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Corruption weakening COVID-19 response

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THE 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) was released on Thursday by Transparency International, amid the COVID-19 global pandemic.

An overview of the 2020 CPI Report reveals that endemic corruption is weakening governments’ response to the pandemic, further threatening people’s health and livelihoods. Zimbabwe maintained its 2019 score of 24 out of 100 with a global ranking of 157 out of 180 countries.

This score is below the continent’s average of 32.

The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.

It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Based on the report, “countries that perform well on the index invest more in health care and are better able to provide universal health coverage and are less likely to violate democratic norms and institutions or the rule of law.”

In contrast, countries that do not perform well on the CPI are grappling to deal with the response to COVID-19 and other diseases.

Corruption in Zimbabwe continues to have negative direct and indirect impact on the performance of the health care systems, especially public health.

Corruption has undermined the government’s ability to respect, protect and fulfil the right to health, as public resources are continuously diverted for private gain, even during pandemics.

A case in point is that of the former Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo, who was dismissed from public office on allegations of illegally awarding a multi-million-dollar contract for the supply of COVID-19 medical supplies and personal protective equipment to a shelf company.

Transparency International Zimbabwe, therefore, implores the government of Zimbabwe to:

lStrengthen anti-corruption agencies and oversight institutions. Anti-Corruption agencies such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Prosecuting Authority must be capacitated financially and technically so that they diligently exercise their duties. These institutions should also be afforded operational independence as stated in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

lAdopt a whistle blower protection law. In order to facilitate reporting of corruption and abuse of public office, TI Z encourages the government to come up with a whistle blower policy that protects whistle blowers. This will enable the public to timely report corruption without fear of victimisation.

lAdequately fund the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

Transparency International Zimbabwe

 

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