Public servants must remain accountable

HARARE - In a bid to curb corruption, President Emmerson Mnangagwa must walk the talk with his call for public office bearers to declare their assets.

The exercise is commencing with this Friday’s deadline for all Parliamentarians to disclose details of their assets and income.

All Cabinet ministers and other executives of State-owned companies will follow suit in this public disclosure of their wealth.

This was long overdue in taming the rampaging corruption, let loose after the ruling Zanu PF party abandoned the Leadership Code in the early 1990s.

Adopted in August 1984, the Leadership Code had served as a commitment, conviction and dedication to honesty and uprightness which drove and won the liberation war.

Since it was discarded, Zimbabwean public officials have failed to rid the stench of corruption because of the vast amounts of assets and wealth they have accumulated.

Some of the individuals have been career civil servants dating back to the birth of Zimbabwe in 1980 but have overnight turned into tycoons despite only surviving on a government salary.

To retain faith and goodwill from the Zimbabweans, all public officials must disclose how they accumulated their wealth.

But to demonstrate his seriousness, Mnangagwa must not just demand what he himself is not doing. He must take the initiative to declare his own assets and explain how he accumulated his wealth so that his subordinates could see that he is leading from the front and not targeting them.

A lot has been said about Mnangagwa’s wealth and no attempt has been made to clear the air, leaving an indelible impression that he could be hiding something. His two deputies — Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi — must do the same so that the whole presidium is on the same page and speaks with one voice.

As indicated by the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa recently, fighting corruption requires that those that champion the cause have a moral standing that is beyond reproach.

“It is one of the practices of exemplary leadership to inspire others by doing it first. Leaders must be prepared to show others how it is done. ... Mnangagwa should lead by example and declare his assets and liabilities similar to what the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has done,” the trust’s director, Obert Chinhamo, was quoted saying recently.

Once everyone begins to walk the talk, the Executive must move to empower independent commissions with powers to check on the veracity of information provided by those who publicly declare their assets so that they don’t hide behind fronts and convoluted corporate structures.

Comments (1)

The Executive has already missed the point by asking subordinates to declare their assets and liabilities first. The whole exercise is now in futility as those asked to declare are not going to be honesty as their leader's moral standing on the issue is not beyond reproach.

Sinyo - 8 October 2018

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