By Special Correspondent
Unethical behaviour has been identified by the newly elected president of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe, Dr Paradza Paradza, as one of the major problems besetting both the public and private sector.
“The world in general and our country in particular are plagued by endemic corruption and greed. People in leadership are no longer serving the stakeholders but prioritising their personal needs,” he said.
He said there were many capable people but what was lacking was ethics in the discharge of their duties. For that reason he has adopted the theme ‘Chartered Secretary – Championing Ethical Stewardship’ for his term in office.
Dr Paradza, who is the managing consultant at ITRite Solutions and a member of the Securities Commission of Zimbabwe, was elected president at the ICSAZ annual general meeting recently, taking over from Mr George Mahembe who completed his term of office.
Grain Marketing Board chief executive officer Taona Muzvandi and Baines Avenue Clinic finance and administration director Letitia Gaga were elected vice-presidents.
Dr Paradza said there needed to be a change in society’s attitudes so that those who worked hard and with integrity were acknowledged and respected for this. At present, he said, it was those who had become rich through questionable means that were looked up to.
He would like to see chartered secretaries playing a major role in promoting what he termed servant leadership. He said leaders need to display ethical behaviour themselves, if they expect their subordinates to do so.
“As chartered secretaries, we need to restore trust in our public and private institutions. We have to discharge our duties in an ethical manner. We should preach and practise servant leadership at every leadership level we might find ourselves in. We need men and women of integrity and honesty to lead in public and private institutions,” he said.
“The current state of corporate governance in Zimbabwe is disastrous. The results are now so visible that even those who are not schooled in economics can see and feel the rot.
“We need to go back to the drawing board. Our internal controls and governance structures are porous and very weak resulting in abuse of corporate and state resources.
“Where incidents of abuse are identified, there are no mechanisms to deal with the abusers and those entrusted to deal with such cases are not willing to, since they are accomplices,” Dr Paradza said.
He said that while Zimbabwe had adopted its own National Code of Corporate Governance (ZimCode) adherence to it was not legally enforceable.
He said there were people with high ethical standards who had resigned from boards of directors because they did not wish to be identified with unethical behaviour or poor corporate governance. However, the reason for their leaving was seldom made public. It was said they had resigned for some other reason, such as to pursue personal business interests.
He called on those who found themselves in such a position to not only resign, if they felt unable to bring about a change, but to be honest about the reason they had resigned.
He went on to say Zimbabwe’s governance structures lack independence, adding that many people in senior positions, particularly in the public sector, are appointed through either patronage or nepotism.
He said ICSAZ was contributing to better corporate governance and to the country’s economic revival in a number of ways.
Its Excellence in Corporate Governance Awards had had a positive effect on corporate governance. The introduction of awards for the public sector, which had exposed shortcomings in corporate governance in that sector, had resulted in parastatal books being audited on time.
The institute was actively involved in the review of the Companies Act, as part of the government’s ease of doing business initiative. It contributed every year to the Budget and was engaged by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in reviews of tax legislation.
“As ICSAZ, we would like to increase our advocacy voices and promote ethical stewardship. Some of our objectives will be achieved through our qualification where the curriculum is being reviewed to reflect the ever changing corporate environment.
“The curriculum review currently underway will elevate governance to a prominent level. Our collaborative programmes will equip our members and students with diverse and in-depth knowledge to tackle the complex environments of today and tomorrow,” he said.
Dr Paradza is a seasoned ICT and corporate professional with more than 20 years of international and domestic experience in managing and leading teams as well as ICT projects in banking, manufacturing, mining, telecommunications, education and consulting.
He holds Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master’s degrees in Business Administration from Preston University, in the United States, and a Bachelor of Business Studies and Computer Science from the University of Zimbabwe.
He was elected to the ICSAZ council in 2013 and served on the Institute of Business and Accounting Studies (IBAS) Education and Council committees, which he chaired from 2016 to 2017. He also served on the ICSAZ Legislation and Technical committee where he was chairman in 2015 and 2016.
He has also been a member of the ICSAZ Executive, Finance and General Purpose Committee (EXCO) since 2015.
As chairman of the IBAS Education and ICSAZ Education committees, he oversaw the review of both curriculums. He has been a member of the Examination Assessment Review Panel since 2012. He also served as the vice president of ICSAZ from 2016 to 2017.