Can you trust a buyer?


Trust is earned and is a result of honouring integrity. It takes only one stupid moment to destroy the trust that one builds over a million years according to one of the late Lucky Dube’s songs.

To be trusted by someone is something interestingly valuable and the path is honouring your integrity.

The importance of integrity in purchasing and supply is that it makes a difference in life; it touches up to the level of an ordinary citizen.

This article is motivated by my earlier articles that highlighted the new phenomenon, a shift of company’s competitiveness driver to the purchasing and supply function through managing costs and quality. If businesses are competitive, the nation prospers.

To be a person of integrity requires buyers to uphold a level of social moral standards, have some form of ethical standards, and abide by some legal standards of right or wrong, good and bad behaviour in the society.

For buyers to earn trust there must be a system that enshrines morality, ethics and the law.

Morality is defined as a character of being in accordance with the principles or standards of right conduct and the principles of right and wrong in conduct.

It means conformity with the generally accepted standards of goodness or rightness in conduct or character.

Ethics are defined as conforming to the standards of conduct of a given profession or group. Ethics is the agreed standard of right and wrong conduct, what is considered by that group as good and bad behaviour of a person or the entire group and may include defined bases for discipline including exclusion.

Legality is defined as the quality or state of being in accordance with the law. The law is the system of rules that particular country or community recognises as regulating actions of its members and may enforce by imposing penalties.

The system allows the State through the exercise of its policing powers and judicial processes to use threats and enforce penalties.

To encourage an environment that buyers earn trust from the public, there must be a relationship between morality, ethics and legality to build a system with integrity.

This implies that when one subscribes to a group that has principles of right and wrong conduct that has capacity to distinguish between right and wrong conduct and operating with national rules that have capacity to impose penalties through policing and the judicial, an integral system exists and citizens will have confidence.

Zimbabweans were highly regarded before the start of hyperinflationary environment. The social forces of legality, morality and ethics that introduce and influence values (good, bad, right, wrong, etc) ceased to exist in individuals and the government systems.

Although laws continued to exist, enforcement was heavily eroded from around 2006/7 resulting in high costs of dealing buyers without integrity.

The situation depicted a system like a blocked sewer reticulatin and the backlash sickening residents and passers-by.

Like a blocked pipe, an out-of-integrity system generally starts unnoticed and as the problem remains ignored or unresolved the accumulation of the malfunctioning apparatus creates an unpleasant condition.

Zimbabwe needs to move fast to restore integrity in purchasing and supply. The legal system must provide for policing and judicial systems being able to impose penalties to perpetrators unselectively.

In addition to legality, morality and ethics, there is need to enshrine authority in a self regulatory purchasing and supply council to enhance integrity and professionalism thereby restoring the trust Zimbabwean buyers used to have.

Nyasha Chizu is the chairman of CIPS Zimbabwe branch and writes in his personal capacity. Email: