President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s last State of the Nation Address (SONA) has been described as a ‘high sounding nothing’ due to his failure to strongly condemn corruption rife in his administration.
Transparency International in its latest survey ranked Zimbabwe number 152 out of 180 countries with a score of 23 out of 100.
Commenting on Mnangagwa’s latest SONA address, Bulawayo Central legislator Nicola Watson said the President did not articulate measures to curb corruption in Zimbabwe.
“Thank you Hon. Speaker for this opportunity to debate the Address to Parliament by the President during SONA. In his speech, the President said foreign currency earnings amounted to USD7.7 billion for the eight months to the 31st August, 2022; an increase of 32.4% of the same period in the previous year.
“On checking, I found that this relates purely to mineral exports. Zimbabwe is a rich country with minerals yet poor and unable to provide free education for its children and to provide even the most basic medications in its healthcare facilities,” she said.
“Zimbabwe reals under corruption and Zimbabwe’s wealth will never be shared with its population that benefited. There was nothing particularly in the SONA speech which spoke to dealing with issues around corruption.”
Where the President spoke about universal health coverage, Watson said the health system was totally underfunded to the extent that per capita spending on health had gone down from USD90 to USD48 per person, “which is a huge drop in per capita spending and as a consequence, although clinics have been built, hospitals refurbished to an extent, there are no medicines and there is insufficient medical staff to cater for the needs of Zimbabweans.”
She added: “In order for Zimbabwe to benefit from its wealth, it needs to have more than just rhetoric around the issues around corruption. The President urged all stakeholders to scale up programmes to end the menace and scourge of drugs and substance abuse, yet we have the laws and the security sector in Zimbabwe which are supposed to deal with those who sell and import drugs, not merely persons who are caught with them or peddling them on a small scale. This does not seem to be happening and one wonders if that is not also a facet of the deep-seated corruption.”
Transparency International recently accused the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) of being a toothless bulldog in tackling graft with arrests of high profile individuals leading to them being released by the courts.
“Anti-corruption agencies and oversight institutions must have sufficient resources and independence to perform their duties. Governments should strengthen institutional controls to manage risk of corruption in defence and security.
“Ensure the public receives accessible, timely and meaningful information, including on public spending and resource distribution. Policies and resources should be determined by fair and public processes. Top-scoring countries need to clamp down on corporate secrecy, foreign bribery and complicit professional enablers, such as bankers and lawyers,” the organisation said.