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‘Women are as corrupt as men’

The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) western region coordinator Nhlanhla Mlilo has said that Zimbabwe needs to apply a rights-based approach to gendered corruption.

Addressing different stakeholders during a gendered corruption workshop hosted by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) in Bulawayo on Friday, Mlilo said that when debating about gender and corruption there is need to bring arguments that are evidence based.

 “The research like gender and corruption were the main pillars that cast to the conversation that women are less corrupt that men,” said Mlilo.

“The problem with research is that it is general and it also depends on who is funding that research and for what purpose is that research for.”

Mlilo said that corruption is a crime of opportunity hence the notion that women are less corrupt than men is dangerous.

“The way we approach gendered corruption deflects the question what women can do to reduce corruption.

“The country needs to view women as active participants when it comes to gendered corruption not to view them as objects.

“Until we appreciate that women have the equal footing when it comes to corruption, we will always have a problem of favouring women at the expense of men on gendered corruption.”

He added that Zimbabweans need to account for a more comprehensive understanding of the term gender and also urged relevant stakeholders in the field of fighting corruption to do further research to counter the challenges.

Meanwhile, TIZ’s Assistant Advocacy and Policy Officer Njabulo Moyo said that one of the fundamental challenges of fighting corruption in Zimbabwe is funding.

“There is capacity gap when it comes to fighting corruption for example our police departments do not have necessary resources like cars so that they can be always on time and available,” said Moyo.

“As civil society organisations we are not playing a complementary role, we need to organise resources in order to fight corruption.”

He said that the problem is that many people in Zimbabwe approach corruption with solutions.

“We need to approach developmental issues with questions not solutions because we need to have a balance between capacity and corruption. Also, we have to practice vertical accountability on corruption.

Speaking at the same workshop a lawyer, Nikiwe Tshabalala said that women are the most affected by corruption in that “whilst they are not accessing most of the influential positions to change policies, they are the most vulnerable to extortion.”

She added that women are most affected when it comes to public service provision.

“There are also high levels of corruption in our police stations, yesterday when I was at a police station a police officer was bribed to release a rapist and when the complainant arrived to give a statement the man was already gone,” added Tshabalala.

Tshabalala reiterated that the problem with Zimbabwe is that it does not have specific legislation to deal with corruption.

“The Special Unit on corruption has not achieved anything since its inception by the President because there is no power in that special unit and the country is nowhere near upholding the rule of law as long as the President is the one appointing commission members”

The stakeholders present at the workshop agreed that media and civil society need to cultivate and strengthen the culture of whistle blowing and demanding accountability.

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