Community based organisations have called for the implementation of strong legal frameworks which are meant to protect whistleblowers who report corruption-related crimes in the country.
This came out during a digital meeting that was held by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), Tuesday, to understand legal frameworks in the anti-corruption drive.
Speaking during the meeting, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) communications officer, Kelebone Khabo said there is need for a robust whistleblower protection policy.
“We need a robust whistleblower protection policy in Zimbabwe but unfortunately the same people who we want to come up with that framework are the ones who are corrupt,” said Khabo.
TIZ Assistant Legal Officer, Marylin Sibanda said whistleblowers are scared to report corruption due to fear of victimisation and lack of protection.
“Looking at high case corruption people are scared of being victimised and being vulnerable, most cases go unreported,” said Ngwenya
“What Zimbabwe needs right now is whistleblower protection from the start of the reporting and investigation of the case as well as during the investigations, even though protection is there during the investigations, it, however, has complications as well.”
She said there is a need for whistleblowers to be protected even after the case has been successfully executed.
“And then after the case has been successfully executed then we need whistleblowers to be protected, legislation is ok but the implementation and operation becomes tricky, sometimes you see that we have so many Statutory Instruments that keep on popping up and causing inconsistencies, there are so many laws that are not aligned with the constitution, so I think what needs to happen we need to align and implement our laws properly so that we fight corruption,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Samukele Hadebe said whistleblowing is important in fighting corruption hence the need for legal frameworks to promote transparency.
“The legal frameworks need to promote transparency, we don’t want a situation where the prosecution of corruption is only understood by a very few and the ordinary man and women in the street does not seem to follow what is happening, so the laws must be such that there is transparency and also promote accountability as well as justice,” said Dr Hadebe.
“The other important aspect in the legal framework is to see or ensure that there is access to information and transparency to citizens as well as the media players, there is no way you can fight corruption unless the information is available. If information is not available people will get away with corrupt practices because we have no evidence,” he said.
Dr Hadebe said laws must be crafted in such a way that can make it easy for whistleblowers.
“ There are laws that can make it difficult for you to be a whistleblower, laws that can make you liable to defamation and lawsuits, all those things we should balance up to say sometimes we have these laws but there are other counters that make it difficult to implement these,” said Dr Hadebe.