The Emerson Mnangagwa led government has come under fire after signing into action a new law which critics say will legalise corruption and theft of public funds.
Government has gazetted the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, which will keep details of some procurement processes from the public domain.
In a notice dated May 5, 2023, government declared “Special procurements in the public interest”, specifically the health sector, saying procurement processes falling under the category would not be publicly disclosed.
“It is hereby notified that the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has, in terms of section 3(6) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act [Chapter 22:23], declared the following to be of national interest and shall not be publicly disclosed,” the Gazette read.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, denounced the law and said it will lead to further looting of public funds.
“(CiZC) has noted with great concern a declaration by President Emmerson Mnangagwa of May 5, 2023 to the effect that the State is not obliged to publicly disclose the procurement of certain materials in the health sector,” it said in a statement.
“This new regulation, declaring certain procurement items to be of national interest and not to be publicly disclosed goes against the general principles of accountability and transparency.”
The new law undermines good governance as well as the government’s own anti-corruption strategies, it added.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe under section 62(a) guarantees citizens the right of access to information held by the State or by any institution or agency of government at every level, in so far as the information is required in the interests of public accountability. This includes information on public procurement,” the group said.