Govt urged to craft laws to protect whistleblowers

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Legal experts have called on the inclusion of a clause in the General Laws Amendment Bill to be soon crafted in Parliament to protect whistleblowers who may want to report corruption.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Tafadzwa Ralph Mugabe of Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel on Friday told delegates at the launch of four Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) publications on corruption in Bulawayo that the General Laws Amendment Bill as it was currently crafted did not adequately include clauses that will deal with corruption in Zimbabwe or protect whistleblowers.

“It is high time we demand that the institution of protecting whistleblowers is legalised because there is lack of confidence in institutions that deal with corruption and lack of a whistleblower law,” Mugabe said.

“The General Laws Amendment Bill failed to include substantive clauses or at least a sentence that provides for protection of whistleblowers.”

Mugabe said this was necessary to avoid situations where citizens ended up bearing the brunt of illicit borrowings such as what happened with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Debt Assumption Bill.
Another lawyer who was part of the TIZ panelists, Thandaza Masiye Moyo, said a law to deal with corruption was now imperative given the level of impunity where court orders were ignored.

“There has been some entrenched impunity and frustration where people report corruption, but nothing is done,” Masiye Moyo said.

One of the TIZ publications – The Annual State of Corruption Report which focused on State-owned enterprises — revealed failure to have an overarching legislation for the governance of State enterprises and parastatals (SEPs) led to constraints in their effectiveness, autonomy and accountability.

TIZ researchers Samukele Hadebe, Mary Jane Ncube (TIZ executive director) and Farai Mutondoro revealed in the book that in 2012 moves to draft legislation to deal with SEPs and curb corruption were thwarted by the Attorney-General’s Office during the coalition government.

“Despite the fact that the principles of the Bill on SEPs management and the principles of the Bill on State Enterprises Restructuring Agency were adopted by Cabinet in 2011, the AG’s Office failed to produce the documents for presentation to Parliament. The assumption was that the AG was acting on instructions of some ministers or the Office of the President and Cabinet, both of which stood to lose some influence and control to the opposition minister of SEPs (Gorden Moyo) had the Bills been passed by Parliament as law during the Government of National Unity,” they said.

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