Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi on Wednesday stated that the government will find it difficult to respect the rights of the people for as long as the country is under economic restrictions from the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA).
Zimbabwe has been under the economic embargo from the western power since the turn of the millennium after the controversial and highly violent land reform during former President Robert Mugabe’s era.
The restrictions have been used as a scapegoat for the economic collapse and have been accused of fuelling corruption which deters progress.
Corruption rank in Zimbabwe averaged 123.48 from 1998 until 2018, reaching an all-time high of 166 in 2008 and a record low of 43 in 1998.
This has seen most public institutions failing to perform and the old regime under Mugabe seemed to show a lack of zeal to fight the scourge.
Making a presentation during the launch of the Anti-Corruption Campaign which is sponsored by the EU, Ziyambi said it is difficult for the government to respect people’s rights for as long as sanctions are still there.
He said the resections make it impossible for Zimbabwe to attain its vision 2030 as corruption will still be escalated due to unavailability of basic goods and services which are a right for the struggling masses.
“Among the things we need to deal with is the reform process and the respect of our constitution, fundamental human rights. We cannot respect the rights of the citizens of Zimbabwe when sanctions are still there.
“So I want to call upon my brother (EU Ambassador Timo Olkkonen), as we launch the anti-corruption campaign and say that corruption and sanctions go hand in hand.”
Ziyambi said when a country is under sanctions, shortages of basic commodities will be inevitable hence corruption starts sprouting.
“So I urge him to reconsider the rights of the poor citizens of Zimbabwe and become an advocate of the anti-sanctions drive,” he said.
The sentiments came barely a week after the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had its supporters beaten by the police after they took to the streets to protest against corruption, an ailing economy and poor governance by the Emmerson Mnangagwa administration.
The move was condemned by the EU and the USA as the two powerhouses cited human rights abuses.
EU Ambassador, Timo Olkkonen told the same gathering that Zimbabwe needed to respect the rights of citizens to petition and demonstrate and called on Mnangagwa to ensure a free environment for civil society to keep the government in check.
However, Mnangagwa would have none of it as he said the CSOs needs to stay in their lane and respect the laws of the land.
“May I urge civil society to restrict themselves to their mandate. The rule of law observance is not needed for the purpose of pleasing other countries, we need it because it is proper for ourselves,” warned Mnangagwa.
The coming in of President Mnangagwa had revived hopes that Zimbabwe might start acting on corruption.
The recently commissioned Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has made a number of arrests on senior political figures but the “catch and release” gimmick has raised eyebrows over its willingness to deal with the rampant scourge.