International anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International recently released its annual global corruption perception index
Somalia shared last place on the index with Afghanistan and North Korea.
Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and a host of other African countries also scored low marks indicating corruption is rife on the continent. It is the single biggest reason for the under development of Africa.
The person who gives a bribe is as guilty as the person who takes one so tell us your stories.Have you been given or taken a bribe? What can individuals, civil society and governments do to end the corruption scourge?
Herewith some responses
Cho Ayaba Lucas, Southern Cameroon Youth League SCYL Norway
I have never taken or given bribe to anyone. The closest I came to anything as bribing was in 2004. I was detained at the border town of Ako, near Nkambe in North Western Cameroon.
The security officers confiscated every penny I had and arrested me. On my release, all the money except what was paid to the driver as my transportation fare to Nkambe was confiscated. I acquiesced to this confiscation as a means of gaining my release. Corruption is both an institutional as well as a political issue. Political in the sense that it is deeply rooted in the autocratic politics of clientelism that rewards supporters for loyalty and external backers for protection.
To rid the Africa of this practice, autocracy must be replaced by an African form of democracy that reflects the contextual reality of the continent. Corruption is also an institutional problem inherited from the colonial era.
This system is reflected in centralised government departments. A decentralised system that strengthens the private sector would increase competition and go a long way to eliminate favouritism responsible for a high level of corruption on the continent. Consequently, Africa’s institutions must be designed in such a way that reduces bureaucratic red tapes, strengthened watchdog agencies, protection of whistle-blowers’ and promotes a culture of investigative journalism
Corruption itself is an English word so is not an African invention
Ndi Ndi Eugene, 27, Journalist, Yaounde, Cameroon
I have given bribe because I had no option. First I bribed my way into lower sixth because the principal claimed that I was late for admission despite my good grades at the General Certificate of Education (GCE Ordinary Level) examination.
Secondly, I went to bail my cousin from a gendarmerie brigade in Yaoundé and the commander asked me to beside paying for the bail, refund the fuel that his “boys” used to go arrest my cousin which is illegal. But I had no option.
In Cameroon, bribery and corruption is becoming part of the national culture. It will take prayers and deliverance for corruption to end. Civil societies and governments should sensitise, punish and even jail perpetrators of corruption. It will be a big lesson for others who have never given or taken any bribe.
Mirabel Warungu, 34, Nairobi, Kenya
Can you stop prostitution? I have no idea why people keep saying prostitution is the oldest profession on earth. Though not a profession, corruption must be the oldest notion known to man. The proverbial snake bribed Eve with an apple in the bible. Eve in turn bribed Adam. The English coined the word much later but the first instance of bribery was in the bible.
Children cry when they are first born and to keep them quiet, their mothers bribe them with breast milk.
As far as I am concerned, there is no way to stop corruption because we all give and take bribes in the little things we do in life. To keep a man happy, a woman bribes him with sex. To keep a man woman happy, a man bribes her with money. There are millions of other things people do which is bribery but no money necessarily changes hands. bribery is not an African thing. Even transparency International ratings of countries does not say there is a country without corruption, it only says there are “least” corrupt countries.
There you have it, like prostitution, nobody can stop corruption, least of all in Africa with its myriad of problems. Corruption is so endemic in Africa that we have all kinds of names for it from “kola” to “water”. My dissertation in the university was on corruption so I know a thing or two about corruption and I am intelligent enough to know that nobody can ever end corruption. Former Ghanaian military leader Jerry Rawlings killed two former head of Sates when he seized power. Did that end corruption in Ghana? It didn’t because nothing can stop corruption.
Silverman, Zambia Musician, Lusaka, Zambia
Well to be honest I personally have never taken/given a bribe. Not that I’m holy or super religious but just the fact that I feel bribery is wrong in so many ways.
Most people involved in corruption don’t even know the consequences it has on other people including their own lives, if the are caught. Corruption just like anything else has two unavoidable faces, the advantage and disadvantage and it will toll on you depending on the side the coin lands when tossed.
I think one way in which corruption can be eradicated from Africa is by improving the social and economic lifestyle and well being of all people in Africa (employment, food and shelter) as these are usually the lead causes of the bad act. To end it, we must start with ourselves. There will be no takers if they are no givers