HARNESSING INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY TO FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
The advent of Information Communication and Technological (ICT) presents an ideal opportunity for Zimbabwe to fight against corruption. ICT has a potential of playing a pivotal role in whistle blowing and acting as part of information gathering for victims and witnesses of corruption. This therefore calls for the private and public sectors to raise awareness on the use of these to ensure that citizens tap onto these for effective utilisation and the overall reduction of corruption in Zimbabwe.
ICTs is a generic term referring to technologies that are used for collecting, storing, editing and passing on (communicating) information in various forms. ICT as a sector has potential of contributing towards economic growth and acts an enabler for investment. Additionally, ICT can be used as a tool to promote accountability. However, this can be only achieved if citizens are actively engaged in the effective use of technology. Zimbabwe presents an environment that is ripe with potential for the extensive use of ICT. According to the Internet World Stats, 46, 5 percent of the total population has access to the internet. Most people share their views and thoughts on social media. These platforms are thus ideal grounds for exposing various levels of corruption.
Corruption usually occurs in closed spaces and those that are partaking in it usually do not want to be exposed. ICT therefore presents an opportunity for citizens to be part of the whistle blower initiative. It creates ideal levels of openness and transparency which are key ingredients in fighting corruption. Added to this public funds can be accounted for by the public once the information is shared. A case in point would be the establishment of community related projects such as Constituency Development Fund. The public can account for the use of these funds and share on social media so as to establish a trail of what is occurring in their areas. More so, victims of corruption can use these to gather evidence to substantiate their cases.
Effective engagement cannot succeed when the government institutions are not responsive to these accountability measures and are not willing to share the information using the same platforms. With technological developments, it would be ideal for government institutions to also fully utilise ICT, thus facilitating ease to access of information. For example, information can be shared on budget allocations, project developments and other key initiatives occurring within the government institutions. If all the above measures are institutionalised it will be a tremendous milestone in cushioning corrupt tendencies. It is the responsibility of all citizens to partake in this enormous crusade as a compliment to government efforts in uprooting corruption.
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI Z) is of the view that the use of ICT in the fight against corruption can work in Zimbabwe if all the stakeholders show an interest in adopting these to improve their institutions. If implemented effectively, this can further contribute to improved economic activity in Zimbabwe.