Corruption has become like a national sport where politicians gamble with taxpayers’ money and natural resources to enrich themselves, one of Africa’s most authoritative and analytical corruption specialist journalist has said.
The multi-award winning investigative reporter and author of the bestselling book on African corruption, Mzilikazi wa Africa made the remarks in Mangochi at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge Hotel at the weekend during the 7th Commonwealth Meeting for Head of Anti-Corruption agencies in Africa.
In his keynote address, Mzilikazi wa Africa, author of bestseller book on corruption, ‘Nothing left to steal,’ who was invited to the summit as a guest speaker, said a thief is a thief, whether he steals diamond or a cucumber. and that it does not matter how small or big corruption is, it is evil.
“The scourge of corruption in our continent has derailed our progress and denies our people the full benefits of independence and freedom that they really deserve. Corruption in Africa has become like a national sport where politicians gamble with our taxes and natural resources to enrich their cronies and relatives,” said the venerated scribe, Mzilikazi wa Africa.
Mzilikazi wa Africa, the South African Sunday Times staffer said corruption is not about accepting a bribe to give someone a lucrative tender but also about turning blind eye to unlawful and unethical behaviours and practices.
Said the writer: “Corruption is when people start behaving badly with decisions they make and that affect millions of our people. The masses, who are facing endless hunger and monotonous poverty with no single sign of service delivery, have been sold a dummy while politicians and their cronies are laughing all the way to the banks.”
“And to rub salt into the wounds of our people, they (politicians) are doing everything with impunity and displays their loot publicly as if it was a golden medal from some Commonwealth games,” added the no-holds barred fearless journalist.
Quoting sharp-tongued and outspoken anti-corruption activist, Professor Patrick Lumumba, the former director of Anti-corruption commission in Kenya, Mzilikazi wa Africa said: “We live in a country where our young ladies who have recently attained the age of puberty cannot afford sanitary pads, but our men and women in public offices have iPads which they do not even know how to use.”
In his remarks, head of Public Sector Governance at Commonwealth Secretariat in London, Dr Rodger Koranteng said: “There seems to be an emerging consensus that many of Africa’s quagmire are as a result of failure to create capable states. A capable state in this context is one characterized by transparency, accountability, the ability to enforce law and order fairly throughout the country.”
Added Koranteng: “Corruption is not only about bribes. People, especially the poor get hurt when resources are wasted. That’s why is it so important to understand the different kinds of corruption to develop smart responses.”
The socio-economic and political cost of corruption is myriad in Africa and it is estimated that corruption costs the continent over US$148 Billion dollars per annum, and furthermore, 50 percent of tax revenue, 25 percent of the continent’s GDP and US$30 Billion dollars in aid for Africa was eaten up by corruption.
Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Director General Lucas Kondowe said ultra-modern advanced technology is making the fight against corruption more complicated and called for strong links among the Commonwealth member states to win the battle against corruption.
The heads of 18 Anti-Corruption agencies in Commonwealth Africa were meeting in Malawi under a theme; ‘Coordinating National Anti-Corruption Action in Commonwealth Africa,’ to discuss how they can collectively work with a common purpose in tackling corruption.
The forum gave Commonwealth African countries to share experiences on how the different Anti-Corruption agencies are dealing with the vile acts of subornment and bribery in their various countries in order to map up a way forward.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :