Friday, October 14, 2016

Zimbabwe Herald Editorial: We All Have a Duty to Respect the Law
October 13, 2016
Zimbabwe Herald

WORLD Bank research on the impact of corruption on economies shows that the vice has negative effects on growth and development, as it affects efficient allocation and utilisation of resources.According to the World Bank, the average income in countries with high levels of corruption is low at a third of what is earned in countries with low levels of corruption. The study also concluded that the infant mortality rate in such countries is about three times higher and the literacy rate is 25 percent lower.

Although no country has been able to completely eliminate corruption, studies show that the level of corruption in countries with emerging market economies is much higher than it is in developed countries. Like many emerging economies across the world, Zimbabwe is no exception when it comes to countries regarded as heavily afflicted by the cancerous effect of corruption. Ultimately, the sum effect of various factors negatively weighing down on the economy, including corruption, could be partly to blame for the serious economic challenges the Government is now grappling with.

Investopedia defines corruption as “dishonest behaviour by those in positions of power, such as managers or government officials. Corruption can include giving or accepting bribes or inappropriate gifts, double dealing, under-the-table transactions, diverting funds, laundering money and defrauding investors”.

What is worrying is the deliberate misinterpretation of the law by senior Government officials or attempts to redefine where they should direct their effort and focus in a bid to evade accountability and the long arm of the law in instances they are found to have acted ultra vires standing rules.

But our position is that Government must be at the forefront of fighting corruption. Failure to do so will see corruption becoming endemic and tearing apart our economic and social fabric.

It is high time Government took action on corrupt officials to demonstrate its intolerance to misconduct, especially of the nature of corruption, as it affects effective and efficient utilisation of limited resources.

Experts contend that corruption is a cost to business and huge barrier to investment given the long processes and unnecessary costs investors and businesses incur in order to get approvals or applications processed.We have said this time and again and we shall say it again, action must be taken to root out corruption.

The Auditor-General has in numerous audits exposed corrupt tendencies in parastatals and State institutions, but there has not been any single arrest let alone investigations to establish the veracity of such claims. If we do not act now, we shall corrupt our society’s moral fibre. This is the time we need to introspect and ask ourselves where are we really taking this country, for it become will be judged on our actions today.

Also, we must respect the institutions that we set up as a country, as these are the arms and ears responsible for upholding laws and rules of the land. If we fail to respect our own institutions who then will?

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