Home » Governance » Code of Conduct Long Overdue

WE welcome the announcement by the Office of the President and Cabinet regarding the drafting of a code of conduct for Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

Despite the need to realign laws with the new Constitution, this work in progress has been long overdue.

It was also about time that the provisions of the Labour Act encompass the entirety of Zimbabwe’s workforce and that Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers did not have a code of conduct was a grave anomaly.

All employees must be guided by a code of conduct.

Remarks by Deputy Legal Aisor in the Office of the President and Cabinet Mr Nelson Charumbira show that this will not be a Zanu-PF issue, but that the code of conduct will become one of the laws of the land: “We intend to come up with a Bill on the code of conduct for VPs and ministers as required by the Constitution. We actually seek to have the enactment of the code of conduct,” he said.

The International Federation of Accountants’ definition of code of conduct is broad enough for people to understand the importance and need for having such a law: “Principles, values, standards, or rules of behaviour that guide the decisions, procedures and systems of an organisation in a way that (a) contributes to the welfare of its key stakeholders, and (b) respects the rights of all constituents affected by its operations.”

The swearing-in of the two Vice Presidents, Ministers and some Deputy Ministers has removed the impediments for expediting this exercise.

Thus we hope that those responsible for crafting the bill will move with speed, in order for it to be presented before Parliament in the first quarter of 2015, at least.

The reckless abandon in the execution and non-execution of State duties by some senior Government officials in the past few years are a pointer to why it is imperative that even Vice Presidents, Ministers and their deputies are governed by a code of conduct. They must be accountable in as much as they expect all other workers, not just civil servants to be accountable.

This legal instrument should be crafted in such a manner that the men and women who serve the nation at the highest level know that they must walk the talk regarding the oath of allegiance they swear to.

They consciously choose to serve the people of Zimbabwe, and they must do so with undivided loyalty. They must also serve Zimbabwe through its supreme law, for to negate this would be to sell out Zimbabwe as we have been witnessing.

We aise those given the responsibility to craft this draft bill that over and above the consultations they are holding with stakeholders, there is no need to reinvent the wheel because the code of conduct issue is not a new thing in Zimbabwe.

On August 10, 1984 then Prime Minister Cde Mugabe unveiled the Zanu-PF Leadership Code. Although this was a Code crafted when Zanu-PF was following the scientific socialism ideology, the principle on paper was good, because Zanu-PF wanted to avoid a situation where some in the leadership abused their power and offices.

There are important guidelines in that Leadership Code which can give direction to the current exercise.

Procrastination has never paid. If Zanu-PF had implemented the letter and spirit of the Leadership Code, it would have been a good starting point toward a code of conduct in line with the Constitution.

Once bitten, twice shy. We hope that the law will come to fruition and implemented accordingly, just like other codes of conduct.

Source : The Herald