The international anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International, says Zimbabwe is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
In its 2012 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) launched Wednesday in Harare, the organization said the country scored 20 points out of 100, an indication that it has high cases of corruption.
The index is presented on a scale from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (clean). Zimbabwe was ranked 163 out of 176 assessed nations, making it the most corrupt nation in the Southern African Development Community region.
According to Transparency International, Somalia and North Korea are the world’s most corrupt countries while Denmark and Finland are seen as nations with the least cases of corruption.
The report revealed that corruption is gaining momentum in Zimbabwe, especially in the education, mining, health and sports sectors.
It said corruption has been rampant in the education sector where gross nepotism and favoritism have been used by education officials to exclude deserving orphans from benefiting in the nation’s Basic Education Assistance Module.
“There has been poor service delivery in the health sector in which drugs meant for free distribution to HIV positive people were being sold at a fee by local nurses,” said TI.
It noted that the extractive industry has been tainted with incidents of bribery in the issuing of mining licenses and claims.
“Corruption amounts to a dirty tax, and the poor and most vulnerable are its primary victims especially the rural and marginalized communities.”
According to Transparency International, all this shows that corruption is a key governance issue which is affecting development and the democratisation process.
It also said there is need for the government to step up anti-corruption initiatives.
Zimbabwe has an Anti-Corruption Commission which is reportedly failing to fight corruption.
Transparency International-Zimbabwe programs manager, Itai Chikowore, told VOA Studio 7 that his organisation worked together with some civil society groups and governments worldwide to come up with this report.
The organization launched the CPI in 2012 and ranks countries and territories based on perceived corruption in the public sector. It is a combination of polls, drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions.
In 2011, Zimbabwe had a CPI score of 2.2 and overall rank of 254 out of 182 assessed nations.
Interview With Itai Chikowore