European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen speaking during the launch of the anti-corruption campaign by state justice institutions yesterday commented on corruption trials of high profile individuals Zimbabwe and said the rate of such convictions may be still low.
EU is sponsoring the ZACC-NPA Anti-Corruption Awareness Campaign running under the theme “Corruption ends with you.” The International Commission of Jurists is also supporting the campaign by working towards increased transparency and integrity in the justice system.
“There have been several high profile arrests since 2017, several trials are ongoing and there are some convictions. With the level of corruption in Zimbabwe, perhaps the rate of convictions may still be on the low side,” Olkkonen said.
“I have come across a term as I meet with Zimbabweans online and offline, called ‘catch and release’ meaning that no one is held to account, it is just an insincere anti-corruption fight. Whether it’s true or not, these are public perceptions and for Zimbabwe to stem out corruption there is need to gain public confidence in the institutions fighting corruption.”
The EU ambassador also called on the government to step up corruption and citizens to desist from corrupt activities. Commission of Jurists is also supporting the campaign by training judges on how to m
“The EU appeals to the Zimbabwean people to desist from corruption, fighting corruption begins with you,” Olkkonen said.
“Corruption in public institutions is sustained by corrupt citizens. Do not under-estimate your power as the people to fight and end corruption, just one act of refusing to engage in corruption or reporting corruption is a step towards a corruption-free Zimbabwe.
“Civil society and citizens have a key role to play in fighting corruption through monitoring government actions, whistle-blowing, demonstrating, petitioning, amongst other actions. They should be afforded the democratic space to fully participate lawfully and peacefully without unnecessary restrictions, without being beaten, killed, unlawfully arrested and detained,” the ambassador went on.
President Mnangagwa, during the launch of the campaign, also spoke against corruption and said public officials must endeavour to always separate public and personal interest and put the concerns of Zimbabweans above their personal benefits.
“Let us remain clean, prudent, honest and upright in our conduct and the exercise of power at our various levels,” the President said.
“Public funds must be used for public purposes, and never for personal gain. Equally, State authority must be exercised for the people, never as a tool for personal benefit or the benefit of cliques and cartels.”
“Those tasked with the procurement function must abandon and forsake the old ways of doing things by adopting the highest ethical and professional standards in undertaking public procurement. Our nation can no longer be held back and our development stunted due to corruption,” the Zimbabwean leader went on.
The EU ambassador went on to call on the government to improve efforts towards bringing perpetrators to book following due process in accordance with the law.
“Corruption is a discreet crime and for as long as there is no confidence in the government’s sincerity in fighting corruption which can only be demonstrated by applying the law fairly, impartially and diligently without fear or favour, without political bias, without consideration of economic or social status, the battle against corruption will be lost.”