Zimbabwe has launched anti-corruption courts set to tackle high cases of corruption in the country, ranked 157 out of 185 on the World Corruption Index released recently by Transparency International.
Twelve magistrates are expected to be preside over cases of corruption in the five anti-corruption courts officially launched Thursday by Chief Justice Luke Malaba in Harare and Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo. Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi says this is part of his 100-day Rapid Results Initiative, which he has to meet before April 10th.
In an effort to curb corruption, President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Monday released a list of individuals and companies who are alleged to have ignored his directive to return all illegally externalized funds, amounting to billions of dollars.
Critics are skeptical about the government’s move following indications that it is investigating former First Lady Grace Mugabe, linked to a new opposition political party, for allegedly attempting to smuggle an assortment of animal products, including elephant tusks to the United Arab Emirates, China and other nations.
Ziyambi said Zimbabwe needs to curb rampant corruption in order to register significant growth.
“We are sending a message to would-be people who want to be corrupt that it’s no longer business as usual. So, it’s a deterrent measure on its own when people are conscious that when I engage in corrupt activities there is an express route to prison … We mean business. We have to deal with corruption in order to turn around the economy.”
Some cabinet ministers in 1988 were involved in the illegal buying of vehicles using a state-sanctioned facility but some of them were not punished by the government. One of them, Maurice Nyagumbo, took his own life when investigations were in progress.
Several ministers and top government officials have been implicated in other scandals since independence from British rule in 1980.
Currently, the government is investigating Mrs. Mugabe for allegedly attempting to use a state facility to smuggle animal products to several nations. Her husband, former president Robert Mugabe, has been linked to the National Patriotic Front, which opposes his removal from power by the military and Mnangagwa last November.