Zim corruption rank still high at 158: Transparency International

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Tapiwanashe Mangwiro

HARARE – Zimbabwe is the 158th most corrupt country in the world, an improvement of two places from the 2018 ranking, according to a report by Transparency International (TI).

According to the watchdog’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Zimbabwe’s CPI score has moved for the first time since 2017 to 24 from 22 out of 100. The regional score for Sub-Saharan Africa came in at 32 which is 8 points higher than that of Zimbabwe. The country has on average, since 2012, scored an average of 23.5 out of 100.

The worst score to be registered by the country came in 2008 when it was ranked 166 on the CPI, while 1998 still remains its best year.

In 2016, TI Zimbabwe chapter said the country was losing about $1 billion annually to corruption. Corruption mainly consists of public officials demanding bribes for basic services like approving a house plan to facilitating investment.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is highly corrupt and 1 is least corrupt. The report noted that, over the past two years, two-thirds of the countries continue to score below 50 on the CPI, with an average score of just 43.

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the lowest scoring region in the world with a score of 32. The watchdog also said the region’s performance paints a “bleak picture of inaction against corruption”.

With a score of 66 the Seychelles earns the highest mark in the SSA region, followed by Botswana 61, Cabo Verde 58, Rwanda 53 and Mauritius 52. At the bottom of the index are Somalia with 9, South Sudan 12, Sudan 16 and Equatorial Guinea with 16.

“Money is used to win elections, consolidate power and further personal interests. Although the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption has provisions to prevent corruption and encourage transparency in campaign financing, implementation is weak,” stated the report.

On the global front, the report noted that corruption was more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.

“Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems,” said TI chair Delia Rubio.

TI managing director Patricia Moreira added that all citizens of the nation should be equally represented in decision making. She said there is need to tackle the relationship between politics and big money in order to have any chance to end corruption and improve people’s lives.

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