Whistleblowers must be protected at law

EDITORIAL COMMENT

AMID the coronavirus (COVID-19) scare, it has increasingly become apparent that other equally pressing matters that have been preoccupying Zimbabwe are being thrown by the wayside.

One of these fundamental issues is corruption, a scourge that has chiefly and singularly devastated the southern African country’s economy. For those deeply involved in graft, they are probably relieved that COVID-19 has come as a blessing in disguise because it has helped remove the limelight from them.

As the fourth estate we will, however, not tire in shining the limelight on all matters important to Zimbabwe and humanity in general. In that vein, we wish to remind the nation that the corruption monster is still in our midst and devouring the country and call upon those involved in the fight against corruption not to relent.

And we take serious exception when criminals involved in sleaze walk the streets bragging to the extent of even hounding whistleblowers as what is currently happening with one man, Charles Mutama, who dared to expose a cop involved in corrupt activities.

The distraught man is now being sued by the cop even after the same cop swallowed bribe money as the Police Internal Security Intelligence tried to apprehend her after she was caught red-handed receiving the bride.

“This has strained me. I have sold property to pay legal fees. The lawyers are asking for United States dollars. This has taken a lot out of me. I am being punished for reporting corruption. I do not have any confidence in our courts, how can an accused be acquitted with all overwhelming evidence at their disposal? I am wondering whether this is what it costs in Zimbabwe to report corruption. I engaged lawyers. I am at a point where I am being milked for reporting corruption,” are the pleas of a man who has really been hard-done. This is how deep corruption has anchored its roots in the country’s systems.

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Given the extent the corruption monster has swallowed Zimbabwe, we also take exception to comments by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and are somewhat disheartened that he believes Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi was quoted out of context when he recently said cartels had captured all key government institutions from the police to the courts of law.

Does Mutama’s case not fly in the face of Ziyambi’s poor attempt at hiding behind a finger? The earlier those in authority come to terms with the corruption reality, the quicker the country will capture the monster.

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