Morris Mpala, MoB Capital limited
TWICE upon a time some local Zimbabwean artistes sang about corruption. One bellowed about “something for something” and “nothing for nothing”.
Corruption as defined by Macmillan English lexicon for advanced learners is dishonest or illegal behaviour by officials or people in positions of power, especially when they accept money in exchange for doing things for someone.
In the short term corruption pays, that is a fact. There are unfair and immoral economic gains/advantages from corruption but long term benefits not sustainable. Eventually everyone loses out including those penetrators of corrupt tendencies. Instant glory is not encouraged.
Downside to corruption
Corruption is a burden to society. It’s a cancer that destroys communities, affects current and future generations. It’s not in the best interest of the society to be corrupt as it eats our scarce resources financial or otherwise. It causes stunted growth, anarchy and bleeds the economy. It is an unprecedented moronic and unscholarly tendency inspired by greed, glutton compounded by unquenchable insensitive and selfish affinity for instant and personal aggrandisement, which borders along inferiority complexities and paranoia to advance one’s inspirational motivations that the law terms abuse of position of authority. It is a vice, which we should not cheer but jeer at both in deeds and words. At times we make fun of corruption at the expense of the society.
It’s an unfair and unjust practice derived at times from fear of the unknown. In some instances it can’t be explained as it is a disease that is literally killing economic actors and it’s communities by being perpetuated on a large scale.
There is this fallacy that the public sector is the only corrupt actor and it is at the core of this economic scourge. It takes two to tango. Blame games are not necessary.
The biggest sector in the economy is the private sector, which is also complicit to the game of corruption. Public sector has more scrutiny than the private sector though the former has more vices.
We want to talk corruption as if it’s only about millions and billions of dollar ‘deals’. Do you even know your fibs are a foundation of corruption? As individuals in our small ways we are contributing to economic decay. It starts from there and grows into a big animal. Let’s not see logs in other people’s eyes when we have bigger logs in our eyes. Let’s perfect ourselves then ask the others to do the same and let’s start with the smallest of things like addressing our envy tendencies (peer pressure), which is the accelerant of corruption. The unholy alliance of individuals, private sector and public sector actors form the axis of economic and treasonous evil when they join hands in corrupt activities to bankrupt resources of a nation.
Accountability and Responsibility
We need to ask for accountability from individual levels, private and public sector levels. Even at community levels we need the society to be accountable and let’s remedy where there are transgressions in line with our code of conduct. We hear of best practices, corporate governance, ethics, value systems, ethos and culture but these should be our daily bread not just written down on paper and recited.
Be that lone voice that seeks fair and just economic behaviour and never tire to ask for accountability and responsible execution of duties. Laws and procedures should be enacted and then consequences of not towing the line should be seen to be fairly implemented across the populace. Gravity of consequences meted to offending parties should be proportional to severity of the sins committed.
It’s an illusion to eradicate corruption utterly but you need minimum levels of corruption everything starts small but once it gathers momentum it becomes hard to remedy. Unlearning a culture can be difficult.
Be afraid of something
A person that isn’t afraid of something is a dangerous breed. Fear is a very good trait to have as it keeps human behaviour in check to acceptable standards.
Those that experience fear maintain their integrity as they avoid negative consequences otherwise we become a liability to the society. There is need for zero tolerance to such vices.
Let’s equate corruption to sin where sin is sin and there is nothing like sinning a little by the same token let’s not condone corruption by not categorising it as small or big. Let’s say no to corruption and shun all isms in the daily economic activities.
The Man in the Mirror
Like I have said before and I will repeat here corruption is about culture. Culture as in the way we do business. We have to change our culture so as to see meaningful integrity in our daily lives. Let’s ask the man in the mirror to change his ways and have a strategic mind and have strategic priorities in the grand scheme of things. If we don’t change as an individual, as a family as a community, SMEs, private companies, public company and as a country we will perish and perish big. Let’s work together. Fight the temptation because it takes you as an individual to put an end to these vices.
We need to all walk the talk
Above all were we fall short as typical mortal human beings let’s say sorry and ask for forgiveness from the community so that we build trust and confidence plus respect among ourselves. Corruption begins with me, you and us and affects me, you and us no one is immune and me, you and we can minimise its spreading around.
IF YOU LIVE IN BYO PLEASE CONSERVE WATER. IF YOU LIVE IN ZIMBABWE PLEASE USE ELECTRICITY SPARINGLY: SOS (SWITCH OFF SWITCHES). IF YOU LIVE ON PLANET EARTH PLEASE PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT
Morris Mpala is the managing director of MoB Capital Limited, a Bulawayo-headquartered micro-finance firm with footprint across the country.