United Nations Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe, Maria Ribeiro says protection of whistleblowers is required to safeguard public interest and urged the Government to have such regulation.
Addressing stakeholders at a national workshop on whistleblower protection in Harare, Ribeiro acknowledged strides made by the Government in the fight against corruption.
“Whistleblower protection is absolutely required to safeguard the public interest and to promote a culture of public accountability and integrity. The risk of corruption is significantly heightened in environments where the reporting of wrongdoing is not supported or protected.
“Many countries are beginning to have such legislation in place. Legislation is an important aspect, especially if it contains key elements that are essential for whistleblower protection. Indeed, The Government of Zimbabwe requires to have such legislation,” said Ribeiro.
She said an effective protection mechanism will result in more reports and protection of whistleblowers from victimization.
“We all need to acknowledge that information about acts of corruption comes to the fore when a whistleblowing system is designed to encourage more reports from citizens and officials in public and private sectors. Key to such a system is the effective protection mechanism that is embedded on the system. There will be more reports of corruption if whistleblowers know and trust that they will be protected from retaliation, reprisal, and victimization.
“Moreover, on the occasion of the launch of the ZACC Strategic Plan, the President also reiterated the call to Zimbabweans to join the Government in the fight against corruption by providing the vital information. Citizens remain key stakeholders in the fight against corruption. In order for them to play an active role, they require protection. To this end, the government must guarantee the protection of whistleblowers through the enactment of the legislation and the effective implementation of such legislation,” she further noted.