No to bambazonke! Govt must decentralise COVID-19 related tenders

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) says the procurement process for COVID-19 related supplies must be decentralised to stem corrupt activities.

Speaking during a virtual Public Finance Indaba hosted by Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) meeting to discuss public resources management in the era of COVID-19, TIZ executive director Muchaneta Mundopa said the centralisation of the procurement process has become an avenue of corruption in Zimbabwe. 

“We believe as an institution that whilst it is very important for the government to be taking steps at this time to procure any materials and equipment needed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we should still maintain principles of good governance in managing the funds and the procurement processes must be still be upheld,” said Mundopa. 

“We are here once again talking about issues of transparency, accountability and corruption in the way we handle disasters or crisis, we had the same issue with Cyclone Idai, with the cholera outbreak and one would have thought that the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) by virtue of the powers vested on them, they would take a corruption risk analysis of the gaps and opportunities that are there during disaster or crisis or humanitarian aid issues to make recommendation to the government on how to close those loopholes and gaps, but we see that nothing was done and we are now facing the same issues again.” 

She expressed great concern of suppliers of the COVID-19 suppliers being based in Harare while this is a national disaster. 

“When you look at the procurement procedures that were introduced by Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) in an effort to acquire the goods, we see that in as much as the list of the suppliers was packaged, what we have noticed is that most of these suppliers are based in Harare, Covid-19 is a nationwide thing why not decentralise the awarding of the contracts for the suppliers,” said Mundopa. 

Mundopa also called on the government to publish the names of companies who are given tenders to supply COVID-19 related materials.

“We seem not bothered to tackle the issues of grand corruption and it perpetuates a cycle where corruption has become a norm and we do not have the issue of accountability and transparency in the way we view public finances,” she said. 

Meanwhile, speaking during the same meeting, Luveve Constituency Member of Parliament Stellah Ndlovu said there is need for action when dealing with corruption especially in the health sector during this COVID-19 period. 

“The issues of corruption especially in health during this COVID-19 period is worrying. We hear that some people are busy milking the country some few dollars that we have.  what can we do as a country to stop this corruption, already corruption has brought this country into its knees, talking only will not stop this corruption,” said Ndlovu. 

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