Corruption is a cancer. It starts like tiny pimple-like protrusions. If left unchecked, it blossoms into an industry which if not curbed, ultimately becomes a monster that swallows the entire economy.
That is the experience of many countries suffering from that cancer. Rwanda is just emerging from a very dark past, but as we focus on the road ahead, corruption will present a very nagging headache for policy makers if the vice is not nipped in the bud.
Those mentioned in the Ombudsman’s report need to be dealt with severely, as the government has threatened. In fact, the war should be taken to another level so this cancer does not gain shape from a mere ‘pimple’ into a collective ‘rash’ within our societal body fabric.
Past experience has shown that perpetrators have clearly seen loopholes within the safety nets instituted, where they stage ‘safe’ passages after serving time behind bars.
The president talked tough against corruption during his last press conference. This paper reported just the other day how the district council of Bugesera was undivided as to how they should come up with a response to their Rwf 110 million ‘classrooms’ scam. involved.
Instead of constructing the much needed classrooms, the funds ended up in the pockets of some very few unscrupulous fellows who connived with some equally unscrupulous public officials to deny the country the direct opportunity to breed thousands of competitive future workforce which it desperately needs.
This is regardless of the fact that the swindled funds are from the very scarce resources which this country struggles to realise against so many odds. The alleged schemers of the Bugesera ‘classroom’ scam are actually economic saboteurs of our road map into the future.
If not checked, if the assets of those involved in paralysing economic growth are not frozen and given the punishment that befits them, the gains we have registered 15 years after the liberation will go down the drain.
Corruption has a very high potential of doing this sort of damage. We need to understand its implications and report its occurrence and not shrug it off.