The Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) urged President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and his two Vice Presidents (Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi) to be exemplary and be the first to publicly declare their assets and liabilities as a tool to inspire others, prevent corruption, and facilitate the detection of illicit enrichment and conflict of interest.
Mr. Obert Chinhamo, the Director of ACT-SA urged President Mnangagwa and his two deputies to lead the asset declaration process by doing it first since this has the potential of inspiring and motivating others.
“It is one of the practices of exemplary leadership to inspire others by doing it first. Leaders must be prepared to show others how it is done. President Mnangagwa should lead by example and declare his assets and liabilities similar to what the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has done. It makes a lot of sense if President Mnangagwa and his two Vice Presidents, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, lead the process. By declaring assets, and liabilities, it shows clearly that one has nothing to hide. There is a lot of benefit since it also increases the trust of citizens in individual politicians and civil servants.” he says.
ACT-SA submits that these declarations are important for many reasons that include:
a) The declarations show that politicians and civil servants have nothing to hide and this increases transparency and the trust of citizens in public administration;
b) Declarations help to prevent conflicts of interest and to resolve such situations when they arise, in order to promote integrity;
c) They are used to monitor wealth creation by individual politicians and civil servants, in order to dissuade them from misconduct and protect them from false accusations, and to help clarify the full scope of illicit enrichment or other illegal activities.
Mr. Chinhamo added that it should part of the law that all individual politicians and senior civil servants declare their assets and liabilities before taking office.
“The law should make it mandatory that all politicians and high profile civil servants declare their assets and liabilities before taking office. This is one of the areas that need reform. We hope and trust that President Mnangagwa will not leave out these declarations in his list of anti-corruption activities” he adds.
ACT-SA added that public disclosure of the private assets of public officials and family members do not clash with the rights to privacy and data protection. Both rights are not absolute and can be restricted provided there is a basis in law and a legitimate public interest justifies the restriction. Prevention of corruption and exposing unexplained wealth of officials are serious and legitimate public interests.
Source: Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA)