Stop corruption, Hichilema to public service workers

Zambia president Hakainde Hichilema has castigated the bureaucracy and attitude of public service workers in African governments, saying this is what causes high rates of corruption in many countries.

Poor governance and corruption in government are prevalent in most African governments including Zimbabwe where citizens have complained about the government’s failure to deal with those fingered in graft, especially in public service.

Speaking at the official opening of the ongoing Transform Africa Summit in Victoria Falls on Wednesday, Hichilema who assumed power after winning Zambian polls as an opposition candidate in 2021, said Africa needs seamless borders.

“Unless we digitalise government services, especially at borders we will not be able to have efficiency in government. Since I came to office one year seven months ago, one thing I noticed is bureaucracy in the public sector.

“Most of it is done by workers who have a hidden interest. They are slow knowing that will make the service expensive and as a result lead to corruption,” said Hichilema to applause from a crowd comprising a cross-section of the African continent.

The summit which is being held under the theme: “Connect, innovate and transform” is being attended by ICT experts and innovators from 100 countries in Africa.

Dozens of ministers from the continent also attended the official opening addressed by five Heads of State.

Hichilema said corruption makes government services expensive as it causes a rise in taxes.

“When we digitalise we will lower the cost of taxation and improve treasury collections,” he said.

He said there is a need for government agencies, ministers and officials from different countries to work together and share notes to be able to end corruption and drive Africa forward.

“From here agencies and ministers, talk to each other. As you go for lunch, eat for five minutes and dedicate the rest of the time to interacting and sharing notes,” he advised.

Concerns about slow service and corruption have been topical at various government departments in Zimbabwe as the country still battles use of manual system in many of its services.

Meanwhile, Presidents Mnangagwa, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi and His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini, all concurred on the need to leverage on science and technology for the continent to realise its dreams towards the ‘Africa we want’ agenda.

They said Africa needs to digitalise its economy to leapfrog and catch up with the western world and close the gap.

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