BUSINESS EDITOR 27 January 2017
HARARE – Zimbabwe has been ranked the 12th most corrupt country in the
world and 11th in Africa in the latest rankings released by Transparency
International this week.
The country was ranked the 18th most corrupt globally in 2015 and eight in
The latest findings show that the country – led by President Robert Mugabe
since gaining independence from Britain in 1980 – is losing the fight
against corruption, which has condemned Zimbabwe to be one of the poorest
countries on earth.
Transparency International chairman Jose Ugaz, said when traditional
politicians fail to tackle corruption, people grow cynical.
“In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and
go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and
corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity,” he said.
In a list compiled and released annually by the organisation, Zimbabwe is
now listed with a very low Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) Score of 22
in a possible range of index range of 0 (representing highly corrupt) to
100 (very clean).
The CPI scores and ranks countries based on how corrupt a country’s public
sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index, a combination of
surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable
institutions. The CPI is the most widely used indicator of corruption
According to Transparency International, the score is based on perceptions
as corruption comprises illegal activities, which are deliberately hidden
and only come to light through scandals, investigations or prosecutions,
therefore limiting the meaningful ways to assess absolute levels of
corruption in countries or territories on the basis of hard data.
Interestingly, Zimbabwe scored worse than countries generally perceived to
be more corrupt on the continent such as Nigeria – which has an index
score of 28 and is ranked 19th most corrupt country in the world – and
Kenya – 26 CPI and 16th most corrupt globally.
The only African countries reported to have more corruption than Zimbabwe
in this year’s report include Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Angola, Libya,
Eritrea, and Guinea-Bissau, all countries that have faced civil unrest,
wars or conflict of some kind in the last 15 years.
Data gathered from Transparency International shows that Zimbabwe is
losing at least $1 billion annually to corruption, with police and local
government officials among the worst offenders.
But critics say the government is not committed to fighting corruption,
apart from Mugabe’s half-hearted rhetoric against the scourge.
The increasingly frail nonagenarian leader has in the past admitted that
even his Cabinet ministers are corrupt but rarely takes action against
influential people implicated in serious graft cases.
The creation of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) in 2011 was
welcomed by citizens who hoped the watchdog would curb graft, especially
in the public offices but the organisation has been starved of funding by
Zimbabwe’s auditor-general also routinely issues adverse reports on abuse
of public sector funds, but these have gone largely ignored with no
discernible action taken against offending officials.
Last year, the auditor-general found 22 ministries, out of a total 26, to
have abused funds as well as having flouted procurement procedures and
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) chairperson Willia Bonyongwe said her
organisation was working against the clock to reduce corruption within its
ranks as part of strategies to improve tax collection and boost the
country’s depleting coffers.
“The Zimra board has zero tolerance on corruption and we make no apologies
for it because it is wicked for someone to get revenue destined for
government and not meet the government’s obligations,” she said.
Bonyongwe said it was crucial for all arms of government to step up
efforts to crack down on corruption and punish poor decision-making that
has cost large State-run conglomerates millions of dollars in losses in
“Eradicating corruption at Zimra will impact positively on the performance
of the economy. So, we need to walk the talk, people are waiting for
people to lose the gains of corruption through appropriate penalties and
to see some people go to jail,” she said.
“It is heartening that the Judiciary has recognised and is also having an
anti-corruption campaign to clean the system. It gives us hope,” she