The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has welcomed the approval by Cabinet of the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers Bill) on Tuesday, saying it will help the country in the fight against corruption.
ZACC chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo on Wednesday told NewsDay that the proposed law will give confidence to whistleblowers so that they testify in corruption cases knowing they are protected. Said Matanda-Moyo:
It’s a great milestone in the fight against corruption. We have been seeing the victimisation of witnesses after they would have either given information to ZACC or testified in court.
That was derailing the fight against corruption as most witnesses were no longer willing to come forward without that protection.
So we view that as a sign of the political will to fight corruption and that will also give confidence to our whistleblowers and witnesses to come forward knowing that after whistleblowing or testifying, they are protected.
She added that whistleblowers and witnesses play a crucial role in the fight against graft.
ZACC spokesperson John Makamure revealed that the Commission has been receiving increased reports of victimisation and intimidation of witnesses and whistleblowers by accused persons.
He said existing anti-corruption laws do not provide maximum protection to whistleblowers.
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) executive director Tafadzwa Chikumbu also welcomed the proposed law. He said:
We look forward to the whistleblower protection legislation because as it stands, without whistleblower protection laws, it is very risky for individuals to report corruption.
Once we have a piece of legislation that protects them, it means they are guaranteed that once they report corruption they remain protected by the law.
This will increase the number of people who report corruption.