via NewsDay Editorial:Destroy the roots of corruption February 24, 2014
Incidents of corruption exposed in the media day in day out testify to the fact that dealing with individual cases of the scourge without going to the root of the problem will not help. Corruption hurts the poor who bear the brunt of lack of adequate services, poor health care and unemployment, among others.
This is the result when responsible officials, as in our case, deliberately prioritise activities that generate personal wealth at the expense of those that develop the country. But if we look closely at what is happening in this country, the real causes of corruption are simply ignored.
We seem to have a weak criminal justice system that is at the mercy of politicians. High-ranking government officials such as ministers are never prosecuted in this country in clear cases of corruption.
The system targets “small fry” leaving the big fish to continue with the evil practice. This causes fundamental problems because in a situation where some people get away with corrupt tendencies, their peers will emulate them.
The corruption webs exposed in this paper show that one of the root causes of the scourge is nepotism. We have situations where powerful politicians appoint relatives — regardless of their knowledge, skill and experience — to executive positions where they loot under their protection.
Unless these webs are broken and the big fish get arrested for nepotism, it will be difficult to stamp out corruption perpetrated by relatives of the mighty in key government and quasi-government institutions.
But the greatest problem in this country is due to the monopoly of power by a few individuals from the ruling party. Because the omnipotent in this country are also the ones who govern, they often use their power to either perform or sanction corrupt activities.
As a result of their unchecked power, we have seen how, more often than not, the lack of separation of powers has resulted in the Executive exercising undue influence on the Judiciary.
This is also tied closely to the politics of patronage prevailing in the country where those who toe the political line are appointed to key posts in the Judiciary.
That is why we see corruption by ministers and other top politicians being treated as political rather than criminal cases.
As long as we allow politicians to hoodwink the nation by dealing with selected individual cases of corruption, nothing will change.
What is needed is to go to the roots of the problem and exterminate them.