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Wielding a sword against corruption

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Corruption is a deplorable activity that haunts Zimbabwe across all walks of life. Corruption is spreading like a veldt fire and a tough stance by all stakeholders is well overdue. The African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption (APNAC) Zimbabwe chapter has taken it upon its shoulders to weather the storm by calling their first press conference to publicly express their denunciation of any form of corruption in the country.

Speaking at the conference, the Chairman for APNAC, Honourable Willas Madzimure, expressed concern that some public office bearers are busy enriching themselves at a time when the taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet. He called upon the President of Zimbabwe to quickly appoint the Anti Corruption Commission, which might help look into these issues. He also added that the Commission so assigned should promptly give feed feedback to the parliamentarians. Honourable Madzimure also called upon the government to implement the law that requires members of parliament and senior government officials to declare their assets to the state before assuming public office, stressing also that their accumulation of wealth should be put under public scrutiny.

Honourable Madzimure made it clear that Members of Parliament have the right to access any sector to find facts on behalf of the people whom they represent. His statement comes amid reports that the government barred MPs from the Mines and Energy portfolio committee from touring the Chiadzwa diamond fields on a fact-finding mission to understand the background to the allegations of corrupt dealings involving senior government officials.

APNAC expressed condemnation of the mis-allocation of residential stands, approval of substandard and incomplete infrastructure developments and abuse of council property including vehicles. He also expressed concern over the reports that councilors are allegedly allocating themselves houses belonging to the poor and on reports that illustrate corruption by high-level government official and influential business people. He called upon the police to desist from assuming a reluctant stance when handling corruption cases that involve government officials when they are reported.

Though the Honourable Madzimure did not mention any names, it was apparent that the APNAC criticism was directed at the council house scandal and the corruption that has entangled Minister Chombo and the flamboyant businessman, Chiyangwa, who boasts of owning almost a fifth of the city of Harare. The two men are alleged to have connived with top city officials to allocate themselves vast tracts of land. The case is still under police investigation, though a council report clearly pointed out anomalies in the manner in which land deals were undertaken.

Responding to the question whether APNAC is prepared to shoulder potential victimisation and dangerous consequences in their endeavor to combat corruption involving very powerful politicians, APNAC members stressed that they have sacrificially placed themselves on the persecution altar, for the cause of good governance. However to achieve better results the APNAC called for synergies with the police and other interested parties that share the same hatred for corruption.

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