Integrity Platform (IP), a local organisation affiliated to Transparency International (TI), expressed concern over Malawi’s stagnation in corruption after the country has dropped two places in the Global Corruption Perception Index released by TI.
The country has moved down two places from 120 in 2016 to 122 in 2017.
However, Malawi maintained the score of 31 out of 1000 for three consecutive years running. It was ranked 112 in 2015.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nicholas Dausi who is also government spokesperson, said the fact that Malawi has maintained the same score gives hope that the fight can be won.
“Let’s not be negative. The fight against corruption can’t be won over night. We have managed to slow down corruption over the past three years and it means that with a little more effort, we will see positive results of our efforts.”
But commentators have quashed Dausi saying such sentiments breed imuntiy among those involve in grfat, who believe they can get away with it if only done to a certain level.
Dausi statement has also be criticised that it “trivialises the fight against the vice”, making those involved feel it is acceptable “if only we maintain the score.”
Corruption is rampant in government institutions and needs to be tackled as it has potential to scare away investors.
The report says Malawi cannot fight against corruption if people in authority are not sincere about their concern for corruption.
“Malawi will not be seen to be serious about ending corruption if those in authority remain indecisive or sluggish on clear occurrences or incidents of corruption,” reads the report in part.
IP country manager Jeffrey Kabondo also cited “ laxity” among stakeholders in fightingt corruption.
The organization has since laid down points as a way to improve country performance in dealing with corruption.
“Government and business must do more to encourage free speech independent media , alternative political views and an open and engaged civil society,”
Outgoing Malawi Law Society president Khumbo Soko has also warned against such complacency, saying unless Malawi takes some radical steps in curbing corruption, the vice will soon “completely overwhelm us.”
“When you look at every preceding survey of public perception on incidences of corruption in the country, you will notice that the views of the majority responding is that corruption is on the rise. It also obliges us to ensure that we put at their [law enforcement agencies] disposal adequate resources for their work. I doubt we have reached that stage where we can say we are winning in the fight against corruption. In fact, if we are not careful, corruption will soon completely overwhelm us.”
Mzuzu-based governance expert Makhumbo Munthali shared the sentiments put across by the Law Society.
He argued that one would always want justice to prevail whenever dealing with these issues of corruption, something which he said continues to evade the country’s political master “thereby creating growing perception that certain ‘big fishes’ are being shielded.
Corruption has cost Malawi dearly in recent years, with the massive plunder of public resources (Cashgate) exposed in 2013, leading donor to pull out direct budgetary aid to government.
Recently, the country failed to qualify for the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) due to poor governance and failure to tame corruption.
Government is being urged to use TI report to reflect on where it is getting it wrong on corruption, and how that can be rectified.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :