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When will corruption end in Africa?

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Africa, crisis and reasons it will be very difficult for it to end.sometime ago a video in which a street boy blamed bad leadership for Nigeria’s socio-economic problems, went viral on social media in the country. He called for a mass burial of the country’s political elite, which in his opinion, would help combat corruption and unlock the country’s potential. This has also lead to the situation, where many kind of criminal groups have come out from every part of Africa, but the part thing about this crisis, is the fact the corrupt politicians are not the people suffering the hardship and torment of these criminal groups.

How can a youth indulge in all kind of crimes, if the environment he or she find his or herself, is conducive.

How can Africa, produce all kinds of mineral resource, such as ( Crude oil, Gold, Diamond,Limestone,Cocoa and more) 

Let me use Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda as a case study

KENYA

How can one person steal public funds and the person is steal working freely and another politician, will come out and still be misleading the youth, telling them all kinds of lies with empty promises.

Kenya?s education sector continues to suffer fallout from the theft of millions of dollars two years ago from a government program that, among other things, funds the country?s Free Primary Education initiative.  Overcrowded classrooms and fragmented programs are some of the results of the theft, cases of which are still in court. 

The Kenya Education Support Sector Program was launched with much fanfare in 2005.  The $5.8 billion program promised to make basic education available to everyone, improve the quality of that education, increase opportunities for post-secondary education, and train education managers.

The World Bank, Britain?s Department for International Development, or DFID, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the U.N.?s children?s agency threw their support behind the program.  DFID, for instance, kicked in more than $83 million.

But trouble started brewing towards the end of 2009 with rumors of massive fraud in the Ministry of Education and the entire school system.  By early 2010, the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission had compiled a list of some 40 education officials suspected of theft, with a handful already appearing in court.

Nicholas Simani, public relations officer at the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, says investigations and court cases are still going on today. 

“Some of the witnesses are not turning up; some of the witnesses have changed their mind,” he said. “We do not know whether they have been coerced into changing their mind or they have given up.  Some of the witnesses have just disappeared.  The more we talk about certain cases in specifics, we are finding that the documentations are disappearing, which means the individuals who are involved are either destroying them or not making them not be available to us.”

Forensic audit 

Last June, the Ministry of Finance released the results of its forensic audit.  It says that a total of $54.9 million had been misappropriated.  About half of that was money meant to build schools in disadvantaged areas of the country such as arid/semi-arid lands and urban slums.

As details of the massive fraud emerged, all of the donors pulled out.  A statement from the British High Commission in early 2010 announced the end of DFID?s funding for the Kenya Education Support Sector Program.  The statement said DFID would allocate $27.4 million in its 2010-2011 budget for education in Kenya but would disperse the money independent of any government systems.

And that further erodes the quality of education, says Sara Ruto, regional manager of Uwezo East Africa, a program to improve literacy and math skills among children in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. She says the whole point of the Kenya Education Support Sector Program was to come up with a holistic, unified vision and plans for the entire Kenyan education system.

“We are going back to the former pattern of fragmented funding, that somebody decides on a project of choice to them.  So you have people doing small things here and there and maybe they are not even talking to each other.  Non-state actors have often gone for what is visible.  You can easily account for a building [more] than accounting for soft issues like training,” said Sara Ruto. 

Reimbursing donors

The Kenyan government has reimbursed donors for the fraud using taxpayers? money, a move that riles Mwalimu Mati, head of the government watchdog Mars Group Kenya.

He recalls the government?s promise several years ago to hire primary school teachers in order to reduce classroom sizes – which in some cases are up to 100 students per classroom – and the subsequent teachers? strike when this was not done.

“So when they went on strike, they were asking for the hiring of about 20,000 new teachers and the conversion of some of the teachers who were on contract to permanent terms,” said Mati. “The total package for that bill was going to be just over four billion shillings ($47.7 million).  I think if we are refunding two-and-a-half billion shillings [$29.8 million], we are basically making it very difficult for the government to be able to hire these new teachers.”

Mati says the Finance Ministry is not saying anything about recovering the money from those prosecuted for the crimes.  He says that, by using public coffers to reimburse donors, the government, in his words, ?makes the taxpayer liable to pay for stolen funds.”

Students, first victims of corruption

Sources interviewed by VOA listed many other impacts of the corruption. The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission?s Simani says corruption harms students the most.

“Two hundred thousand kids cannot make it to Form One, to secondary [school],” said Simani. “What is going to happen to 200,000 children?  They are just going to be running around?  There is no other system to channel them in.  There is need to look at the entire education system.  Because of corruption, this has limited the choices for these 200,000 people to enter into.”

Uwezo East Africa?s Ruto calls it a “vicious cycle,” where teachers sometimes do not show up for class because they are demotivated by the corruption of their headmasters. 

NIGERIA

The same man appointted to fight corruption, turned out to be the one stealing the same money, recovered from other corrupt politicians and the case, have been swept under the carpet, because he mentioned the Vice President of Nigeria, as an accomplice to his corrupt practice.

Well over US$3.6 billion (1.3 trillion naira) was stolen from public coffers between 2011 and 2015, a sum that could have secured the future of the next generation, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s anti-graft body, said on Monday.

Ibrahim Magu, the EFCC’s acting head, disclosed the exact sum in a keynote address at an event organized by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) held in Lagos, the country’s largest city, on Monday. 

Just one third of the stolen funds could have been used to construct over 500 kilometers of roads, build some 200 schools, educate about 4,000 children, build 20,000 units of two-bedrooms houses across Nigeria, and even more, Magu said in his address, delivered on his behalf by the EFCC’s secretary. 

“The cost of this grand theft, therefore, is that these roads, schools and houses will never be built and these children will never have access to quality education because a few rapacious individuals had cornered for themselves what would have helped secure the lives of the future generations,” Magu said, decrying the overwhelming financial loss. 

The event in Lagos was the opening ceremony for the 2019 First Batch Conversion Training Programme to Procurement Cadre for Federal Parastatal and Agencies, a law enforcement training organized by the BPP aimed to increase efficiency and transparency. 

“Indeed, corruption could kill Nigeria, if we do not scale up our proficiency in contract and procurement management process,” Magu added. 

The EFCC was founded by the Nigerian government in 2003 and was first run by Nuhu Ribadu, who later ran unsuccessfully for president. Last December, Ribadu received the Anti-Corruption Lifetime/Outstanding Achievement Award from the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Center, a non-profit based in Doha. 

Magu was one of Ribadu’s early recruits to the EFCC, where he served as its first head of Administration and Finance, and then as its head of Economic Governance. 

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Magu EFCC’s acting chairman in November 2015 after firing its previous chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde. In August of that year, Lamorde had denied allegations that he diverted $5 billion from the EFCC.

In a speech at last November’s inaugural Paris Peace Forum, President Buhari called for more rigorous actions against perpetrators of financial crimes, saying that “the cancerous effects of illicit financial flows and corruption on the socio-economic development of countries are glaringly evident.” 

Buhari, who is known for his authoritarian style, launched a total war against corruption soon after his election in 2015, vowing to eradicate graft in Nigeria and punish its perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.

Although Buhari’s term has seen high rates of corruption convictions and the recovery of billions in stolen public funds, corruption watchdogs have noted that Nigeria is actually moving backwards when it comes to graft.

“Where institutions of accountability are not working well, such cases [of recovered stolen public money] pose a complex problem: how to make sure that the money is not embezzled again, and actually benefits the real victims of corruption – the ordinary people whose state finances were plundered,” Transparency International wrote in a feature about asset recovery published last August.

UGANDA

Just look at the case of one of the poor country in East Africa, that was suppose to be appreciative, that the world is coming to their aid, to help solve, their economy crisis, but still somebody had the heart to steal, funds meant for the betterment of the country and it’s citizens. No investigation was conduct and that person is allow to move around freely.

In 2018, the United Nations found that millions of dollars of aid money had been stolen in Uganda. Now Germany has partially stopped its funding in a bid to force Uganda to speed up investigations.

The German government announced Friday that it was withholding Ush400 billion ($106 million) of the funds it had promised Kampala for refugee resettlement annually.

The decision follows the United Kingdom’s 2018 decision to suspend its funding of Kampala after a UN investigation of Uganda’s refugee programme found evidence of corruption involving millions of dollar.

The scandal came to light when a whistleblower within the Ugandan government notified donors that large sums of money had been withdrawn from the account where it was deposited.

A joint investigation conducted by the United Nations, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and Uganda’s government then discovered that the number of refugees in Uganda was inflated and resources intended to provide for refugees had been stolen.

The Ugandan government has yet to bring the suspects to book, leading donors to question the country’s commitment to investigating the matter, and hence the decision by Germany and the UK to withhold funds.

Germany is ‘shocked’

The German ambassador to Uganda, Albrecht Conze, said Germany was shocked by the results of the investigation.

“I must admit that what happened in February last year, now 15 months ago, came as a shock to Germany. Especially since a lot of the money also comes from private sources, from people who donate. When you donate and then hear that your donation has not been spent well or embezzled, you become very cross,” Mr Conze said on Friday.

Uganda officially hosts 1.3 million refugees and received $350 million from various donors in 2017.

For now, Germany has decided to withhold the funds given directly to the Ugandan government until it launches proceedings against the suspects, but it will release some funds to international organisations like the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for aid projects.

International donors

Uganda is heavily dependent on the aid money coming from international donors to deal with the financial situation caused by the refugees in the country.

Mr Conze demanded that action taken to restore trust.

“We are not dispensing [funds] until we see that those who had been identified at the time are brought to justice, and they need to respond to the allegations that came up at the time,” he said.

“I am a bit surprised that this takes 15 months. I would not like to think that someone wishes to sweep that under the carpet. You can do that with your own money but when you get money from friends, I think your accountability is increased, so I would expect some action here by the authorities concerned.”

Uganda’s Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Musa Echweru, said the investigation would be thorough and the culprits would be punished.

He however described the decision of the German government as a staggering blow.

“The truth is that it will hurt our operations. There is a lot to be done, I only wish that they have not conclusively taken that position and that’s my prayer.”

He said Uganda would work hard to get Germany and other donors to understand that the investigation processes may be slow but they were in motion.

“There is evidence of those who committed wrong. Some two, three people should be punished, so it is going to be implemented,” he said.

UK also halts funding

Four donors – Britain, Germany, the European Union and the United States — contributed almost 80 per cent of 2017 funding.

All of them threatened to withdraw their funding after the corruption claims were voiced. In December 2017, 16 donor countries issued a statement calling for the prosecution of those responsible.

Germany is Uganda’s second biggest donor after the United Kingdom, which provides more than $19 million. The UK halted its funding in February.

The news website New Humanitarian wrote that the UK’s Department for International Development confirmed that funding to UNHCR Uganda had been frozen.

These are the three countries, I have decided to use as case study but that does not mean those, I didn’t mention are better.

Please, can everyone ask themselves. With all this kind of situation, why won’t there be terrorist, fraudsters and prostitution on the rise.

The reasons for this are not hard to find. Most African leaders have done little to improve the welfare of their people, who are very poor, while they, and their cronies, live in opulence.

The rot goes all the way through the political chain to elected and appointed public officers – starting with political parties. Party financiers and godfathers dictate who holds what public office without regard for competence and internal democracy. They ultimately dictate how state affairs and funds are managed with barely a distinction between public and private funds. So, elections don’t seem to help, mainly as the politicians are the same. Despite African political parties espousing different ideologies and launching welfare manifestos, nothing really changes when governments change.

Corruption is prevalent throughout the continent. Tied to this is the fact that anti-corruption efforts fail because of a lack of honest and accountable leaders. Many have co-opted democratic systems, such as regular elections, or they simply make up the rules as they go along to stay in power. Behind it all lies an insatiable appetite for money, and the realization that power can deliver untold wealth. In these scenarios, played out across dozens of countries on the continent, the state (and the people) are sacrificed to greed.

And those brave enough to stand up and be counted are driven out – either literally or figuratively.

Ubiquitous corruption

Every year about USD$50 billion is lost through illicit transfers. Not only does this hold back the continent’s socio-economic progress, it also threatens peace, security and stability.

A recent study found that in Sokoto State, Nigeria, corruption facilitates the spread of radical ideology and induces about 70% of the youth to join Boko Haram, a group which killed 11,885 civilians between 2011 and 2016.

Whereas the ubiquity and repercussions of corruption in Africa have been widely articulated, the fight against it seems to be a fleeting illusion.

Anti-corruption measures mainly revolve around legislating to tighten loopholes, strengthening anti-corruption institutions, and empowering the media and citizens to report or stand up against malfeasance.

But the success of these measures depend on the often overlooked but crucial role of good leadership.

Willing, able and visionary leaders are required to push through sweeping reforms to curb corruption and augment public accountability. Unfortunately, such leadership is lacking in Africa.

Leadership vacuum

Africa is home to despots and sit-in presidents who either abuse their power or allow abuses to be perpetrated. Countries are run like family property and political dynasties are created by fathers passing power to sons. Checks and balances are weak, dissent is crashed, and alternative views are discarded, culminating in low accountability which further deteriorates leadership and reinforces corruption.

One would expect multiparty democracy and its associated principles to produce visionary and effective leaders, but this is rarely the case in Africa. While elections are held and leaders are changed at the ballot, things usually remain the same. Oftentimes, policies and corrupt practices which were criticized by political leaders while in opposition suddenly become right and justifiable when they win power.

In essence, there may be new faces in government, but the status quo does not change. The big question is, why?

Politics and money

Politics in Africa is synonymous with wealth, whether acquired legally or otherwise. Hence, the scramble for power can be intense and sometimes dangerous. The expectation of quick riches increases internal competition for party candidature, which often requires deal making and vote buying.

And failure to align with the party establishment can prevent members from ascending the party hierarchy.

Party members are socialized in the same way, mainly to do whatever is necessary to win power by fair or foul means, and those who dare to think or behave differently are sidelined, sabotaged or expelled.

Political party financing and corruption

At the core of Africa’s corruption and leadership problems is opaque party financing. In most countries, parties rely on private funding from individuals and organizations. But regulations on financial disclosure are either non-existent or ineffective, which allows wealthy individuals, known as godfathers, to wield significant influence, mainly for their benefit but to the detriment of the state.

Even leaders perceived to be strong-willed can find it hard to withstand the pressures.

In an interview in 2016, Nigeria’s first lady, Aisha Buhari, stated that her husband does not know all of his appointees, which shows how a president can be the face of mightier but invisible forces.

In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma stands accused of being a stooge of the wealthy Gupta family.

These examples attest to how African leaders can be controlled from behind the scenes by vested interests and crooked godfathers. In some cases, the leaders are incapable of addressing the excesses of their sponsors, leading to anarchy and recklessness.

Being different is political suicide

There is a popular idiom: “do not bite the hands that feed you”. Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that this is true for African leaders. There is a high chance that leaders who act against the interests of their party establishment, financiers and godfathers, even for the benefit of the state, will not last long. The same applies to their policies.

So what’s the way forward? Africa must regulate political party financing and strengthen state institutions such as electoral commissions to enforce compliance.

Until then, most leaders on the continent will continue to be prone to capture and control by powerful and parochial godfathers. And the looting of public funds won’t stop.

I know this is not an excuse for people to indulge in crime, what do you expect from a man or woman, who is not sure of where the next meal is going to come from, some go out to find daily bread, they are either faced with police brutality, or get involved in an autocross due to trying to hack on traffic or being kidnap for ritual purpose.

When will Africa and it’s youth experience, good life and with my best of understanding, a lot of westerners are the one responsible for the bad leadership in Africa, because they are benefiting from this corruption eating Africa up.

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