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Tapiwanashe Taurayi
Gweru, Zimbabwe
"You can't get something if you don't give......" there goes the song of the most celebrated singer in Zimbabwe, Dr. Thomas Mapfumo, called "Corruption ". Recorded in 1989, it articulates how our society has turned into a hive of corrupt activities, where even getting a basic document like a birth certificate, which is your birth right, will need you to pay something in monetary value. Corruption!! But what is corruption?

"Corruption" is a very vague expression .However, in formal documents of government, it usually refers to an official's pursuit of personal financial gain by abusing their public power or position. This includes embezzlement of public property, bribe taking, illegally using public money, and other financial crimes committed by public office holders like smuggling.

Corruption is clearly one of the most serious social problems faced by Zimbabweans in particular and Africa as a whole, especially being felt by the Youths! A report on corruption, produced by John Walton, Sophia Domfeh and Claire Shannon, reported that from a given sample 62% agreed that they have paid a bribe - however this figure seems much lower than in reality. This phenomenon has widened the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”.  Those who can afford to pay a cut to gain entry into university and jobs  can easily do that whilst the majority of us youths are shunned from these better life securing institutions hence making it difficult to break the poverty cycle. 

More so, to acquire proper identification and travel documents, specifically a birth certificate, passport or driver's license, is difficult, if not impossible without paying a “tithe” in government institutions. This is mainly attributed to the fact that we now have two distinct classes: the ‘poor’ and the ‘rich’. Because of corruption the widening of the gap between both classes is increasing. But what actually causes all this corruption?

It is a social phenomenon, determined by two factors l term the “social structural system” and the “social-cultural character”. The social structural system is the external part of a society that represents its changeability and the commonality between different societies. On the contrary, the social cultural character is the internal part of a society that represents its lack of ability to change and the lack of commonality between different societies. The social cultural character is more important that the social structural system in determining a social phenomenon like corruption. 

Social cultural character is "A State Power-oriented Society" - by this l mean that state power is the only core of and supreme force in Zimbabwean society. All other fields of Zimbabwean society (such as economics, culture and law) are based on that state power and to a great extent are determined by it. This is the most important character in determining a social phenomenon.

Then, the social structural system can be defined as "a personality bureaucracy". This means the Zimbabwean bureaucracy, as the exercising subject of Zimbabwe state power, is taking personality as a basic principle at its normative, structural and active levels. The personalities of individual officials and the personal relationships between them, or with society, assume too much importance. As a result, this enables certain officials to obtain and exercise great power without discretion.


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