Home Editors' Pick 5 years of stagnancy…as Zim scores low on the corruption index

5 years of stagnancy…as Zim scores low on the corruption index

by commuadmin

Raymond Zarurai

The 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by Transparency International is out and there are no signs of improvement in Zimbabwe, which ranked amongst the worse countries with the corruption endemic.

Zimbabwe was scored 23/100 on the index, perceiving the level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean.

This signified a point negative from the 2020 score of 24. Out of the 180 countries sampled, Zimbabwe was ranked 157.

Reflecting on the CPI, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) Director, Tafadzwa Chikumbu said the muzzling of democracy and lack of respect for human rights are major contributors to the proliferation of corruption in Zimbabwe.

“It is not coincidental that corruption is rising when civic and political space is shrinking in Zimbabwe. Corruption thrives when rights and freedoms are not respected.

Opening up of the civic and political space accelerates citizen action against corruption, to challenge injustice and demand their rights,” said Chikumbu.

Despite efforts being put in place by the current government to combat corruption in Zimbabwe there is no significant improvement on the index since 2017 where the score has been dangling between 22 and 24 up to 2021, signalling a motionless effort.

According to experts in the anti-corruption fight, there is a need for a paradigm shift in the way Zimbabwean citizens perceive corruption if anything is to be done to combat corruption.

Speaking at the launch of the 2021 CPI Report Launch by TIZ, ZIMCODD Director Janet Zhou said the Zimbabwean context makes it difficult to build citizens’ action against corruption.

“When corruption is taking place it impoverishes the majority and it does not give agency. We can raise awareness and do the best that we can, but when people are living in extreme poverty, which is the current case of Zimbabwe where 50% are living in poverty, it is very difficult to ignite and stimulate agency amongst such citizenry for use to curb corruption.

The nature and state of our society, in terms of lack of trust and confidence deficit in the institutions that have been established to corruption, is also another reflection.  As long as we don’t address the issues that brought about the mistrust and lack of confidence we will continue to be low ranking,” she said.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) Spokesperson, Commissioner John Makamure admitted that the score is disappointing and the country needs to do better.

“We need a culture change, our citizens think corruption is now a way of life. We need to start rolling out massive awareness campaigns, we need to start even at the primary school level, at the ECD level in our educational institutions.

We must get to a stage where citizens just refuse to pay a bribe, but that also requires that certain fundamentals are in place because when people are desperate for service provision, that’s when they pay bribes. So we need transparency, accountability and making sure that we strengthen the delivery of public service,” said Commissioner Makamure.

The report comes at a time when the ZACC is developing a local CPI meant to complement already available research on corruption in Zimbabwe.

“The local CPI by ZACC is not intended to substitute the Transparency International index but to complement it. As you are aware, the current CPI focuses on the public sector and excludes the private sector. So we said let us embark on a nationwide survey, not only to come up with a baseline homegrown CPI but the exercise is also to educate the public on what corruption is. There is limited understanding of what corruption is amongst our citizens,” added Makamure.

According to Transparency International, ‘to keep corruption out of the public eye, governments across the Sub-Saharan Africa region have limited information and cracked down on independent voices calling out abuses of power. On a continent where corruption plunders precious natural resources and impedes access to public services for millions of people, the results of a decade of stagnation laid bare by the 2021 CPI cannot be more devastating.’

In the continent, Seychelles is the top-performing country and South Sudan the least performing in 2021



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