By Emmanuel Mensah
For how long will we allow ourselves to be deceive, impoverished and cheated by our leaders and public officials who use their power and position to make wealth ?
Corruption is said to be the illegitimate use of public power and resources to suit ones own whims and caprices. Corruption in Africa is like an advanced cancer or tumor that cannot be treated. Some forms of this corruption include bribes improper favoritism and also illegitimate use of power and resources.
Only a few public and government officials in Africa work diligently without collecting bribes in order to process documents, award contracts etc. For instance its not easy for you to get your birth certificate, passport and drivers license even if you meet the requirements without paying bribe. It has grown worse to the extent that you have to pay bribe before you get an electricity meter and also quality education for your ward.
Most at times building projects and other contracts are awarded to people who agree to pay huge sums of bribe to government officials in charge of awarding these contracts. These same public officials connive with the contractors to charge three times more than the actual cost of the project so as to enrich themselves leaving the tax payer to incur the cost.
Project inspectors who are supposed to inspect ongoing projects to see if the right materials and approach is being used in the construction also take huge bribes and forget about the inspection, leaving it to be done anyhow. Auditors also write reports to suit the workers in that company or institution because of the bribe they’ve taken.
Some police officers who are supposed to combat crime and corruption openly collect money from ‘trotro’, car and taxi drivers before they allow them to cross mounted road blocks without inspecting if they are even qualified to drive. One also has to pay kickbacks and other inducements before getting his or her goods out of the harbor. Some individuals take advantage of the corrupt nature of the officials to import inferior and expired goods.
Corruption in our continent is too much. Despite all the years of exports of rich natural resources, Africa continues to be ranked the most poorest continent on earth because most of the revenue from these exports do not get to the people but finds its way into the pockets of corrupt government officials, civil servants and their allies mostly hiding them in foreign banks.
This act of corruption being described as an advanced cancer or tumor has tragically devastated African societies and made millions of people poor.The act also endangers the lives of people due to poor facilities being put up by corrupt contractors.It also aids in the raising of incompetent leaders since most of them do not qualify but due corruption they were appointed.Moreover it also prevents good governance development and poverty reduction this is because most people who have been appointed are not qualified to run the affairs of a nation or even gaining admission into that particular school.Also it has rubbed the name of the continent in mud discouraging foreign investors since Africa is now seen as the most corrupt continent in the world.
This act of corruption really needs to be minimized in Africa or better still taken out completely. Africans must unite and fight corruption. We need to be well educated on how to run own own affairs and also use our own resources to satisfy our needs and also be taught ways of dealing or reporting corrupt public officials. To minimize it there must also be a well funded independent corruption watchdog to check corrupt leaders and officials. The leaders must also be made to account for everything they did when they were in power and the reasons for such expenditure and also how it helped the country’s development. Also, there must be an independent press to report actions of public officials be it good or bad so that the people will know what their tax is being used for.Corrupt officials should also be dealt with to serve as deterrents to others. It is said that the poor people can’t fight alone so the foreign countries should also help by tracing all stolen money hidden in their banks by African leaders and question them properly before allowing such funds to be saved there. They can also help by sanctioning banks which serves as hideouts for the stolen monies to serve as deterrents to others.
Finally they can also return all the monies hidden there to the continent so as to improve the lives of the people in the continent.