A Youth Mainstreamed Anti – Corruption Mechanism as the Panacea

Broadly speaking, corruption is the abuse of office by individuals, for their private gain. Zimbabwe ranked joint 160th out of 180 countries in the 2019 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI). On a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), Zimbabwe scored a miserly 22 on the CPI. This marks an increase in corruption since 1999 when the country ranked 4.1 (out of ten). The CPI scores and ranks countries based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be by experts and business executives. It is a composite index, a combination of 13 surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions.

The most visible form of corruption in the country is grand corruption. This is corruption that happens at the highest elite level or the highest political echelons of the country. The list of such corruption scandals on a grand scale goes back to the 1980s with popular scandals like the Willowgate scandal, GMB scandal, Telcel scandal, NOCZIM scandal, Airport Road scandal and the Command Agriculture scandal transcending generations. The ushering in of the new dispensation did not halt the inertia of grand corruption scandals. In a way, the grand corruption scandals have deepened with officials in the political system becoming more daring and brave. We have seen figures in the multi-millions of United States Dollars being embezzled by a trusted holder of public office. Figures like 95 million United States Dollars which was embezzled by a former Minister in the cabinet of the new dispensation are little in comparison to the real amounts being embezzled under the covers of political protection.

The effects of corruption are particularly worrisome for the youth because they pose an intergenerational threat to the economic prosperity of young people. Embezzlement of public funds has the following implications on youth:

  • The nation cannot repay its debt on time and therefore the country falls into a debt trap that the youth must pay for.
  • Social services like basic and higher education suffer and the youth cannot get access to education grants and scholarships.
  • The subsequent lack of education on the part of the youth ushers in a cycle of poverty.
  • Youth owned and led businesses will suffer from lack of venture capital.

Although not entirely exhaustive, the effects of corruption on youth that have been outlined above result in a terrifying reality for the youth if the situation is not rectified.

Read the full report here (196KB PDF)

Source: Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD)

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