The University of Zimbabwe Pro-vice Chancellor Professor Pedzisai Mashiri has castigated corrupt leaders, describing the ill as retrogressive that has the capacity of undermining efforts by the country to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at a workshop organised by Sightsavers a Non-governmental Organisation that promotes healthy issues and restoration of eye sight, in association with the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion at in Harare today, on sustainable development Prof Mashiri called for moral uprightness.

He said public officials should be guided by ethics and a clear mind that corruption is counter developmental and therefore not right. “As a leader or public official a clear conscience should reign supreme that; for instance, say, I can’t steal public funds entrusted to me; and these public funds are meant for every citizen including myself,” he said. According to him, it should be clear in one’s mind that he or she as a citizen is also part of the owners of all that is perceived to be government property and equated corruption by public officials as tantamount to stealing from ones’ self.

Accountability in every developmental programme is of paramount importance if SDGs are to be ever achieved, for there cannot be progress if corrupt tendencies are left to creep in unchecked. “You cannot put one brick on, and take two bricks off and expect the building to be completed,” castigated Prof Mashiri.

The issue of accountability is critical, the problem is that sometimes this is generational, he said, there should be proper training that public officials are groomed to know what is ethically good in the system and desist from deviation. Prof Mashiri added that it should be noted by public employees that the property entrusted to their offices are public assets.

“You should have the sense that you will be accountable to the future generations, and we also need to identify and do away with cultures that are destructive like saying you can’t question the decision of a senior, father, or mother, etc,” he said.

He also emphasised on the issue of inclusivity in SDGs program, and in relation to the workshop’s ‘theme leaving no one behind in SDGs’, he said for the SDGs to be fully attained they need to be inclusive as intended; and be packaged in a way that empowers everybody by not marginalising any sector of the society. He says no country can be developed on pity but can be done by empowering everybody, as that people living with disabilities need to be empowered to participate and be relegated as those human beings to be pity for.

Director in the Ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Graciano Nyaguse confessed that issues to do with governance and public accountability are indeed a major challenge hampering development in the country and have driven possible investor out.

Be that as it may, Zimbabwe has been dogged with grave corrupt tendencies across the private and public divide. Several ministers are even alleged to have been caught with fingers in the jar.