Updated: November 4th 2009
The plight that the ordinary African citizen is experiencing, in the hands of leaders that many view as incompetent and hopeless, is unfortunate. Corruption that was imported by their foreign imperialists has dogged the continent for years. Some of their governments and media are deemed out of control with twisted laws to satisfy their needs. There is total abuse of power and complete ignorance of humanity as they squander their country’s resources.
The West, Russia and China, for the most part, have not done enough to fully arrest the situation. In the case of China the ongoing humanity disaster in Darfur, Sudan is a prime example. These countries are holding back on the same people who have worked and slaved for them, and are depriving them of the freedom and luxury they so desire.
The Berlin based agency; Transparency International (TI) that carries out the Transparency International index on corruption, ranks countries according to the attitudes of analysts and public officials and defines corruption as abuse of power for private gain.
The immense scale of Nigeria’s corruption, resulting from bribery and the corruption of private and public officials is costing billions and obstructing sustainable economic development. Nigeria has always been on TI’s radar and is rated one of the most notorious in recent years. Massive misappropriation of public money by members of government is seen as common practice. The late General Abacha’s regime is a typical example where billions of dollars were siphoned out of the country’s coffers for private gain. Not to mention, the retired General Babaingida who made a mockery of it all.
The current leaders in Nigeria are not showing good leadership and as a result their remains the current status quo. The episode between the Nigerian government and the oil service giant Halliburton is a typical example. As is the saga with the management of Transcorp Nigerian Plc. setting up fictitious operations to charge upfront fee.
And here now is the banking crisis that seems to have brought this sector to its knees. Recent mayhem in the banking sector is due to the uncovering of fraud committed by bank owners and managers, who resorted to granting unsecured loans resulting in high levels of bad debt and liquidity loss. This flaw is implicating operators at high levels of the nation’s leadership, including past and serving governors, ministers, legislators and government agencies that have now become answerable to being recipients of non performing bank loans.
In my opinion, the level of corruption in South Africa is not as rampant as in other African countries due to relatively well-functioning government institutions. However, corruption still forms an obstacle to certain business operations.
Corruption has been known to be widespread in granting government contracts especially at the central government level. Mr. Zuma, the current president, was prosecuted for deception over a multimillion dollar 1999 arms deal. A classic example of a show trial. Despite a mountain of evidence against him, he was exonerated before his election. Some critics saw it as shameful abuse of democracy. One may see it as a peril to democracy and undoubtedly the country deserved better.
In the same breath, the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) strategy, charged with the goal of enhancing the participation of black citizens in the economy, has a problem of their own. They have been constantly condemned for providing partisan treatment to wealthy black elites in connection with government contracts.
In Kenya, the government seems to be battling their own corruption. In recent years the government removed a list of corruption suspects contained in a parliament probe report. This same report dubbed it “the list of shame”, implicated top ranking officials, with connections to the president, the vice-president and cabinet ministers in a variety of financial scandals.
The same agency (TI) recently grouped Angola, Cameroon, and Mozambique amongst the corrupt.
This is saddening and depressing.
Where is this continent heading to? There are reservations as one ponders the continents ongoing romance with the West and others. No guarantees. These foreigners appear to be corrupt themselves. They have economically invaded the continent of Africa and could care less about the continent. They are there for one reason only, to suck the land dry of its natural resources while religious, ethnic, social, healthcare issues and poverty destroy the people from within.
It seems they need the chaos of civil wars in order to keep the continent destabilized as they line their companies operating in the continent with the continual flow of oil, minerals, and farmlands.
The continent is in great trouble. These apparently greedy African leaders need to become smart as the continent dwindles. Society will need to make them accountable before they cause more damage. Unfortunately until the same African leaders are able to deal with the greed they are consumed in, the continent will always have this problem.