Corruption: Why creating further avenues for this scourge?

Johannes Marisa

Guest Column:Johannes Marisa

CORRUPTION is one of the deadliest cancers in any country and failure to stem it can be catastrophic to health, education, road safety, agriculture et cetera. So many lives have been lost directly or indirectly to corruption.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) approximates that close to US$1,8 billion is lost yearly to this unethical practice.

So many arrests have been made so far but a lot of people feel the net should be cast wider if the country is to move forward. The catch-and-release phenomenon has angered many.

We applaud Zacc chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo for her stance against corruption and she needs everyone’s support be they politicians, religious leaders, the Judiciary or security agents.

Forms of corruption vary, but can include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft and embezzlement.

Corruption can be very detrimental to everyone and in the health sector, it can contribute to high morbidity and mortality rates.

The transport sector is not spared either as so many deaths on roads have been traced to corruption from poor road maintenance to fraudulent driver’s licences.

There has been serious talk and reports of corruption in the Transport ministry for a long time.

In 2019, Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza suspended Marondera Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) manager Munyaradzi Kachere for corruption. Beitbridge VID depot manager, one Mutatabikwa, was also suspended for allegedly issuing learner’s licences to undeserving applicants. How many people were going to be killed when such drivers are on the road?

Last week, we all woke up to the news that the police were going to impound all unregistered vehicles.

The police said number plates were there at Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) and their belief was that it was the motorists who were not applying for the plates.

Whoever relayed that message to the police should be accountable. I personally had a torrid time at CVR offices last week trying to secure number plates.

All in all, I have spent close to nine hours trying to secure number plates to no avail.

These are nine hours of wasted hospital time where I should be attending to patients in this COVID-19 era.

Up to now, I have not managed to get plates. It was then that a friend of mine advised that I had to part with something to grease some CVR employees if I wanted number plates.

What type of practice is this? Why did police issue an order to impound imported cars yet there are no number plates or staff to process the adequate number plates?

Motorists are traumatised when their cars are taken away. Some of them will be going to work. The number plate issue should not be blamed on motorists who are only victims.

It is my prayer that the Transport minister and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga get the correct information on how much motorists are suffering at the hands of the CVR employees and the police.

I understand CVR is run by managers who should be answerable to the nation at large and tormenting motorists is not good leadership.

Whoever is responsible for ordering number plates is sleeping on duty and should not, therefore, mislead the nation that they have adequate stocks. Heads are supposed to roll. Until when are VID and CVR going to run the way they have been doing? Who does not know about the corruption at VID depots? Why are we creating avenues for corruption and then call Matanda-Moyo to investigate while things are happening under our watch?

It seems there are deliberate attempts to create an environment that promotes corruption. For sure, shortages are a precursor to corruption as those with money will easily buy their way through. Let us be proactive.

There has been nauseating corruption in the Health ministry where COVID-19 moneys were abused by a few individuals, putting the whole nation at risk of infection.

A lot of families lost their relatives because hospitals had no staff as nurses and doctors had withdrawn their labour because of shortage of personal protective equipment.

When the talk of US$60 million COVID-19 corruption was subsiding, Zacc spokesman John Makamure revealed that there were imminent arrests of government officials who had connived with private suppliers to siphon US$3 million from Treasury through inflated prices of COVID-19 materials.

I have confidence in Makamure. He responds very fast when cases are brought to his attention and I can vouch for him. Continue doing your work Zacc! Why are people not afraid of being arrested with such scandalous acts?

Corruption should be stopped as a matter of urgency. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has talked tough about corruption. Let us not create avenues for corruption. Let us all fight corruption.