BY Stephen Chadenga

A LOCAL governance expert, Vincent Chakunda, has called for legislative framework that ensures that public officials declare their assets to avoid looting and abuse of public resources.

Speaking recently at a Public Finance Management workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) in Gweru, Chakunda said it was ironic that despite their low salaries and allowances, civil servants and politicians became rich overnight with untraceable wealth.

“Government employees and other public officials should have wealth that is traceable,” Chakunda said.

“We can’t have public officials who become millionaires overnight. We should have a public management system that ensures that public officials do not generate wealth through corruption.”

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Chakunda said the Public Management Act should be strengthened to deal with graft, which he said had destroyed the economy.

He said it was disheartening that public officials who got their wealth through corruption were being treated as enterprising people when they should be arrested.

Chakunda said there was need to deal with institutionalised corruption which he said had become a cancer in the country.

“We may have good laws but as long as we don’t transform government institutions in the way they operate, we will continue to face serious corruption,” he said.

Experts say some of the wealthiest people in Zimbabwe are senior civil servants and politicians.

In 2009, then Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, promised that he would fight to ensure that all legislators declared their assets and the assets register be kept at Parliament.

The pledge by Moyo, however, suffered a stillbirth with critics suggesting that it was resisted because most public officials had “skeletons in their cupboards”.