Corruption hampers development

In a report dubbed ‘Counting the cost of corruption’ presented during the recent three-day SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) SAHRIT said the money lost through corruption could lift the continent from its current economic malaise.

The report says corruption has been one of the major cause of civil strife in Africa and a source of poor provision of services and production. Corruption has also been cited as a cause of lack of justice in some countries.

“It leads to the production and distribution of defective, abuse of justice and harmful products and services and the justice delivery system can also be affected by corruption,” says the report.

Corruption has also been blamed for being responsible for the poverty in Africa that affects over 340 million people.

The SADC-PF conference that ended last Thursday was attended by over 50 people compromising MPs, government officials, civil organisations and donor representatives, among others.

Sponsors of the conference, Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Resident Representative, Hubert Schillinger, told the SADC parliamentarians that while governments in Africa have made commendable progress in governance, corruption was still an eyesore.

“While we recognise that governance in Africa is getting better and that the situation across the continent is markedly different from that of a decade ago, corruption control remains a huge challenge,” Schillinger. He said the fight against corruption must involve other players, including the media.

The fight to curb and eventually eradicate corruption is a challenge that cannot be fought by the executive, law enforcement agencies and specialist agencies, such as anti-corruption commissions alone. It requires co-operation and partnership between all arms of governments, civil society, the private sector, as well as free and independent media. The latter are particularly important in playing a crucial role,” he said.

Schillinger said for any approach to corruption control to be effective, the key requirement is the political will to combat the scourge wherever it occurs.

SADC-PF vice chairperson Nora Schimming-Chase said though little progress has been made in corruption eradication, there should be no relenting as the vice is no longer a mere crime.

“We cannot give up the fight against corruption as corruption is no longer a mere criminal issue but has increasingly become a development and human rights issue,” she said.

December 2006
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