ACT-SA is gravely concerned that Zimbabwe's ruling elected officialshave since the birth of ZACC undermined its effectiveness and worked hard to ensure that it remained weak for some sinister motives. Based on experience, the old ZACC under the leadership of Job Whabira and other former Chairpersons and Commissioners have never made impact as an independent anti-corruption authority. In addition to suspicion of interference by the Executive, ZACC has been consistently starved of resources which makes it difficult to work throughout the country. Furthermore, there are many instances in which ZACC ignored reports of corruption from the ordinary people and other whistleblowers, which made it difficult to explain on whose interests it served. For instance, ACT-SA has information that one of the whistleblowers known as Mr. John Rushton made several reports to ZACC but all the reports were not only ignored but never acknowledged up to date regardless of the reports having been received by one Commissioner Mguni. Whilst, ACT-SA supports the setting up of anti-corruption commissions, the Zimbabwean story is a sad one, since there has been no significant impact of the work of ZACC in the country, apart from targeting the so-called 'small fish' implicated in petty corruption and leaving out high profile individuals stealing millions of dollars meant to improve the lives of Zimbabweans.
To this date, there is no light there will be justice in the looting of US$15 billion worth of diamonds in Zimbabwe. It is thus hoped that the new ZACC Chairperson and Commissioners due to be appointed, will be given adequate resources and freedom to execute the mandate of the Commission without fear, favour and interference.
Mr. David Jamali, the Chairperson of ACT-SA is urging the Zimbabwean government to immediately attend to all challenges that ZACC is facing and take remedial action. Furthermore, Mr. Jamali is urging President Mnangagwa to appoint individuals of integrity and allow them to carry out their duties and responsibilities, without fear, favour and interference.
"First and foremost, if the challenges that ZACC has been facing over the years are ignored and the country goes ahead to appoint a new Chairperson and Commissioners under the same conditions, all anti-corruption efforts are bound to fail. We know that ZACC suffers from inadequate resources. ZACC has no decentralized offices country-wide. We also know that ZACC is perceived as biased and partisan. We also received complaints that ZACC ignores some reports of corruption, especially those from ordinary people. People still think that ZACC only takes serious reports from higher offices. We should make it clear that all issues affecting the effectiveness of ZACC needs attention. The new Chairperson and Commissioners will not achieve much under the same conditions that the previous officials were operating. Most importantly, there should be no interference from anyone, including the Executive and some politicians," he says.
Mr. Jamali, further added there should be an explanation on why the ZACC Chairperson and the entire team of Commissioners resigned en masse.
"It is unprecedented that the entire team resigns en masse. It raises eyebrows. It appears that they were forced to resign. We need an explanation on the underlying reasons to build public confidence in the work of ZACC," he adds
In keeping with the above, ACT-SA submits the following demands:
There is need for clarity on why the ZACC Chairperson and the Commissioners resigned all together;
The Zimbabwean government should make effort to address the challenges that ZACC has been facing over the years to ensure the new Chairperson and Commissioners work effectively and also that they enjoy their independence to execute the mandate of ZACC without any fear, favour and influence;
Expedite the appointment of the new Chairperson and Commissioners without any further delays;
ZACC should be allocated adequate resources to ensure that it carries out its activities in the most effective, efficient and sustainable manner;
The new Chairperson and Commissioners should be men and women of integrity who will be accountable to the public and operate in a transparent way. Hand-picking individuals on political and partisan grounds should be avoided;
Source: Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)