BY STEPHEN CHADENGA LOCAL governance expert Vincent Chakunda has called for legislative mechanisms that ensure that public officials declare their assets to avoid looting and abuse of public resources. Chakunda said this last week while making a presentation at a public finance management workshop in Gweru, which was organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd). He said it was unacceptable that civil servants and politicians became rich overnight, yet their sources of wealth could not be traced. “We can’t have a situation where government employees and other public officials become rich overnight,” Chakunda said. “We should have a public management system that ensures that public officials do not generate wealth through graft. It is, therefore, imperative that these officials declare their sources of wealth.” Chakunda said the Public Management Act should be strengthened to deal with corruption, which he said had destroyed the country’s economy. He said there was need for government to put effective systems in place that ensure public resources are properly managed. He added that there was need to deal with institutionalised corruption which he described as a cancer. “We have a rich pool of resources as a country but as long as we don’t transform government institutions in the way they operate, we will continue to face serious corruption,” he said. According to experts, some of the wealthiest people in Zimbabwe are civil servants and politicians. In 2009, then Speaker of the National Assembly, Lovemore Moyo (MDC), pledged to ensure that all legislators declared their assets, but left without fulfilling the mandate. His successor and current Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda then amended Parliament’s standing rules and orders which included provisions compelling MPs to declare their assets. Some of the assets that legislators are supposed to declare include land in and outside Zimbabwe, buildings, movable assets, financial assets and other assets such as jewellery worth more than $25 000. Last week, the Public Finance Amendment Bill was gazetted, which Zimcodd said should ensure proper parliamentary oversight over public finances. Follow Stephen on Twitter @jagganox78
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