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When whistle-blowing is counter-productive

Editorial

When whistle-blowing is counter-productive

 

Whistle blower Steven Mugarura

Whistle blower Steven Mugarura

The issue surrounding (former – or is it?) Assistant Inspector of Police, is disturbing, especially when one considers that the Government has/had put in place a law to reward whistle blowers.

Possibly taking a cue from it that; a person who reported to the authorities the people who are involved in corruption and the theft of pubic funds, would be rewarded for his/her likely-dangerous work to his/her person, Mugarura went ahead to “rat” on his fellow officers. The biggest danger for him is that these are/were his superiors.

Over ten years ago, the Inspectorate of Government (IGG), caused a Bill to be promulgated in Parliament to the effect that whistle blowers would be amply rewarded if they informed on the public officers who were corrupt. Given that, in effect, Mugarura should have been considered as doing a worthwhile duty to save the Government coffers of this pilferage and abuse of office.

That the IGG has kept quite over the Mugarura case is an indicator that the case for whistle blowers has been exploded. It can no longer, with any conscience of duty or law, administrate over the issue.

This also begs the question for transparency and moral integrity. What Mugarura had been doing was to bring into public attention the skullduggery those Police officers were involved in towards bringing disrepute to the State. This is no longer possible. The case of Mugarura has laid bare the likelihood that anybody else will bring up the issue of corruption up as concerns their offices.

Also, it has shot to pieces the desire for anybody to practice any sense of morality when carrying out his/her duties. It is simply, both dangerous and not cost-effective towards anybody keeping his/her job. It will be better to let the sleeping dogs lie.

This is extremely counter-productive towards fighting corruption and theft in the country. What whistle blowers do is to corroborate and give credibility to a good number of reports that have usually already come into the public attention. Towards prosecuting the errant officers named or cited in such reports, it was therefore necessary to have documented or physical evidence in the commission of the crimes. That is what Mugarura had hoped to do.

No longer – for him – or any other person wishing to come forward. What does this imply?

This speaks volumes about two things. One; that the Government is committed to fighting corruption. Indeed, in some public offices and in official cars, there are stickers that indicate to the public that such-and-such is against corruption. It no longer makes sense. In fact, it is now an admission that the office is merely covering corruption and the thieves.

Secondly, the politicians constantly haranguing the people in public podia that they must resist and fight corruption, must now be seen as a matter of derision by the listening public. How does a person fight corruption and expose the thieves, they night ask, when people like Mugarura who have tried it are now being hounded and jailed for what amounts to patriotic duty?

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