Discuss with relevant examples about Peter Blunt’s poor symptoms of institutional governance in Zimbabwe.




This study was guided by the work of Peter Blunt, specifically Governance conditions, roles and capacitybuilding needs in the rebelheld areas of Southern Sudan, which was published in 2003. Bad governance is being increasingly regarded as one of the root causes of all evil and suffering within our societies. It is the complete opposite of good governance and involves abuse of human rights, corruption, lack of transparency, lack of responsiveness, and lack of accountability. In an attempt to stop bad governance, development researchers and practitioners have focused on “good governance” as both a means of achieving development and a development objective in itself. First of all, the World Bank has defined “good governance” as “epitomized by predictable, open and enlightened policy making; a bureaucracy imbued with a professional ethos; an executive arm of government accountable for its actions; and a strong civil society participating in public affairs; and all behaving under the rule of law.” (World Bank, 1994). It’s characterized by participation, consensus orientation, rule of law, transparency, accountability, responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, equity and inclusiveness. However, Bad Governance- is the inability of a public institution to manage public affairs and public resources; Failure of a government to meet the needs of society while making the best use of all resources at their disposal. (MidjkAn: 2014). It is characterized by corruption, crime, no freedom of expression etc. in public organizations. The different characteristics of bad governance are explained below.



Many argue that Africa has reached its tipping point, and that corruption is now endemic and persistent in the region. In pre-independent Africa, the colonial institutions, particularly the judiciary systems, provided the checks and balances that curbed leadership excessive powers and 9 prevented the Schelling‟s threshold from being reached. However, as soon as these countries gained independence post 1960s and 1970s, the struggle for political leadership and the desires to retain power for life became the overriding objectives of many African leaders. In postindependent Africa, it appears as if Africa reached its threshold in the 1960s when it replaced the white colonialists with black neo-colonialists that were more corrupt and they disregarded or discarded the checks and balances which existed during the colonial period (Ayittey, 2012). 8 According to Calderisi‟s (2006) encyclopedic coverage of the persistent problems of inept leadership, institutional failure, and pandemic corruption in Africa, these problems intensified with the incursion of several thuggish dictatorial leaders upon gaining independence. In his words, “the simplest way to explain Africa‟s problems is that it has never known good government” and that “no other continent has experienced such prolonged dictatorships.” Ayittey (2012) also agrees that corruption epidemic in African countries owes its existence to the long-term tenure of their dictators.

These leaders succeeded in removing or ignoring the checks and balances that existed pre-independence, because they preferred to rule not through constitutions or through state institutions like parliament but by exercising vast systems of patronage; and in the process, they wielded enormous power and authority which allowed them to subjugate all relevant institutions and prevent the necessary checks and balances common to good governance. As a result of their autocratic leadership, they helped lay the unstable foundation of bad governance and corruption felt in their economies. Today, corruption remains unabated in Africa because its weak or failed institutions cannot control the excesses of their dictators. Arguably, one can consider Africa as a continent built on an unstable foundation of bad governance and pandemic corruption.

The OECD definition reflects the same ideas as the World Bank, but puts more emphasis on democratization and the reduction of military force in developing countries. For the rule of law of the OECD, public sector management, control of corruption and the reduction of military expenditures in developing countries are important aspects of good governance (Shah, 2017). With Zimbabwe in a semi-militarized state after the ‘soft coup” this is one of the areas that need to be addressed.




Adapted from Owoye (2015)


Manor and Crook, while recognizing the importance of institutions, argued that the quality of governance also depends on politicians and bureaucrats (Shah, 2017). They point out that using the power and authority of politicians and bureaucrats through available institutions significantly determines the end results. Good governance therefore depends not only on the quality of institutions, but on the integrity and capacity of politicians and bureaucrats. This idea of ​​good governance has been widely promoted by the World Bank since the early 1990s. Scholars has therefore argued that the most common definition of governance is that of the World Bank: “the way power is exercised in the management of resources economic and social aspects of a country for development “(Faguet, 2014). The World Bank also refers to good governance as “good management of development” and sees it as “essential to creating and maintaining an environment conducive to sound and equitable development and an essential complement to a healthy environment” (Hong and Lee, 2018).

Another issue with the previous leadership was that power seemed to be highly centralized. President Mugabe ran an autocratic government that seemed not to question his every decision. Bae et al (2016) stated that the idea of ​​decentralization, once introduced by donor countries, has become an essential part of  academic discourse. It was after the failure of structural adjustment policies for economic growth that the concept of good governance was added to the   Donor community agenda (Faguet, 2014). It was thought that this failure was due to bad institutional arrangements, corruption  and the lack of accountability of government institutions or, in short, poor governance. In this context, it has been argued that unless we introduce more inclusive, appropriate and modern market-oriented institutions in the less developed world, economic growth and poverty reduction   would not be possible (Shah, 2017). Strengthening local governance and making it more responsive, transparent and democratic through various plans of decentralization and de-concentration were therefore considered an important component of the   aid based on good governance   .


Civil Administration

According to Blunt (2003) the important keys to understanding the poor governance prevalent in various countries are the following. First, civil administrators are not appointed on merit at any level. On a study in Sudan the vast majority of senior administrators are ex-army officers appointed by the leadership. There are no open merit-based recruitment and selection procedures. Administrative capacity and capability among existing civil administrators is therefore extremely limited. Skilled and experienced administrators exist outside of the system, but are not utilised because of the appointment procedures employed. Furthermore, there are no systems of financial management or control at any level. There are no ‘national’ accounts kept. Beneath the national level, no accounts are kept of income from the collection of taxes or of expenditure. There is therefore little or no budgeting. There are no systems of financial or performance audit.

In 2015 the nation of Zimbabwe was rocked by a statement by then president, Robert Mugabe, who stated that over $15 billion worth of diamonds had been looted from Marange. This showed a complete lack of finance monitoring systems within the country that have been used as loophole by unscrupulous people. Ironically though, the former head of state retracted on the statement in a recent interview by stating that the $15 billion figure was a random figure. This potrays governmental management of finance in a bad light as it shows a lack of transparency in their operations.

Blunt (2003) also states that in the aftermath of hostilities, these risks are heightened because financial flows of different kinds increase in magnitude and variety, and the people who are benefiting most from the laissez faire management of funds by government have a vested interest in the maintenance of instability. Post-conflict administrations have experience of such developments. Baskin (2003) notes that ‘if the international administrators choose early on to emphasise a set of ‘‘attractive’’ investments in economic production and civil society, this assistance is likely to end up in the pockets of individual leaders of transnational groups—both inside and outside government—that maintain a stake in continued instability.’ After the “soft coup” of 2017 and the subsequent elections of 2018, the government of Zimbabwe has faced various question marks due to its running of the nations economy. () notes that there is fear within Zimbabwe and abroad that in terms of government policies, the old Mugabe regime is still in place.



The crisis in the economies of the region demonstrates that corruption is a serious political and economic problem. Its cause rests in the political systems where there is little transparency, accountability and scrutiny; the lack of a free press, a viable opposition and an independent judiciary. These fundamental civil and political rights are the means by which corruption, while not eliminated, is kept at bay. There is commonly expressed, in Zimbabwe and in the region, the view that political and economic systems could be compartmentalised, that human rights upheld more. The question of human rights is one of the most contentious political issues in regional relations. It is central to the values debate and related to questions of transparency and the development of democracy. However, the international human rights conventions embody values and systems that protect the individual from the abuse of power by providing mechanisms for accountability between the individual and the state as well as the social and cultural rights. Rights are also political and legal issues; therefore this report will consider the matter in this chapter. This is a problem issue in Zimbabwe as the countries security forces have often brutally thrawted demonstrations by opposition political groups.



Faguet, J.P., 2014. Decentralization and governance. World Development53, pp.2-13.

Shah, A., 2017. Fostering fiscally responsive and accountable governance: Lessons from decentralization. In Evaluation and Development (pp. 81-107). Routledge.

Hong, S. and Lee, S., 2018. Adaptive governance and decentralization: Evidence from regulation of the sharing economy in multi-level governance. Government Information Quarterly35 (2), pp.299-305.

Bae, Y., Joo, Y.M. and Won, S.Y., 2016. Decentralization and collaborative disaster governance: Evidence from South Korea. Habitat International52, pp.50-56.

Blunt, P., 2003. Governance conditions, roles and capacity‐building needs in the rebel‐held areas of Southern Sudan. Public Administration and Development: The International Journal of Management Research and Practice23(2), pp.125-139.



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