A corruption watchdog, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) says government should expedite the enactment of a law to protect whistle blowers who expose government graft and abuse of office.
In a press statement released to mark the commemoration of the World Whistleblowers Day, TIZ called for strategic reforms including enacting a law to protect said those which expose corruption.
"Whistle-blowers play a critical role in exposing wrongdoing and corruption, therefore potentially saving the country millions of dollars in public funds and ultimately guaranteeing the effective and efficient delivery of public services," read part of statement.
"On this day, as we celebrate the courageous individuals who come forward to report corruption, Transparency International Zimbabwe urges the government of Zimbabwe to show political will and commitment towards the protection of whistleblowers, by expediting the process of enacting the Whistleblower Protection legislation and funding the establishment of the institutional frameworks thereof," the anti-graft lobby group said.
TIZ said this should be informed by various regional and international anti-corruption frameworks and protocols such as the Southern African Development Community's Protocol against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC),
Zimbabwe is signatory to these regional conventions which 'recognize the important role of whistleblowers and the need for their protection thereof all which recognize the important role of whistleblowers and the need for their protection thereof.'
TIZ said Some of the regional protocols include the Southern African Development Community's Protocol against Corruption Article 4 of the, on preventative measures recognizes that 'it is important for each State Party to adopt measures which will create, maintain, and strengthen inter-alia, systems for protecting individuals who in good faith, report acts of corruption.'
African Union's (AU) Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption- Article 5 provides for the protection of whistleblowers stating 'that State Parties (must) undertake to adopt measures that ensure citizens report instances of corruption without fear of consequent reprisals.
United Nations Convention Against Corruption Article 33 of the encourages State Parties to incorporate into their domestic legal systems appropriate measures that provide protection against unjustified treatment of persons who report any acts of corruption.
TI Z said while there has been mention of the need to create a law to protect the whistle blowers, the process has been taken long to be enacted to enhance and support institutional frameworks.
Whilst there have been commitments of drafting a whistleblower protection policy in Zimbabwe, as stated in inter-alia paragraph 874 of the National Development Strategy 1 (2020-2025), such a process has taken long.
"In most instances, whistle-blowers are faced with competing and conflicting imperatives which make their decision of reporting corruption to relevant institutions an excruciating endeavor.
"Therefore, a Whistleblower Protection legislation and accompanying institutional frameworks will support the current anti-corruption efforts as laid out in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (2020-2025),"read part of the statement.
TIZ has been at the fore front of pushing for collaborative combating of corruption, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to fight against rising corruption in the public sector.
World Whistleblowers Day was created in 2019 to raise global public awareness in combating corruption and to highlight the importance of calling out wrongdoing.