Editorial Comment: Corruption laws must not just be paper tigers

WHILE we applaud President Emmerson Mnangagwa for gazetting regulations meant to deal with the scourge of corruption in the financial services sector, it is more important to ensure implementation of the legislation.

Editorial Comment

Zimbabwe has a raft of credible laws designed to deal with corruption, and these have been gathering dust on office shelves without implementation. Laws and regulations in themselves are perhaps only as good as the paper on which they are written, but without implementation, they are useless.

One thing that should not escape notice is that the law has been ignored when it comes to dealing with certain political fat cats, the politically-connected and influential businesspeople because the political will to enforce the law has been lacking. Indeed, we applaud the President for crafting these new regulations, but our appeal to him is that he should see to it that they are implemented without fear or favour.

This is the second time Zimbabwe is enacting such laws. In September last year through to early this year, the laws lapsed without any major arrests, an embarrassment for the establishment given the dire state of the economy, a calamity largely driven by the cash barons and the connected corrupt.

It would be a shame if we continue to deal with corrupt financial transactions with the same kid gloves that we have been using after time, thought and resources were invested in coming up with these latest regulations.

If bogus businesspersons operating briefcase companies that feed on tender and procurement process manipulation and kickbacks to amass wealth continue with their shady businesses because they are able to line the pockets of those that are supposed to deal with them, then it would be a disgrace.

Beyond fancy legal jargon, what has been missing in the country’s half-hearted blitz against corruption is the political will, as many of those in the corridors of power are sewn up tight in the empires of those running cartels in this country. They, therefore, lack the moral aptitude to deal with the scourge which has, unfortunately, made life difficult for many ordinary Zimbabweans.

We pray that this law, indeed, will embolden the government in a real sense to seize unexplained Real Time Gross Settlement balances, fixed assets and goods which have no forensic trace and engender a new culture of transparency and accountability.

We also hope that once arrests have been made, the National Prosecuting Authority and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission will be given the necessary support and leeway to pursue these cases to their finalisation.

Zimbabweans are tired of just getting lip service with regards to the fight against corruption, especially when it involves the politically connected. It is our belief that arrests will be followed by prosecution of the individuals involved. Jail is where they belong!

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