THE POLITICS OF CORRUPTION

Life is lived on levels and arrived at in stages- Edwin Louis Cole

Corruption! I mean not to be dramatic (maybe just a tiny bit), but I believe a five-year-old raised somewhere in Africa must have come across the word. Not that they would understand what it means. I do believe that most adults do not seriously understand what it is, but i am sure they must have heard of it.

This article will NOT define what corruption is, if you are reading this expecting that this article will provide you with the definition of corruption then, DO NOT continue reading it.

It’s intended purpose is to explore very simply, the politics in the fight against corruption. Maybe, also let readers decide whether the fight is sincere or not. As always, this is NOT a scholarly article, so do not expect to see it as an all defining article to quote when discussing corruption.

Globally, the issue of corruption has proven to be a constant fight. As a result, the conversation around the fight against it and how countries build their systems is never-ending.

Many politicians across Africa (to be specific) have time and time again, used the pledge to fight corruption as a key indicator in their campaign speeches. Some believe it is easier to say “I will fight against corruption” than to do it, and the truth is, it is.

Most governments across the continent keep using corrupt practices to gain mentions in news, articles, indexes,to pick up awards, etc depicting their AMAZING fight against corruption while their reality is a sharp contrast.

It is important to note that in many countries, the head of the anti-corruption agency is a political appointment. This is a barrier to the fight against corruption. While it may seem like a politically sensible thing to do, it is not a tricky thing to understand where the loyalty of these anti-corruption bosses lies.

Like campaign speeches, it has also become a tool for political intimidation. Again, the corrupt use of power to chastise members of the public seen as opposition in the guise of fighting corruption. Corruption used to fight corruption is nothing but an idiotic way to waste energy and time. Unless these agencies are completely independent, the fight against corruption especially in Africa will be all that it is: a tool for political intimidation.

While we chastise corruption at institutional levels, it is also relevant to note that the idea of finding an easy way out in a community with little or no flexibility has become a ground for individuals like us to engage in corrupt practices. As we condemn institutions and their heads, we need to note that our practices as individuals are in no way better.

Our contribution to the incentive of corruption is higher than we imagine. We will shame any minister of state whom upon completion of their service fail to show mansion(s), cars, or more as successful treats from their work “na mi d b government minista ar nor betteh?”. The sheer disregard to fight corruption and our inability to understand the damage it has to our society is a continuous indication of our unwillingness to curb it out. It is almost like we are only speaking against it up until we are allowed to partake.

The entire fight against corruption is political though it should not be. This will continue to be unless heads of government decide that heads of anti-corruption agencies and the institutions, they lead should be independent. And ordinary citizens must understand and take personal responsibility for their contribution to our corrupt society.

Written by: Sidi Saccoh

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