Curbing corruption: It begins with you it begins with me

Billy is a 19 year old boy who recently finished his Advanced level studies and is waiting to go to University. However for Billy, staying at home is becoming boring so he decides to start driving school lessons with a local driving school company.

He completes the 30 driving lessons and decides to finally go for a test drive. He fails the first time but he knows, he did well to maneuver his way past the drums.

Billy does not give up, he goes again for the second time and the result is the same. He politely asks the inspector where he is doing wrong. The official sternly looks into the Youngman’s unsuspecting eyes and asks him “do you think you are smart enough to get a license usina kumbondionawo, this is Harare young man


Confused, Billy asks the inspector the meaning of that statement and he is bluntly told “ingoisa ka waya zvinobva zvafaya” (just give me $100 and everything will be fine).

Poor Billy goes home to his parents who cannot afford to part ways with such amount of money and suddenly his hopes of owning a driver’s license are thrown into the drain.

Chances are that if Billy had the $100 he would be a ‘proud’ owner of driver’s license albeit through corruption.

This is just s tip of the iceberg on the extent of corruption in Zimbabwe. The question that lingers on everyone’s lips is ‘how can we stop the rot?’ And to be honest, we all might fail to answer that question but it is simple, IT BEGINS WITH YOU. Yes, it takes two to tangle, the old saying goes, but if I play my part and the next person plays his or her part then we will see a change.

On 12 May the British government held a mini summit on Anti-corruption in Harare where the British Ambassador underscored the need to include youths in anti-corruption bodies so that they help in fighting this scourge.

Zimbabwe is ranked 150 on the Transparency Index on Good Governance as of December 2015.

I long to see a day when we will make an effort to be highly ranked. There is nothing that can stop us from being the least corrupt country in the world.

Many will ask what really corruption is

Corruption is not just the clearly “bad” cases of government officials skimming off money for their own benefit. It includes cases where the systems don’t work well, and ordinary people are left in a bind, needing to give a bribe for the medicine or the licenses they need. All of the above are examples of public corruption. They all involve the misuse of public office for private gain. In other words, they involve a government official benefiting at the expense of the taxpayer or at the expense of the average person who comes into contact with the government. By contrast, private corruption is between individuals in the private sector.

Where did this rot come from?

The evil and upward spiral of corruption took a dramatic upward turn following the watershed elections of 2001/2002. From 1980 to 1987 corruption was largely opportunistic corruption or greed corruption; from 1987 to 2001 we witnessed the emergence of political elite corruption or network corruption. This was fast followed by patronage corruption as the networks needed protection and ensured political loyalty and leverage by the patrons. From 2002 were entered political corruption, chaotic corruption and now we are in the belly of a new phenomenon of corruption called the Corruption Factory or systemic or managed corruption that has engulfed the private sector in a greater manner than before.

The politicization of our nation has had catastrophic impact on our economy as well as our levels of transparency, integrity and accountability. The economic downturn of our country can be directly linked to the deterioration of democratic governance and the substitution of the nation for the party

As the economy took a tumble the political elites became increasingly powerful as to who received what of the shrinking national resources. Scarcity of resources and unlimited political power are the classic recipe for corruption, especially in Africa were political power and political patronage are a means to gain and keep economic enrichment. .

As a youth, I have the right to demand what I think is good for my future. As a country we need to change the model of governance practiced in our nation as it has played a significant part in creating patronage, immunity and impunity to perpetrators of crime and corruption.

We need the de-politicization of national discourse so that political considerations do not override the legitimacy of those with dissenting views.

For as long as we do not have the restoration of democratic freedoms of speech or association corruption will never end.

At the recently held Anti-Corruption in Harare, youths agreed that the restoration of the rule of law will make long strides in as far as reducing or better still stopping corruption is concerned.

The debate might rage on as to who should play a part in stopping corruption, but I say IT BEGINS WITH YOU.

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