 million jobs that ZANU PF had in its manifesto. Through ZIM ASSET, the jobs can be created but I tell you, I will be here in December to check how many jobs we will have created.
Unless we arrest this scourge and arrest it now, it will remain a pipe dream. So, nothing is going to happen, Mr. Speaker. The issue of the Anti-corruption Commission is a sad story. One, the credibility of the people we appoint into that particular commission, Mr. Speaker, there must be a serious approach to the manner in which we select the members to head that particular commission and that commission must be well funded as I have said. It also requires strong legislation that will allow the commission to work. It is important that that commission be put in place as quickly as possible and it is given enough resources to do its job. The laws are clear enough.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would want to talk about the issue of whistle blowers. Mr. Speaker, when you had a small debate with Hon. Zindi on the use of the word ‘gag’ that she used, you need to protect the people who bring information, especially on corruption. Some people have lost their lives after having tried to expose the issues of corruption. The moment people think that there are certain loopholes that they can use to muzzle Parliament, we then have a serious challenge.
I strongly submit that we need a very strong whistle blowing law that will protect the whistle blowers so that we get more information as Members of Parliament. When we bring the information, especially the information that pertains to people like the Ministers, I think those are Members of Parliament who can come to this House and defend themselves. They are just like any other Member of Parliament who has the right to defend himself/herself. So, whenever there is anything that is raised and a Minister thinks that it is not proper or pertains to one’s parastatal and one is implicated, the Minister can use his privilege to issue a Ministerial Statement to correct the wrong picture or image that a member in this House will have painted that particular Minister.
We really need to tackle head-on the issue of corruption, boards and smaller boards within an institution. Take an example, the City of Harare. The City of Harare has created various companies and you find people like the Town Clerk or Chamber Secretary sitting in various boards, sub-boards of the same institution that they are supposed to preside over. What kind of a result will you expect? It must be made completely impossible for a Chief Executive to sit on a board of a sister company of his or her organisation. It is unheard of. Those issues must be dealt with and dealt with now.
We have seen it happening where smaller companies have been created. In the City of Harare, they are now in the process of creating a Water department which they have already created. You then ask, what are the laws that govern the activities of that particular company? The residents are not consulted. Sometimes, even the council does not sit to resolve issues, the creation of those companies.
We have got Easy Park and the other one which I do not know by name. These two different companies deal with the same situation. The by-laws provide for the City of Harare Municipality Police who are supposed to be policing the issue of parking and the issue of raking. We now have this responsibility being given to another company to do so. What is the role of the Municipal Police now? The whole reason is to confuse the situation so that more monies are siphoned out of the City of Harare.
Mr. Speaker, I think these are some of the governance issues that we must deal with. The issue of Ministers giving directives to parastatals, a directive can only be issued when there is something that is made public. This should be made on something that is being done wrongly by a parastatal or by a local authority. But, you cannot give a directive to say, do not employ people to do this particular activity, employ to do this and create a department that is not the responsibility of the Ministries.
The same argument that we have is that we need specialists. Ministers are not specialists. They are simply appointed and as a result, they cannot run these parastatals on a day to day basis. The moment we have such interferences Mr. Speaker, we will have a problem. That sometimes weakens the CEOs. What the CEOs now do for them to remain in real control is, they give something to the Minister so that they silence him.
The moment you talk about the CEO of GMB, the Ministers stand up in defence of the CEO. This is because that Minister will have been compromised. Those are the issues Mr. Speaker that we have to deal with.
Lastly, Mr. Speaker, on the issue of corporate governance, we must have systems that are recognised and that are known. We have got very educated people who must deal with the issue, or organisational structures and people who must deal with organisational systems. We must know what happens when time to increase a CEO’s salary comes.
Who does what in that particular process? Who authorises, and all this must be known. Whenever you want to commit an act of corruption, you first attack the systems. Once the systems are in disarray, you can now get away with anything. It is important that we go back to a situation where each company is governed by systems that are recognised Mr. Speaker.
Even when you create a department, there must be authority to do so. Who is the final authority? As far as local authorities and rural councils are concerned, the final authority should be the council. Members of Parliament sit in those councils and councillors sit in those councils.
Members of Parliament and the councillors all want to be voted back. So whatever they do, they know that it has consequences. How do you then allow a CEO of a rural authority to communicate with the Permanent Secretary without going through the council, and you expect the council to be accountable. That does not work Mr. Speaker.
If you do not have faith in the elected officials, then come up with another system of governance, because this is provided for in the Constitution. Right now, we have got the Provincial Councils. Some of the problems that we are encountering, if we had established the system of Provincial Councils where all these MPs and their councillors would sit in their own provinces, they also expect their provinces to prosper.
They expect their provinces to be number one. They expect their provinces to do well and they will not allow a CEO to get away with this murder, where you find someone getting even $50,000.00.
I was looking at the President of Cameroon’s salary. It is not beyond two hundred thousand pounds a year. But, you have your own CEO heading a limping organisation here in Zimbabwe, where one cannot provide safe water for the people, getting $50,000.00, $60,000.00 and an allowance of $2,000.00 per week in cash, for what? Mr. Speaker, people have said they protect individuals because of the public good. Coming to Harare, we have got craters, not potholes. We go for three/four days without water. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Three days! Isu tine three weeks] –
Mr. Speaker, you do not have medicine at council clinics. The employees are not being paid. So what public good do you keep individuals for? Individuals who will have failed should be removed. I expect Hon. Chinamasa to come up with a detailed good corporate governance framework where the issue of sanctions is there. It is up to us to judge these parastatals and council leaders. We must be given that opportunity and people must be accountable. The issue of corruption is the biggest problem that we have in this country. It is exactly the result of our economic demise Mr. Speaker.
I implore Members of Parliament to continue debating, but with one thing in mind and that is, it is our Zimbabwe that we are trying to build. It is our Zimbabwe that we are trying to shape and make sure that we leave this country a sound country that our children will remember us for having done Mr. Speaker. The individuals that are lining their pockets are evenly reckless. They do not even know where to deposit their monies. They do not deposit their monies in our banks and they build houses in Pretoria and Cape Town, overlooking the oceans. That does not help our poor people…
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER: Hon. member, you are left with five minutes.
MR. MADZIMURE: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I would want to wind up my motion and implore members not to be prisoners of the machinations of the rich that would not expect you to talk here in Parliament. You must speak up because you know what is happening and you have got the evidence. Some of you have got even written documents in your pockets but, you choose to absent yourself from this particular debate because you are afraid. Those are what we call traitors and let us not be traitors. Let us work for Zimbabwe. I thank you Mr. Speaker.