Political will needed to curb VID corruption

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The protests by driving school instructors in Harare against the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID) for alleged corruption could not have come at a better time.

NewsDay Editor

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This is because endemic corruption has blighted many State departments such that it has become the norm rather than a blemish on their service delivery.

For years on end, scandals involving VID officers have rocked the local scene yet government has failed to stop graft resulting in some officers becoming more audacious in their conduct.

There is no doubt that endemic corruption across all sectors has been exacerbated by lack of political will to stamp the vice out. The brazen conduct by political leaders in the country has also resulted in the economy faltering, in a way impoverishing the citizenry.

It is unfortunate that although Transport minister Joram Gumbo has promised to stamp out corruption at the VID, he has not really showed the wherewithal to fight the worsening vice at the parastatal.

Zimbabweans are hoping the protests by the driving instructors in Harare could serve as a precursor to what should mark the beginning of effective measures to ruthlessly deal with graft.

Indeed, corruption is a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy, diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity; already-tight national budgets and crowd out important national investments. It also wastes the talent of entire generations and scares away investments and jobs.

Sadly, this scourge has not been dealt with in a conclusive and decisive manner commensurate with the negative repercussions it is posing.

Has anyone ever wondered why we seemingly have mad men driving on our roads? Wonder no more! The protests revealed that many of these “drivers” simply paid for their licences and never went through any driving lessons. What a sad reality.

It is now common knowledge that getting a licence is not about how good one is as a driver, but how deep they are willing to dig into their pockets. That also explains the increased road carnage in Zimbabwe. Clearly, many unqualified drivers have been unleashed on the roads turning them into a jungle.

We understand that the driving school instructors have always been part of the problem, only that things have become more difficult and the VID inspectors are now demanding more than what they have always asked, leaving the protesters without a mark-up.
While we do not condone driving instructors’ involvement in corruption at the VID, we can understand their frustrations. We call on government to stop making vain promises and, for once, take action to bring sanity at the VID.

Gumbo should roll up his sleeves and see through his promises to stop this rot once and for all. It is all good that 32 officers from 13 VID depots countrywide have so far been fired for dabbling in corrupt activities and that the government also cancelled 200 driver’s and provisional licences believed to have been fraudulently issued.

But this is not new and will not act as deterrent enough. Stern warnings or assurances that Gumbo’s ministry has put in place will not completely curb corruption at the VID. Rotating or transferring VID officers every three years to ensure they do not become complacent and over-familiar with a location is also not a solution. Prospective drivers should also refuse to pay bribes. Cheap political talk about fighting corruption is all hubris; political will is all that is needed.

Let’s kick the vice in the teeth, period!

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