EDITORIAL: Graft should not be celebrated on our continent

A few days ago, the Minister for Justice as well as other stakeholders, attended an event to mark International Day against Corruption. The statistics unveiled made one tempt themselves to think that Rwanda was living in a wrong era as corruption is synonymous with many countries.

About 200 policemen - a sector that has fared very badly in all corruption probes – were prosecuted in a two-year time frame. That is very modest by Africa standards.

Even though graft in neighbouring countries has been a permanent fixture, recent reports from Mozambique made them sound like choirboys.

The press reports pointed to a serious and an unbelievable discovery; over 30,000 ghost workers were found to be on the government’s payroll. Some were fictitious, others long dead while others were being paid for a job they did not do.

That is just one example but similar stories are found in other countries, if not worse, but it is not Africa’s preserve. Developing countries also have their own skeletons in the closet, but how they handle them sets them apart from Africa. Once the cat is out of the bag they hardly survive repercussions.

Former Brazilian and South Korean leaders are in jail for graft, former French president Sarkozy was said to be under investigation and a cloud hangs over the Israeli leader. That is the difference between them and us. In Africa we venerate corruption. Living large out of the proceeds of graft is worn like a badge of honour.

Eradicating corruption will need more than just decrees and half measures. Affected countries need to first change their mindset and do away with impunity and install accountability. Otherwise, this continent has lost the war in advance and the crooks will continue running all the way to the bank

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