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Corruption and reporting: an ethno-cultural assessment of the morality of whistle-blowing as a strategy for reporting corruption in Zimbabwe.

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The bane of corruption invariably exists in most societies and cultures. However, its deleterious effects on socio-economic growth and political development varies from country to country. In countries like Zimbabwe, the effects of corruption have been so devastating as witnessed by numerous practices of nepotism, cronyism, high incidences of political patronage as well as growing cases of abuse of power by public officials. Notably, corruption is gradually becoming difficult to combat and control based on the view that perpetrators of corruption are hostile, unwilling to cooperate and have strong connections with the police, politicians, judiciary and the executive. In a bid to curtail cases of corruption, key mechanisms such as whistle-blowing are now commonly used by both public and private institutions. However, the practice of whistle-blowing is often ineffective as whistle-blowers face risks and challenges of being labelled as sell-outs/vatengesi which makes them hesitant to report corruption. It is in light of this that the study seeks to explore and discuss the ethno-cultural implications of whistleblowing as a strategy for reporting corruption in Zimbabwe. This significantly helps the study to situate an ethno-cultural assessment and the morality of using whistle-blowing strategy using individual level analysis. Fundamentally, this might help anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies to also appreciate the need to consider ethno-cultural issues that affect the efficacy of whistle-blowing as a strategy for fighting corruption in developing countries like Zimbabwe. Using this background, the study uses three famous cases of corruption and whistle-blowing, namely; Minister of Labour and Social Services Involving $95million, Willow gate Motor Corruption Scandal and the Hopewell Chin’ono Whistle-blowing Cast. The study critically assesses these cases using the common good theory which advocates that justifiable ethical actions or decisions are those that benefit all members of the community. The study argues that political corruption if left unattended or addressed by policy makers, it has the potential to bring the state and government functions to the blink of complete failure. The study identifies that corruption is perpetuated mostly by public officials as compared to ordinary citizens. In light of this, the study provides the following recommendations to be considered and these are; corruption awareness, campaigns implementation of policies and rules incentives and protection laws, review of bureaucratic process and assets declaration. The study contributes to literature on corruption by developing an ethno-cultural model that can be used by other developing countries that seek to situate whistle blowing as a strategy to combatting corruption.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.