Youth in Zimbabwe are involved in corruption activities to the extent some have to pay bribes to pass examinations, get drivers’ licences and even get promotion at work.
A Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI-Z) Youth and Corruption Baseline Survey (2014) revealed from a sample of 750 respondents from different provinces in the country 45% of youths knew about corruption in Zimbabwe, 35% said they did not know about it, while 20% said they did not want to talk about it as they felt intimidated and were afraid.
TI-Z researcher Farai Mutondoro said at higher institutions of learning, youths who were interviewed for the baseline survey revealed there was so much corrupt activities in order to pass exams to the extent male students resorted to paying bribes, while females were sexually exploited.
“Some of the students interviewed said there were degrees which they termed ‘STDs’ (sexually transmitted degrees) because some unscrupulous lecturers sexually manipulated girls to make them to pass even if they were academically challenged,” Mutondoro said.
“About 25% of the respondents defined corruption as abuse of power for gain, 15% said corruption were illegal transactions, 30% said it was bribery, while 20% said they had no answers.”
Mutondoro said those who said they had no answers were indicative of the fear people had to expose corrupt individuals.
He said those who described it as bribery proved corruption was pervasively institutionalised to the extent people had to pay bribes to get services from institutions like the passport offices, police, tertiary institutions and schools, Vehicle Inspection Department and others.
Corruption among the youths is said to have resulted in leakages of examination papers, sexual exploitation, electoral corruption, road traffic corruption and use of poor youths to commit political violence for a few dollars.
TI-Z projects officer Frank Mpahlo said due to corruption, the economy failed to perform to the extent that young people were forced to join the informal economy where they also ended up being exploited.
But Sydney Chisi, director for the Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe, said in the informal economy, they found it difficult to make breakthroughs because powerful people were also operating there.
“One finds big chefs own stands at Mupedzanhamo and people like former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono doing chicken projects and how do we then expect the youths to get space to participate?” Chisi queried.
He said youths should begin to participate in policy formulation as well as input into legislative processes in order to protect themselves from being marginalised.