Accountability, transparency needed in Zim

HARARE - The non-accountability of $3,5 billion government funds — as exposed by the Comptroller and Auditor-General — brings to the fore the Zanu PF-led government’s lack of transparency with public funds.

A report tabled before Parliament this week revealed that the ministry of Finance failed to provide its books to be audited, in line with constitutional demands, and this resulted in $3,5 billion funds not being accounted for. A lack of public accountability is one of the biggest threats to democracy and development in Zimbabwe.

Across the political divide, reports are rife of politicians and public officials taking advantage of opaque government structures and processes to loot funds and resources meant for the general populace with utter impunity.

Besides the rampant outright corruption and theft, there is also a big problem of indifference and utter incompetence when it comes to service delivery. As a result, communities go for months without vital services like running water, sewerage reticulation, and passable roads. Currently, there is a huge void in terms of work to ensure public accountability in Zimbabwe and we strongly commend Mildred Chiri, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, who has been working efficiently against government corruption in her periodic reports.

In an environment full of intimidation and threats, Chiri has done her job exceptionally well — without fear or favour — exposing State-owned firms and government departments’ shortcomings.

To appreciate the enormity of her work, we have to understand that she operates against a deliberately opaque bureaucracy unwilling to have its inequities exposed. Her brevity in trying to instil a culture of transparency and accountability in a poisoned environment such as ours must be commended.

Despite the fact that former Zanu PF Member of Parliament Edward Chindori-Chininga died under mysterious circumstances in 2013 after he exposed shoddy diamond dealings at Marange in a report, Chiri has stood for what is right and good for economic development.

For instance, in one of her recent audit reports, Chiri noted that the ministry of Defence has for years, refused her access to compare departmental assets. This lack of transparency exposes them to theft.

Chiri also noted that the military was breaching an instruction which stipulates that no salary advances should be made to an officer until advances made in previous months have been accounted for and deducted from his/her salary.

If only we had a few people of her calibre with the guts to stand up to the Zanu PF regime, which thrives on inculcating fear on its citizens by denying them access to vital public information, Zimbabwe could have been on a better economic standing.

Unless we realised that information availability is an important component of ensuring transparency and accountability in the operations of holders of public office and government institutions, the people of Zimbabwe will continue receiving sub-standard services from the government and local authorities while development projects will continue failing to achieve the desired goals.

Comments (1)

The media is within its brief if it shines its torch on corridors of power to expose these iniquities.Also there is supposed to be courageous investigative journalism for crime does not pay.Why wait for the Auditor- general to make a move yet its the media's duty to inform always?

Aliphelithemba - 25 May 2015

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.