15 September 2018

Zimbabwe: ED Urged to Walk Anti-Graft Talk Through Declaring Own Assets

Photo: The Herald
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa and his two deputies must show seriousness about fighting corruption and commanding a transparent rule through declaring their assets, a regional anti-graft body has said.

"President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his two Vice Presidents, to be exemplary, must be the first to declare their assets and liabilities as a tool to inspire others, prevent corruption, and facilitate the detection of illicit enrichment and conflict of interest," Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) director Obert Chinhamo said.

"The profligacy not only of the presidium but also that of top government officials is only a matter of public speculation as no leader has yet come out in the open about their earnings."

Mnangagwa, the anti-graft body said, can take a leaf from neighbouring South Africa whose leader Cyril Ramaphosa has come clean on what he owned.

"It is one of the practices of exemplary leadership to inspire others by doing it first. Leaders must be prepared to show others how it is done.

"President Mnangagwa should lead by example and declare assets and liabilities similar to what the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has done.

"It makes a lot of sense if President Mnangagwa and his two Vice Presidents, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, lead the process.

"By declaring assets and liabilities, it shows clearly that one has nothing to hide. There is a lot of benefit since it also increases the trust of citizens in individual politicians and civil servants," he said.

As a process towards nation building, Chinhamo said, the declaration of assets by individual politicians and civil servants was good for monitoring wealth creation and dissuading office bearers from misconduct and helping in clarifying the full scope of illicit enrichment or other illegal activities.

"The law should make it mandatory that all politicians and high profile civil servants declare their assets and liabilities before taking office. This is one of the areas that need reform," said Chinhamo.

Political analyst Rashweat Mukundu said the fight against corruption in the country was only possible if leaders took action.

"I think asset declaration by senior public officials is only good if such declarations are made public and subject to public scrutiny," said Mukundu.

"As things stand, this is an exercise in futility as the declarations are made in secrecy and in essence, serves no purpose in enhancing accountability.

President Mnangagwa has vowed his fight against corruption in a country that world corruption watchers place among the most worst on the globe.

Mnangagwa has promised to compel top government officials to declare their assets but this is yet to come to fruition.

His revelation this year of those who externalised foreign currency ended in newspaper pages and was never pursued beyond that.

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