The United Nations (UN) has encouraged Zimbabwe to enact legislation aimed at protecting whistleblowers. The move is anticipated to boost the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, announced in 2020 and endorsed by the UN.
Maria Ribeiro, UN Resident Coordinator for Zimbabwe, said international instruments such as the UN Convention against Corruption acknowledged the importance of having whistleblower protection laws in place as part of an effective anti-corruption framework.
Addressing a just-concluded two-day workshop on the protection of whistleblowers, Maria Ribeiro said many countries have began to put in place such legislations a move that will boost the fight against corruption.
Corruption is blamed for inequalities and economic crises over the past two decades causing Zimbabwe to loose an estimated US$2 billion annually. The UN envoy reassured Zimbabwe of its support to the fight against corruption. The event marked a significant step towards the legislative reforms in the anti-corruption landscape in Zimbabwe.
According to the UN resident Coordinator, whistleblower protection is required to safeguard the public interest and to promote a culture of public accountability and integrity.
“The risk of corruption is significantly heightened in environments where the reporting of wrongdoing is not supported or protected.”
Ribeiro acknowledged that information about corruption came to the fore when a whistleblowing system was designed to encourage more reports from citizens and officials in public and private sectors.
The role of whistleblowers in the war against corruption is significant and their protection will attract more reports of corruption from citizens if whistle-blowers know and trust that they will be protected from retaliation, reprisal, and victimization.