Various stakeholders have called on the government to speed up the crafting of legislation to protect whistleblowers of corruption.
Zimbabwe currently has no legislation that protects whistleblowers against any possible after-effects of exposing illicit dealings.
Speaking at a national workshop on whistleblower protection in Harare, the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Melanie Robinson said whistleblowers are important in the fight against corruption and accountability of public funds.
“Whistleblowers are fundamental in uncovering wrongdoing and reducing the loss of critical state funds needed for COVID 19 response, recovery and development more broadly. They are the frontline of our most important assets in the fight against corruption, hold the information needed to hold perpetrators to account and play a pivotal role in ensuring transparency.”
Amb. Robinson added that having solid laws would protect the safety of whistleblowers, who under the current situation are vulnerable to victimisation because of the information they hold.
The United Nations representative in Zimbabwe Maria Ribeiro also emphasised the need for a law that promoted whistleblowing. The UN Resident Coordinator said there would be more whistleblowers if there was a law to guarantee their protection and safety.
“Information about acts of corruption comes to the fore when a whistleblowing system is designed to encourage more reports from citizens, officials and private sectors. Key to such a system is an effective protection mechanism that is embedded in legislation. There would be more reports of corruption if whistleblowers know and trust that they would be protected,” she said.
The country`s main anti-graft body has been encouraging citizens to report any illicit dealings and has come up with some whistleblower platforms. Speaking at the workshop, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said most corruption perpetrators were powerful people hence the need for strong laws.
She said, “We need to take into cognisance that most corruption perpetrators are powerful persons therefore with adequate protection potential whistleblowers are reluctant to come forward with information fearing victimisation. Consequently, without a whistleblower protection framework in place, it would be difficult to with the war against corruption.”
ZACC in collaboration with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in September last year launched a whistleblowing application mechanism as part of efforts to promote whistleblowing of corruption. This tip-off application allows ZACC to receive information and evidence while making the user remain. anonymous.
According to ZACC, Zimbabwe is losing more than $1 billion annually due to corruption.