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Zimbabwe: Corruption and anti-corruption

Tracking developments and progress

In 2023, President Mnangagwa secured a second term amid allegations of election irregularities and corruption in Zimbabwe. Despite anti-corruption efforts, challenges include political interference and resource constraints, hindering transparency. Though there have been efforts to address corruption in the natural resources sector, progress in prosecuting politically exposed persons and recovering stolen assets has been uneven. Likewise, hopes for reform since Mnangagwa's 2017 presidency have been tempered by enduring corruption, economic challenges, and human rights abuses. And illicit financial flows, notably linked to corruption in mining, timber, and wildlife, pose a significant international threat as they have drained billions of dollars from the country. Though civil society and independent media play crucial roles in exposing corruption, initiatives such as The Patriot Act, introduced in 2023, raises concerns about suppressing dissent and investigative journalism.

17 September 2023
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Zimbabwe: Corruption and anti-corruption

Main points

  • While there were high hopes for reform when Emmerson Mnangagwa took office in 2017 following Robert Mugabe's rule, the country still grapples with enduring issues such a high incidence of corruption, economic challenges and human rights abuses.
  • Multiple types of corruption permeate Zimbabwe's society, affecting the public and private sectors, including vital institutions like the judiciary, law enforcement, media, electoral bodies and the mining industry.
  • There is a gendered component to corruption in Zimbabwe, as there is evidence that women's rights are disproportionately affected by the need to offer bribes when accessing essential public services.
  • The international dimension of corruption is significant in Zimbabwe as illicit financial flows (IFFs) have drained billions of dollars from the country, particularly in sectors related to natural resources like mining, timber and wildlife. Many of the IFF proceeds are linked to corruption.
  • Civic space and independent reporting have come under growing strain in the country. This is exemplified by the introduction of the Patriot Act in 2023, which grants broad powers to the government to suppress dissent and could hinder investigative journalism into alleged corruption.

Cite this publication

Prusa, V.; (2023) Zimbabwe: Corruption and anti-corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:27)

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Vaclav Prusa


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