Behind Rwanda’s anti-graft success

The annual global Corruption Perception Index report by Transparency International has yet again showed that Rwanda continues to make significant strides in the fight against corruption.
Rwanda's progress in tackling corruption has picked momentum in the last five years.
Rwanda's progress in tackling corruption has picked momentum in the last five years.

The annual global Corruption Perception Index report by Transparency International has yet again showed that Rwanda continues to make significant strides in the fight against corruption.

In the latest report, released Tuesday, Rwanda is ranked fourth on the continent behind Botswana, Cape Verde and Seychelles, and 49th out of 177 countries globally.


Closer to home, Tanzania comes closest to Rwanda, at 111, Kenya 136, Uganda 140, DRC 154, and Burundi 157.


But what has made Rwanda register incredible success on the front against iod?


Everything boils down to zero tolerance for corruption and the consistency that we’ve had over the past five years, according to the Auditor General of State Finances, Obadiah Biraro.

But he also points to collaboration among key actors.

“In the past five years, there has been strong collaboration among various players geared at eliminating the vice. Accounting and management of public finances has been made more efficient and there are regular financial reports to ensure transparency,” he says.

In 2007, Rwanda ranked 111th out of 182 countries globally, with 2.8 points along with neighbouring Burundi.

The following year, in 2008, Rwanda moved up nine places to the 102nd position with three points and in 2009 the country moved up to 3.3 points.

As of 2010, Rwanda’s gap with her neighbours in the region began to widen as the country moved to position 66th with four points with Tanzania coming a distant second with 2.6 points.

From 2011, CPI reports have ranked Rwanda among the ‘clean’ countries worldwide in terms of corruption – at five points.


Last year, the country maintained five points taking the 53rd position globally. The same reports based on the country’s trend projected that the country could easily achieve 8.6 per cent by 2017 and 9.1 by 2020 (out of 10).

Other corruption indexes such as the Gallup Poll and the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Index have placed the country almost in the same region as the Asian Tigers.

Biraro said five years ago, no public institutions could get clean audit opinion (by his office) but as of now, 28 per cent of the audit entities return clean audits.

Yet the battle against the corruption looks to be getting even tougher.

This year, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee held its third hearing whereby several government officials were questioned on various issues, including suspected financial misappropriation and mismanagement in their respective offices, as indicated in the 2011/12 AG report.

“In 2011, Parliament established the Public Accounts Committee as an enforcement measure to try and seal the loopholes that could be exploited by corrupt elements. So far the impact has been very positive and we hope to build on this and strengthen preventive measures as well accountability,” he added.

Indeed, PAC seems to have added impetus to the AG’s efforts, with lawmakers now increasingly demanding answers from institutions and officials with powers to take either administrative or criminal actions against corrupt tendencies.

Yesterday, PAC tabled to the Lower House a raft of proposals on the way forward with regard to the recommendations contained in the AG 2011/12 report, with many legislators pushing for tougher actions, including prosecution for those suspected of dipping their hands into the national coffers.

Government commitment

Speaking at the launch of the CPI report on Tuesday, Local Government minister James Musoni reiterated government’s zero tolerance for corruption, saying the administration will not relent on holding culprits accountable.

The Ministry of Local Government has taken the fight against corruption to the grassroots, constantly reminding local leaders of the importance of fighting corruption and leading by example within their communities.

Many people, including former leaders have been arraigned before courts for corruption, but Members of Parliament have challenged the Office of the Ombudsman to include big fish on its annual name-and-shame list.

The Chief Ombudsman, Aloysie Cyanzayire, said there were legal obstacles which make it difficult to expose those implicated in embezzlement cases, but acknowledged the need to amend the law to allow her office to include those convicted of misappropriation of state resources on the name-and-shame list.

Speaking to The New Times, Cyanzayire, a former chief justice, said her office was committed to take the fight against the vice to the next level.

“When culpable individuals are identified and punished, it serves as deterrence,” she said.

The role of the general public in condemning and reporting incidences of corruption has also played a role in the gaining ground against corruption hence the emphasis in reporting mechanism that will cause people not to have fear while reporting.

The reporting is likely to increase after the enactment of the whistleblowers law which seeks to protect those who prove tips in the campaign against graft.

Minister Musoni emphasised they were pushing for improved service delivery across all government entities, especially at the grassroots, to reduce chances of people bribing officers in exchange for faster, quality services.

Police speak out

Police Spokesperson ACP Damas Gatare told The New Times, yesterday, that the Force has, among other strategies, strengthened its collaboration with “like-minded partners” such as the Ombudsman’s Office and Transparency International Rwanda, empowered a police disciplinary unit charged to monitor and follow up on officers’ conduct, and enhanced reporting channels for public feedback.

He also talked about ongoing restructuring of the Traffic Police Department to deter corruption tendencies.

“We can assure the public that we are committed to rooting out this vice, we have to nip it in the bud,” Gatare said.

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