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Sextortion On The Rise Amidst Hunger & Corruption


By Martin Muleya

MUTARE- Sinikiwe Ncube 20years (not her real name) has been admitted for Tertiary education at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo.

Born and nurtured by her single mother, she aspires to also look after her upon completing her Chemical engineering degree. As the deadline for registering at the esteemed University of Sciences beckons, Sinikiwe has sleepless nights pondering where she will get the required US $500 for her fees and accomodation.

A so-called good Samaritan heeds her call after she extended a begging bowl to the corporate world. The Samaritan offers to pay all her fees for the whole year but only if she agrees to his ‘condition’.

The Samaritan wants Sinikiwe who is gifted with beautiful looks to play with him ‘the hide-sausage-game’ but the poor young lady is not interested in all that. Her mind is now fixed on furthering her studies so she can look after her ailing mother.

Such is the predicament faced by vulnerable young girls who would have completed high school and want to further their studies but have families that cannot afford to send them to University.

Sextortion is a rare type of corruption but has also hit the country at alarming levels with the young ladies suffering in silence.

Today (yesterday) as the rest of the world Commemorates International Day of Corruption so is Transparency International Zimbabwe (Manicaland Chapter). The day is celebrated under the theme *United Against Corruption* and the day came against the backdrop of deepening social and economic impacts of corruption I. Zimbabwe.

Nancy Masvingise highlighted that failure by police to effect arrests on high profile cases has led to the public losing confidence on law enforcement agents.

“There are no jobs in the country and this has fueled corruption in the country. Our law enforcement agents (ZRP) are not doing justice especially to victims of corruption. They are not thoroughly investigating cases because they are receiving bribes from perpetrators of these crimes. Some of them do not have much investigating skills especially on corruption,” she said.

Masvingise urged the powers-that-be to equip police officers with trainings of corruption, which in her view she said was a complicated area of crime.

Corruption in Zimbabwe continues to be one of the key governance challenges in the country.

Transparency International Zimbabwe (Mutare) Research and Advocacy Officer Samuel Matikiti highlighted that Government should guarantee the protection of whistleblowers through the promulgation of the Whistle-blower Protection Legislation consistent with Article 3 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on protection of reporting persons which Zimbabwe is a signatory of.

“We are running a series of radio programmes around sextortion as we also commemorate the 16days of Gender Based Violence. We also want to focus as a nation on how we can fasten the promulgation of the Whistle-blower Act. In so doing this will guarantee security to those who expose corruption so that they won’t feel threatened. As it stands right now, many people are afraid to report on corruption because they fear intimidation and they fear the consequences associated with exposing corruption.

“So we need to come up with a law that protect witnesses who report corruption. As TIZ we have been lobbying for this Act, just like other countries that now have the Whistle-blower Protection Act,” explained Matikiti.

He said corruption has continued to tear down the social fabric of societies and has derailed progressive efforts in realising development initiatives.

International Day of Corruption commerations are aimed at raising public awareness about the social economic effects of corruption and motivate participation of various stakeholders in the fight against corruption. The day is a reflective moment for everybody to take stock of the progress made towards the anti-corruption agenda in the country.

Zimbabwe has so far coined legal, policy and institutional frameworks that include Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:16) as well as the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS).