By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
05 March 2014
Zimbabweans are being urged to name and shame any officials involved in corrupt activities, including police officers and government ministers, in an effort to end the worsening corruption problem in the country.
The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa) said this week that public outcry over corruption in Zimbabwe needs to grow for there to be any real action.
The group is collecting signatures from Zimbabweans across the world who are being called on to join calls for Robert Mugabe and the ZANU PF administration to tackle corruption head on.
ACT-Southern Africa’s Alouis Munyaradzi Chaumba told SW Radio Africa that corruption is “totally endemic and it needs political will to sort it out.”
“It seems that every state department or unit is trying to make a killing from Zimbabweans by hook or by crook. The economic situation is dire, and people who are making an honest living are finding it hard, because they are always being pounced on,” Chaumba said.
He deplored the latest scam involving police officers at roadblocks, who have roped in kombi drivers, airtime vendors and newspaper vendors to keep bribe money safe from discovery by their superiors.
According to the NewsDay newspaper, “officers manning roadblocks in and around Harare have also roped in airtime and newspaper vendors operating within their vicinity to keep safe money clandestinely collected from errant kombi crews in case their bosses pounce on them.”
In separate interviews, kombi drivers confirmed to NewsDay that some of them had found “employment” with the police for keeping their money in return for being allowed to pass freely at roadblocks.
“There are drivers who work with the police and they benefit a lot from keeping the money police get from motorists. If you watch closely at roadblocks, there is always a kombi parked nearby as if the police are dealing with the driver yet the driver will be waiting to receive money for safekeeping,” one of the drivers said.
“These days, you don’t give cash directly to the policemen. They tell you to go and give it to the kombi driver or conductor parked nearby and they record who would have received what, then reconcile after work and share.”
ACT-Southern Africa’s Chaumba said the actions of the police “leave a lot to be desired,” but he emphasised that the problems will persist until there is a complete change in how such activities are dealt with.
“The problem is that the authorities are very good at lip service and want to hoodwink people when they say they are dealing with corruption. The best strategy is to name and shame people involved until the government is forced into actual action,” Chaumba said.