Let’s start 2018 on graft-free slate

AS 2018 beckons on the horizon, Zimbabweans from all walks of life are expecting the year to usher in an improved life devoid of most man-made hardships experienced in 2017.

The citizens are looking forward to a life where shortages of goods and cash as well as poor service delivery would be a thing of the past, and accountability in both public and private enterprises considered a golden rule.

Above all, citizens expect government to address the scourge of corruption to ensure the country redeems its lost pride and recover stolen time and resources.

It is our contention that the previous Zanu PF regime of former President Robert Mugabe destroyed the aspirations of millions of Zimbabweans over decades of misrule and it is time for each one of them to pick up the pieces.

It is quite encouraging that President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in his recent State of the Nation Address vowed to deal sternly with endemic corruption in high places, social decay and poor governance which had become the hallmark of Zanu PF rule.

Although some bigwigs have already been caged over alleged illicit activities, we believe much more needs to be done to stop the cancer.

It would also be helpful for the government to periodically name and shame corrupt individuals as a deterrent to would-be offenders to desist from corruption, which is said to cost Zimbabwe close to $1 billion per year.

Recent suggestions by lawyer, Rodgers Matsikidze that Zimbabweans now need to embrace a new anti-corruption culture and denounce the vice be it in kombis, political rallies, and churches are also a good idea to ensure a corrupt-free country and citizenry.

There is no doubt that Zimbabwe needs to strengthen its anti-graft laws, and ensure they are deterrent sentences for offenders, as well as to craft a Whistle-blower Act to ensure those that expose corrupt activities are protected.

It is regrettable that Mnangagwa indicated that there has been massive corruption in the minerals sector, especially gold where foreigners and locals have been smuggling the precious mineral out of the country.

If such nefarious activities continue unabated, then Zimbabwe will not achieve its envisaged revenue collection targets in order to provide adequate budgetary allocations to key ministries like health and education to improve the quality of life for Zimbabweans.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his 2018 National Budget statement announced that anti-corruption institutions like the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the National Prosecuting Authority will now be required to regularly publish reports of how they have combated corruption and the number of arrests made.

But the foremost thing to do is to decisively deal with corruption by jailing the culprits once convicted, otherwise merely arresting will only serve to humiliate them yet government must recover whatever ill-gotten proceeds and forfeit them to the State.

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