THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has solicited the assistance of churches to root out corruption across various sectors, the Daily News reports.
This comes as the commission has broadened its investigative scope to cover money laundering, misappropriation of funds and extortion by both public and private sector officials.
Speaking during a workshop on the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (Nacs) with leaders from various church denominations in Harare yesterday, Zacc chairperson Loice Matanda-Moyo said the country’s biggest challenge was corruption, which had not only destroyed the moral fabric of society, but had undermined the confidence of the people in public institutions and destroyed livelihoods.
“Research has shown that 85 to 87 percent of Zimbabweans belong to a religious group. To this end, religion or the church is bequeathed with the responsibility to inculcate good values, including teaching the nature and effects of corruption.
“From this research, it, therefore, follows that, in every institution, public or private, there are more people who are religious as compared to those who may not be. Thus, the religious people either participate in corruption or they choose not to report corruption
“I have no doubt that senior government officials, civil servants, members of independent commissions, local authorities and even officials in the private sector are church members to various denominations which are ably led by pastors here present.
“It is, therefore, the role of the church to pray for us as leaders. If leaders are corrupt then churches should be blamed for not fulfilling their role,” Matanda-Moyo said.
Matanda-Moyo added that owing to corruption and looting of public funds, many churchgoers were struggling to make ends meet, hence the need for the church to join the fight against the scourge.
“We have all felt the social, economic and business impact of corruption in all sectors of our country. Many churchgoers are struggling to make ends meet in their everyday lives, and we feel the pinch of reality just like everyone else. Believers are not exempt from trials of this country and the world. We are living in perilous and drastic times. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
“There is just something about churches that society finds in times of tragedy and hardship.
“Currently, we are facing this menace of corruption. People have lost hope; there is loss of critical moral values, increased poverty, broken families, drug abuse, loss of life, poor service delivery among others. However, the church should preach hope, and love.
“Once love is present, love for yourself and neighbour there is no room for greed,” she said.
“The role and importance of the church in the community therefore cannot be overemphasised. The church is the lifeline of any society. It keeps people grounded and instils change in people’s lives. The church has to be involved in every facet of the life of a believer. I am sure that you may have noticed that people tend to flock to churches at the time of crisis be it personal or national tragedy.”
Matanda-Moyo said that given that the majority of the nation belonged to a religious group, corruption should not be on the upward trajectory.
“The church should encourage its participants to blow the whistle on suspected cases of corruption, provide pressure on issues pertaining to improved accountability and transparency in public institutions.
“Pastors should be setting good examples to their congregants by not indulging in corrupt activities such as bribing officials to obtain land to build churches and accepting suspicious tithes. We encourage blowing the whistle on congregants that pay suspicious tithes,” she said.