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‘Youths forced to pay bribes to get jobs’


CORRUPTION is said to be affecting the employability of youths as they were often asked to pay bribes of between $300 and $500 before they could get jobs at most institutions.


Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) governance researcher, Farai Mutondoro, in his recent study, said there was a worrying trend at most public and private institutions where it was difficult to get a job without paying bribes.
Mutondoro said a number of his sampled respondents indicated that corruption in the country was a huge determinant of employment.

“I learnt that getting employed in Zimbabwe is no longer a function of a set of skills that one has, but his or her ability to either grease the palms of the employer or being connected those with influence,” Mutondoro said.

“Most respondents gave various examples of how it was difficult to get a job without agreeing to a corruption deal with the recruiter or the employer and there was some convergence on the figure one should pay to get a placement either at a nursing school or teachers’ college and the amount ranged from $300 and $500.”

He described how different respondents during his study revealed that in order to get recruited in nursing schools, teachers’ colleges and even the police they had to pay bribes.

“I also learnt that in other extreme cases, employees would get a job through agreeing to a secret contract with the recruiting supervisor where the employee would remit a certain percentage every month to the recruiting supervisor for a defined time period. Respondents shared with us a number of companies where job recruiters and supervisors were demanding kickbacks and bribes from job seekers,” he said.

The researcher said young women also suffered from “sextortion” where some employers, ask for sexual favours in exchange for jobs.

“We listened to narrations of various young women, some of whom have been asked to trade sex and sexual favours in return for jobs. Most respondents from Bulawayo narrated how this was a common occurrence in the fast food industry again, where a number of young women are employed as till operators,” Mutondoro said.

He noted that such corrupt practices remained unreported as corruption had become the norm in the country.

“The long-term solution to corruption in Zimbabwe lies in formulating a national anti-corruption strategy that is responsive to corruption realities and experiences of young people among many other demographic groups. The starting point, therefore, is a citizen-driven national anti-corruption strategy in Zimbabwe,” Mutondoro said.

The Africa Development Bank estimates that nearly 420 million African youths aged between 15 and 35 were unemployed.

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