Corruption in Zimbabwe: an examination of the roles of the state and civil society in combating corruption

Moyo, Stephen (2014) Corruption in Zimbabwe: an examination of the roles of the state and civil society in combating corruption. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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This thesis examines the roles of the state and civil society in combating corruption in Zimbabwe. The thesis initially investigates whether and how the state-civil society relation influences or impedes Anti-Corruption management, and subsequently examines strategies deployed by the state and civil society organisations (CSOs) to combat corruption. Particular attention is paid to the role and impact of the state in designing and implementing Anti-Corruption policies, and the role civil society plays in influencing Anti-Corruption legislation and policy. In-depth interviews with key informants drawn from different levels within the government and civil society in Zimbabwe were conducted focusing on obtaining the different actors’ perspective on how corruption in Zimbabwe was being produced and reinforced, and the roles played by the different actors in its perpetuation or curtailment.

The findings of this thesis indicate that the prevalence of corruption in Zimbabwe is chiefly a consequence of a lack of political will to address the problem, and a myriad of complex factors. This reasons with the argument that the top political elite are perceived to be the primary beneficiaries of corruption. Thus, while there are concrete and noticeable developments in establishing the legal and constitutional framework to fight corruption, there is a continued absence of a clear demonstration of political will to fight corruption. The thesis argues that political leadership and commitment to fight corruption is one of the most fundamental preconditions for success in the fight against it. Secondly, weak institutions have contributed to the proliferation of corruption in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has multiple Anti-Corruption initiatives shared between the state and civil society (to a limited extent) spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and Transparency International-Zimbabwe (TI-Z). However, initiatives have achieved limited success in alleviating corruption as demonstrated by current data suggesting endemic corruption in Zimbabwe. While civil society may be seen as lacking the policy and political space to articulate and influence policy formulation and implementation, it is equally important to understand the historical background between civil society and the state which has produced such an outcome, and how malpractices within CSOs in some cases has hindered progress in executing its mandate. Anti-Corruption strategies are effective when they are participative and engaging of all stakeholders within society, but ultimately it is the level of power and ability to exercise agency that determines any real change. In the context of Zimbabwe, such all-inclusiveness has entailed building coalitions among stakeholders such as the state, civil society organisations, private sector and the general public in order to embolden the sustainability of strategies.

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