EDITORIAL COMMENT: Clean-up of corrupt elements should spread to all Govt Departments

Minister Joram Gumbo

Minister Joram Gumbo

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his inauguration last November declared zero tolerance on corruption. To demonstrate his commitment to fighting graft, Cde Mnangagwa last month directed public office holders including ministers, top civil servants and parastatal bosses to declare their assets.

The Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said the declaration of assets was in line with President Mnangagwa’s accountability vision and observing the tenets of good corporate governance. The public office holders were given up to the end of this month to comply with the directive.

Dr Sibanda said by demanding declaration of assets, President Mnangagwa was committing to holding the top officials accountable as he promised when he assumed office. At his inauguration, Cde Mnangagwa made an undertaking to create a responsible, transparent and accountable Public Service workforce that is sworn to high moral standards and deserved rewards.

The President has since then been calling for strict adherence to the fundamental tenets of good corporate governance. It is therefore encouraging to note that ministries have started to clean up their various departments to rid the Public Service of corrupt elements. Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said last week that 54 Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) officers had been fired for corruption as the ministry steps up its fight against graft.

Dr Gumbo said driving schools found on the wrong side of the law will be closed. The Minister said his ministry was committed to fighting corruption in the acquisition of driver’s licences. He said most of the fired officers were guilty of demanding bribes to issue driver’s licences. Dr Gumbo said his ministry was investigating all allegations of corruption and those found guilty will be handed over to the Zimbabwe Republic Police for prosecution.

The Minister said he was aware that corruption was not confined to issuance of driver’s licences but had spread to other services offered such as certificate of fitness for vehicles. Dr Gumbo has assured the nation that within the context of the 100 days action programme, tangible action will be taken to rid the VID of errant officers.

He said in order to enhance transparency and fairness, 80 percent of the road tests will now be conducted at the VID depot yards in full view of members of the public. It is our fervent hope that the measures being put in place by the Transport Ministry at VID is spread to all the ministry’s departments. We want to call on other ministries to also start similar clean-up operations so that all the undesirable elements are removed from the Public Service.

The Police, we understand, has already started this clean-up operation especially of its Traffic branch. The ZRP is in fact working on re-branding its image which has been tarnished by corrupt traffic police officers who had become notorious for demanding bribes from motorists.

After Operation Restore Legacy, the ZRP embarked on a massive exercise to fight corruption and has since drastically reduced roadblocks on the highways and has stopped demanding spot fines. Traffic police officers had turned roadblocks into fundraising activities to enrich themselves instead of enforcing traffic regulations to tame the traffic jungle.

We want to once again call on all ministries and parastatals to support the new political dispensation’s call for zero tolerance to corruption by getting rid of corrupt elements. Members of the public on their part should report corrupt civil servants and those working for parastatals to the authorities. It is only when the majority of citizens abhor corruption that the nation can succeed in fighting it.