Upcountry insight: corruption taking its toll on development

Corruption has many connotations and modern definitions, but for our purpose, I shall consider it as the disease of the mind that involves giving and accepting money or any other material when under duty to do or not to do.

Corruption has many connotations and modern definitions, but for our purpose, I shall consider it as the disease of the mind that involves giving and accepting money or any other material when under duty to do or not to do.

 In highly corrupt countries, it is regarded as “the removal of obstacles approach.”

Rwanda is a country under construction and it needs builders. The intuition of brilliant statesmen can’t work alone because corruption is difficult, if not impossible to prove.

If viewed as a disease of the mind, its redress needs an attack on the mind of the perpetrators through sensitization and workshops by the office of the Auditor General or the long arm of the law.

Like Rwandese culture suggests, we all ought to be people of high moral character and proven integrity, inyangamugayo.

Before 1994, Rwanda had a different image from what it has today. Our heroes found for us a path.

 We are now the road makers. We shall build it with our strength, minds and morals. We can not change the past, but we can and must do every thing to shape and guide the future.

When essential ethical values degenerate, everything becomes distorted and this breeds corruption.

This is alarming in highly-corrupt countries as have been exposed by Transparence International.

The degeneration of values and ethics in Africa is mainly due to three broad factors; politics, economy, and culture.

Political corruption occurs through deliberate violations of and disregard for ethical obligations.

It is often found to breed when there is an ascendancy of politics over administration; when the political boss becomes dishonest, driven by gluttony.

 He may manipulate the normal working channels and policies of the institution to create room for exploitation and pursuing selfish interests.

This is coupled with prevalence of ‘soft states’; corruption tends to increase when the essence of national interests remains weak, leading to the emergence of ‘soft states.’

 A soft state manifests various social types like deficiencies in legislation and in the observance and enforcement of the law.

 Hence a soft state allows corruption to become a mighty influence in the political system.

 As a result, administrative structures become patronage institutions rather than being agents of change. In such a situation, the civil service incorporates an intense internal political pressure to which they succumb to in the hope of advancement and recognition. This erodes basic civil service regulations .

Then there is the socio-cultural factor; a manager in African society is trapped in a wide web of allegiances.

 For example, he may pay allegiance to his organisation where he earns a living, and is also a member of the extended family and tribe, as well as having personal friends.

In this context, the ‘spoils system’; comes back! The moment one becomes a public figure, his kinship will come to look for favour.

 If he clings on established rules and procedures and thus refuses to accommodate his society for betraying their trust; his acceptability by them will be in doubt.

As a result, in order not to betray the trust of his tribesmen, he may try to manipulate the procedures and the system so as to accommodate their demands.

Lastly, there is the economic factor.

 The Bible is famous for saying “man does not depend on bread alone.

” Though the original message was presumed to be speaking of moralism, modernity may see it otherwise.

Man needs to rise from basic physiological needs of getting ‘bread’ to higher needs of self actualisation, high esteem and status.

And what are the effects? Compensation for services rendered is a major motivator to employee performance.

However this compensation is inadequate and inappropriate in poor economies.

 Wages and salaries are declining or at best, constant, yet costs of living and currencies are appreciating.This affects the purchasing power of workers.

As a consequence of the decline of the real income, the workers have to evolve other means of supplementing their incomes to meet their basic needs

All this poses a challenge to civil service and political leadership in Africa that has given attention to planning for development but very little to administration of development.

African civil servants look to have much higher expectations of their work, yet the continent is beset by the population explosion, faces with each day countless additional mouths that demand bread and hands that ask for work Ethics and values evoke feelings of such activities as bribery and corruption.

 Ethics in administration and management is the determination of what is ‘right’, ‘proper’, and ‘just.’

 This is based on the belief that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviours, which constitute a society’s moral standards.

Fighting against corruption therefore needs strong doses of nationalism, where redress should give communal interests a priority and theirs secondary.

Bravo to his Excellency, President Paul Kagame, whose nationalistic ideas have guided a clear path for equality and development.Ends

 

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