Let's walk the talk on corruption

HARARE – Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa took the first bold step towards tackling the rot that has destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy.

Mnangagwa issued a statement, giving individuals and corporates up to three months to return money and assets they externalised.

The previous week, he had declared war against graft, marking a total shift from what we had gotten used to as a nation.

In his words, “indiscipline must stop” — such rowdiness had manifested itself in different forms and sheds, with its ugly head literally exterminating the very backbone of our society.

The level of thievery in high offices and even to the lowest level in our social hierarchy had reached alarming levels. It could be likened to the state that the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible had reached which prompted their destruction.

The corruption didn’t even spare the clergy with high profile scandals involving men and women of the cloth being recorded; are they still men of God or they are now mutated to being men of Gold because of the love for money?

As if this wasn’t enough, the level of corruption in the police force was probably higher than any other arm of government; we were short of additional police officers to police the police; maybe this explains why the army intervened.

Surely the call by the president came at the right time. If it had delayed, one wouldn’t want to imagine how the country’s affairs were going to unfold only a few months down the line. The scourge of corruption did not start a few years ago. It has been there because of bad leadership throughout the 37-year reign of former president Robert Mugabe with corruption eating into our democracy.

Corruption has been rife from as far back as the first decade of independence. With the declaration of war against corruption, the president ought to stand by his words. He must demonstrate that he means what he says.

They say a fish rots from the head but the correction of an anomaly also starts from the top.

Walking the talk is the only way to go if we are to avoid reliving history.

The culture of celebrating ill-gotten wealth by the public officials ought to be wiped out forthwith.

The former minister of Finance (Ignatius Chombo) who has been in remand prison for the past few weeks is only the first of the many cases that we should witness if the president is serious in the fight against graft.

There are many other ministers, parliamentarians, parastatal bosses, pastors and business people who should account for their actions and wealth.