Sunday, February 25, 2018

Graft war: no resting on laurels for Tanzania yet

The ‘Corruption Perception Index’ for last year (CPI-2017) by Transparency International (TI)ranks Tanzania at Number 36 out of 100 on the global corruption scale.

TI corruption surveys annually rank countries by “their levels of public sector corruptions as perceived’ by businesses and experts.”The Index uses a scale of 0-to-100, whereby a zero-rating indicates a “highly-corrupt” country, while a 100 rating is accorded to “very clean countries” in the corruption stakes.

For Tanzania to be ranked at 36 in 2017 – compared with 32 in 2016 – implies thatit jumped four rankings upwithin a year rising from being among highly-corrupt countries like Somalia (ranked at number-9); South Sudan (12); Syria (14); Afghanistan (15), and Yemen (16).

In other words: Tanzania is gallantly nosing its way towards highly-performing countries the likes of New Zealand (ranked at 89, the highest in 2017); Denmark (88);Finland, Norway and Switzerland – all three ranked at 85!

Incidentally, New Zealand, Denmark and Finland were better-ranked in year-2012: at 90. Norway and Switzerland were also higher-ranked, at 86, in 2014. Thus, all did worse in 2017!

If nothing else, this means there’s no such thing as a 100 per cent corruption-free country on Planet Earth this side of Heaven! TI defines ‘corruption’ as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty or political – depending on the amounts of money lost, and the sector where it occurs!”

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Hence the adage that power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely! We’re told that the 2017 CP Index“highlights that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while journalists and activists in heavily-corrupt countries risk their lives in effortsto speak out” against the malady.

In the event, more than two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed by TI were ranked below 50!

In the East African Community bloc, Tanzania was assessed as “the second least-corrupt country, after Rwanda. Kenya was ranked the third least corrupt – followed by Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan!”

In sub-Saharan Africa,Tanzania was ranked at number 17, while Botswana was assessed as the least corrupt country in this part of the African continent.

Going by TI’s latest survey,it means that the 5th phase government of President John Magufuli – inaugurated only on November 5, 2015, and which is manifestly against corruption – is squarely behind Tanzania’s leap four stages up the rankings, from 32 in 2016 to 36 in 2017.

Whatever is the case, Tanzanians mustn’t rest on these laurels, as they still aren’t quite dark-green and glossy as they should be! Instead, we must double and redouble our efforts at surmounting the hydra-headed corruption monster, consigning it to the dustbin of History once and for all.

As TI notes, “this is an important moment for Africa (and Tanzania in particular) to take stock of the current situation whereby many countries are still making little progress against corruption.”

We all should adopt and act on AU’s theme for Year-2018: ‘Winning the Fight against Corruption: a Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation