You Can Stop Corruption
Zimbabwe has good anti-corruption policies, but little progress has been made to deter or punish corruption offenders. As part of the Strengthening Institutions of Transparency and Accountability (SITA) project being supported by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI Z) in November 2016 trained the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Justice and the Committee on Women, on Corruption and Access to Justice in Zimbabwe. TI Z identified policy gaps in the pieces of legislation that allows for corruption to thrive thereby affecting the socio-political and economic status of the country. Parliament has an essential role to play in curbing corruption hence the need to capacitate parliamentarians in the fight against corruption. It is important to note that Parliament is a critical institution in helping various social groups that may suffer the absence of access to justice. Without Parliamentary interventions, corruption thrives due to lack of oversight and accountability and eventually the poor suffer. More so Parliament has a role to play in promoting justice administration, and access to justice. The rationale of the training workshop was to draw the attention of the Members of Parliament to the corruption within the judiciary system and to cases based on allegations of corruption that access to justice means more than just accessing the courts but also having judgments’ respected in favour of those to whom they were awarded. Access to Justice in this regard is a rule of law principle.
The main objective of the workshop was to strengthen parliament’s role in the area of corruption and anti-corruption advocacy and monitoring. The training was conducted at an opportune time as dialogue was centred on “zero tolerance to corruption” in Zimbabwe.
Key insights from the Training
Among many other things, the Training on Access to Justice highlighted two key issues that Parliamentarians can focus on in trying to ensure that there is access to Justice in Zimbabwe.
- To curb corruption in Zimbabwe, the Anti-Corruption Commission should be independent from the Executive in order to be able to investigate executive corruption. More so ordinary people should be able to report cases to the Commission without fear of reprisals from top government officials. Parliament therefore has a role in strengthening Anti-Corruption Laws and supporting the work of the Anti-Corruption Commission. More so, Parliament can pass legislation, or amend current laws to give prominence to asset forfeiture and recovery of property acquired through corruption. In essence this makes corruption unattractive, it’s also restorative in nature as it returns to society a lost public asset or good
- The training highlighted that whistleblowers need adequate incentives to counter the disincentives such as risks and reprisals in reporting corruption. Whistleblowers need protection from a system they are reporting against. More so whistleblowers should be supported and protected by the criminal justice system as well as the police in order to incentivize their involvement. As such Parliament has a role in lobbying for the promulgation of a Whistleblower Protection Act and the introduction of the Whistleblower Provisions in Anti-Corruption laws.
For more information on this project visit the TI Z stand at the Parliament of Zimbabwe Open Day 7-9 June 2017 at Parliament of Zimbabwe parking space. For more information visit the Parliament of Zimbabwe website www.parlzim.gov.zw/component/k2/parliament-open-day-programme