Saturday, 20 June 2009


“Corruption is not exclusive to Africa, of course. Yet official corruption is bound to be more glaring on a continent where most people live in dire poverty. And the news from Africa, as reported in the International Herald Tribune on June 10 by Celia W. Dugger, is that the fight against such corruption is not going well…

“Corruption is a terrible disease that destroys a country from within. Funds desperately needed to combat poverty and disease and to build roads, hospitals and schools are spent instead on everything from palaces on the Riviera to the acres of shoes made of snakeskin, satin and ostrich that Frederick Chiluba accumulated in a decade as Zambia’s president. Corruption begets corruption, turning ruling elites into self-perpetuating cliques, destroying peoples’ faith in government and law.”

The above passage is part of a recent Editorial in the influential New York Times entitled “Grand Larceny Africa” and this is definitely not good for the continent which is stirring interest in western, particularly American, investors who think that Africa is the last frontier of investment.

The western investors want to emulate the Chinese who have in the last decade poured billions of dollars into Africa by investing in oil exploration, mining and infrastructural development. But unlike the Chinese, the western investors are averse to corruption, lack of transparency and poor governance.

Stories like the on-going court case involving Ministry of Health staff in which K27 billion is alleged to have been misappropriated, the Dora Siliya saga involving RP Capital in the earmarked privatization process of ZAMTEL, etc, all do not give confidence to potential western investors who think that their investments would go down the corruption drain.

But what is very sad is the reaction from the donors who finally appear to be putting a plug on funding to corrupt ministries and departments, and they cannot be faulted for their actions. They have to protect their taxpayers’ funds back home.