US spending $100 000 a year on anti-corruption in Zimbabwe?

The United States government through its US Agency for International Development was spending US$100 000 a year on a Transparency International Zimbabwe programme that worked with the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s Public Accounts Committee in advocating anti-corruption in the public sector and in closing loopholes in legislation that makes corrupt cases easier.

TIZ was at the time headed by John Makumbe who was also sponsored by the US government to attend an International Visitor Programme to the US in early 2002.

According to a cable released by Wikileaks corruption in Zimbabwe was so rife that though it was once confined to petty transgressions, it had evolved into something on a grand scale, and had permeated every level of society from senior ministers and parastatal executives to civil servants and peasants.

“Nearly everyone with ties to government or the ruling party has benefitted from the government's illegal and massive grab of commercial farms. A political environment of impunity has allowed opportunists to flourish and senior officials to plunder the country's dwindling resources,” the cable says.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE1376, USG ANTICORRUPTION EFFORTS IN ZIMBABWE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1376

2002-06-06 09:46

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 001376

 

SIPDIS

 

SENSITIVE

 

INL/C FOR DLUNA AND JBRANDOLINO

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

LONDON FOR CGURNEY

PARIS FOR CNEARY

TREASURY FOR EBARBER AND CWILKINSON

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV KCRM KSEP SOCI ZI

SUBJECT: USG ANTICORRUPTION EFFORTS IN ZIMBABWE

 

REF: SECSTATE 90733

 

1. (SBU) Corruption at the official level in Zimbabwe has

increased markedly in the last several years as the

Government has systematically undermined the rule of law to

browbeat political opponents and the ruling party has

expanded its already considerable system of patronage.

Corruption, once confined to petty transgressions, has

evolved into something on a grand scale, and it has permeated

every level of society from senior ministers and parastatal

executives to civil servants and peasants. Nearly everyone

with ties to government or the ruling party has benefited

from the government's illegal and massive grab of commercial

farms. A political environment of impunity has allowed

opportunists to flourish and senior officials to plunder the

country's dwindling resources. The Government's half-hearted

effort at an Anti-Corruption Commission in the late 1990s

floundered and it remains unfunded and unstaffed.

Prosecutors have not pursued pending corruption cases against

several ministers and other high-level officials despite

promises from the head of state at the time that justice

would be swift and impartial.

 

2. (SBU) Against this backdrop and given current chilly

US-Zimbabwe relations, the USG provides no anti-corruption

technical assistance to the GOZ. Given the GOZ's

demonstrated lack of political will to fight corruption and

its history of politicizing and misusing direct assistance,

we would not encourage extending any assistance to the GOZ in

this area, nor would we advocate inviting GOZ representatives

to attend the anti-corruption conferences in South Korea next

year.

 

3. (SBU) There are no notable efforts in the Zimbabwe

private sector to temper corruption, but civil society groups

periodically press the GOZ to rein in corruption.

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) leads the civil

society effort, and has a director who coordinates with other

local NGOs, such as ZimRights and the Confederation of

Zimbabwe Industries, in fighting corruption. USAID funds a

$100,000/year TIZ program that works with the Parliament of

Zimbabwe's Public Accounts Committee in advocating

anti-corruption efforts in the public sector and in closing

loopholes in legislation that make corrupt practices easier.

For example, TIZ is seeking the repeal of sections of the

District Development Fund Act that tend to encourage

corruption at the local level. TIZ also continues to press

the GOZ, through the Ministry of Justice, to fund and staff

the Anti-Corruption Commission, and permit it to undertake

its mandated mission. The USG also sponsored TIZ's director,

John Makumbe, on an International Visitor Program visit to

the U.S. in early 2002.

 

SULLIVAN

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