YESTERDAY our sister publication, the Daily News on Sunday reported that corruption had become the country’s biggest enemy despite despairing attempts by the authorities to blame the current economic morass on sanctions.
The biggest impediment to the country’s development is the rampant public sector corruption, without a doubt.
The damning National Social Security Authority (Nssa) audit report and the much-talked about vanishing of US$3 billion in funds allocated to the controversial Command Agriculture programme highlight the level of graft in this country.
Soon after independence, the ruling Zanu PF — fresh from the war of liberation and heavily intoxicated with Marxist-Leninist philosophy, mooted what the party called The Leadership Code.
Whether putting this code in place was going to solve the country’s challenges or not is a subject for another day but that they thought of it in the first place is very interesting.
Firstly, it shows the ruling party then saw that colleagues within leadership had a propensity to amass wealth through corrupt activities.
However, the Leadership Code never saw the light of day while corruption manifested in almost every sector of the economy.
Minus corruption, the country’s fortunes may have been very different. Parastatals have roundly been looted in the past thirty-eight years with once-viable enterprises like the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) are mere shadows of their pre-independence selves — when they moved millions of tonnes of goods — as a result of sustained periods of plunder and pilferage.
The story is the same with other State-owned companies like the Grain Marketing Board, Air Zimbabwe and the Cotton Company among others.
Probes and audits have consistently exposed the rot at public enterprises and in cases where executives were fingered, very few have been successfully prosecuted.
When the scourge of corruption is given free rein in any political entity, that nation’s fiscus will haemorrhage to the bone, making economic progress an unattainable mirage.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration needs to show that it has the appetite to non-selectively deal with cases of corruption.
Sceptics have accused the government of pursuing a factional and retributive agenda against the members of the vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction.
The current blitz should serve to prove to all doubters that the government has zero tolerance for corruption and that there are no sacred cows.