COMMUNITY ACTIVIST TAKES CORRUPTION HEAD ON
Paul Makuvise is a 51 year old man residing in Makuvise village, ward 5 of Buhera District. From an early age Paul had a passion and strong desire to fight for justice and fairness. He recalls many incidences where as a young boy he defended helpless boys from cruel bullies whilst herding cattle in Buhera. As he grew up Paul continued to fight for transparency and accountability in developmental projects that took place in his community.
2014 was a year in which significant changes took place in the life of Paul Makuvise. Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI Z) came to Buhera to have a meeting with community members. The goal of the meeting was to raise awareness on the issues of corruption and discuss what the community could do to fight corruption. Paul was also chosen at the same meeting by members of his community to be a member of an Accountability Monitoring Committee. The role of the committee is to monitor and fight corruption issues that will be happening in the community. Paul was then trained by TI Z’s Community Mobilisation and Advocacy unit (CMA) in community activism and anti-corruption work. The training that Paul received focused on community mobilisation, corruption monitoring tools, and supporting victims and witnesses of corruption.
Paul has used the knowledge and skills he gained from TI Z to fight corruption in his community as an AMC member. In 2016 and 2017 Paul confronted the evils of corruption that were manifesting in food distribution in his community. Buhera District faces perennial food insecurity problems resulting in massive hunger in the District. The Government through the department of Social Welfare usually distributes food to villagers in Buhera. Some traditional leaders started to receive bribes from villagers who wanted to get extra food. This led to some vulnerable and deserving members of the community being removed from the food registers. The corrupt villagers would then get double allocations. The food distribution system was choked with corruption and lack of transparency. Paul stood up boldly against the system. He questioned why Village Heads were corruptly registering people and using political party affiliations to select food beneficiaries. Paul later reported the issue to TIZ’s Advocacy Legal Advice Centre (ALAC). ALAC took the case to the Social Welfare department and demanded that food be distributed to the hungry transparently. The District Administrator of Buhera came to meet with the traditional leaders and Paul raised the issue of corruption in food aid with him. The poor and vulnerable that had been left out of the process were then included. People like Paul Makuvise who are selfless and bold can make our leaders accountable and our country a better place. Paul’s story is an example of how ordinary citizens can stand up against corruption and make a difference in their communities. Citizens must participate in the governance of their communities and hold their leaders accountable to good governance.