State capture, corruption in Zimbabwe continue to be a concern: Risch

By Almot Maqolo

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Zimbabwe’s institutions for regulating property rights, law and finance have been ensnared, and are actively abused to facilitate rent-seeking by cartels, a new report shows.

Maverick Citizen’s report Cartel Power Dynamics in Zimbabwe shows that there is “consensus across political parties, academics and wider society that cartels go against the public interest and they are characterised by collusion between the private sector and influential politicians to attain monopolistic positions, fix prices and stifle of competition.”

Zimbabwe ranks number 157th on Transparency International world corruption index.

“The cartels impact Zimbabweans in multiple ways – entrenching their patrons’ hold on power, retarding democratisation, destroying service delivery for citizens and creating an uncompetitive business climate – which leaves Zimbabweans poorer, more severely underserved by their government and disempowered to hold the state to account,” Maverick Citizen stated.

This study shows that cartels are deeply entrenched in many parts of Zimbabwean life.

“It is therefore vital to break the hold of the cartels over the state and its economy if Zimbabwe is to move into a more economically stable future. Under the current governing administration, the citizens of Zimbabwe and civil society can make small practical steps towards curbing cartels,” reads part of the report.

To best achieve this, the report stressed the need to focus on leveraging the constitution and parliament, safeguarding those championing reform in the state, lobbying continually for the independence of key institutions and reaching out to external actors to apply pressure on the private sector to disengage from cartels.

“This will not happen overnight, but it is an essential set of steps on the road towards a more prosperous Zimbabwe.”

Transparency International Zimbabwe notes that the cost of corruption involving state officials, including the police, local government, education officials and transport sector regulators, is in excess of US$1 billion every year.

It also caught the eye of U.S. Senator Jim Risch, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“State capture and corruption in #Zimbabwe continue to be a concern of mine. A timely report released by @dailymaverick exposes the destructive effects that elite cartels play in robbing the country’s future. Our partners, the Zimbabwean people, deserve better. #DemLoot,” Senator Risch tweeted.

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