Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

What is corruption?

CORRUPTION is dishonest behaviour by those in positions of power. Those who abuse their power may be individuals or organisations, such as businesses, governments, departments, or ministries. Corruption can entail a variety of actions, including giving or accepting bribes or inappropriate gifts, double-dealing and defrauding investors, individuals or institutions. Last week the deputy chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Honourable Sibusiso Scorpion Nxumalo, reported that corruption had reached E90 million per month. This represents approximately one billion Emalangeni lost to corruption.  

The national budget was approximately E24 billion and monies lost to corruption represent just below five  per cent of the national budget. This might seem like a small percentage, but we must realise that corruption is a disease that is slowly eating into the fabric of Eswatini as a country. Not long ago, the then Minister of Finance, Majozi Sithole, warned the nation that corruption was stealing E40 million of public funds every month. It is hardly six years and the figure has more than doubled. I will not get into the actual details of the corruption in Eswatini, because I do not have the details, but I will try to expose the nature of corruption using the analogy of the disease that it is. I am hoping that my reader will be able to realise just how dangerous corruption is if left unchecked. Like a sermon, my writings are not for the masses but for a select few, chosen by God with the influence and authority to make the necessary changes.  

There are four types of diseases

There are four main types of diseases: Infectious, deficiency, hereditary and physiological diseases. Ironically, corruption takes the form of all four types with the same final outcome, which basically starts with discomfort within the body, loss of energy or weight and loss of senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste). The national leadership is no longer sensitive to the feelings of the people. The disease will advance to affect vital organs like the liver, heart, brain, and kidney. The final stage of the disease renders the patient helpless in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) on their way to death. A country becomes a failed State when nothing works.

What are infectious corruption diseases?

Infectious diseases are illnesses caused by harmful agents (pathogens) entering your body. The most common causes are viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. We do small practices that may seem harmless but can lead to corruption. Like useless laws that have real value but make life difficult for the citizens. To get government documents, you need a long list of useless documents. Eswatini, you need to know someone (who has a connection) to get the simplest of things done.

The honest citizens who stand in line soon feel foolish as they see people taking shortcuts. The officials soon realise that they can get lunch money every day for the job they are already paid for. The corruption virus or bacteria spreads, and it seems the only way to success is corruption. Young people soon hate successful people thinking they are corrupt. These don’t kill but destroy the environment and create negativity and discouragement.
Deficiency corruption diseases
“Deficiency diseases are diseases that are caused by the lack of certain essential nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals, in one’s diet over a prolonged period of time.” There are human rights that should be guaranteed by law but end up for sale. For example, the right to an education for OVCs is taken away by headmasters demanding top-ups. The child drops out of school or because they are sexually abused trying to get an education. The unavailability of adequate health care through corruption causes a serious deficiency in productivity for the country.
Hereditary corruption diseases
Such disorders are known as genetic disorders. Some genetic disorders are innate, i.e. present by birth, while others are acquired due to mutations in a particular gene. We have traditional and cultural practices that naturally foster and promote corruption. In our culture, when cutting meat on traditional occasions, the first piece is yours, and you must put aside a few pieces for yourself (emanjonjo). These pieces of meat are now millions of Emalangeni to bomahlalesangweni nebacobi. Sibongo or thank you is commonplace.

Physiological corruption disorder

A physiological disorder is an illness that interferes with the way that the functions of the body are carried out. Examples are diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, leukemia, coronary heart disease and any form of cancer. These are most dangerous because they disturb the functioning of state organs or institutions. The three arms of government, the Executive, Judiciary and legislative, soon cease to function effectively because they have been infected. An example would be the Anti-corruption and Human rights commission paralysed. In some African countries, Central Banks were looted of billions of Dollars and they could no longer function.

Treatment for corruption  

Treatments can include medicine, therapy, or surgery. Most medicines basically help the same body fight off the disease. They boost the immune system.  Corruption can be defeated by strengthening internal controls, institutions and policies tasked with fighting corruption. Therapy treatment would be the political will starting from His Majesty the King. Can you imagine the positive impact against corruption of a call by His Majesty for complete cost-cutting and corruption fighting within the whole royal family structures? corruption in the name of the royal family (not necessarily by the royal family) is rampant. Psychologically it would put the fear of God in every corrupt official in government and downstream.

The surgical approach is very drastic, where the government puts in place policies that say there is zero tolerance for corruption. This means all government officials go for lifestyle audits and can expect serious punishments for corruption. The cancer tumour must be removed surgically if the body is to survive policy. This is how countries like Singapore and Malaysia fought corruption and became rich. Corruption fights back and fights back hard.

 Make no mistake, corruption fights back and fights back hard. There are officials who now live of the proceeds of corruption, their salaries can no longer sustain their lifestyle. Some officials are now slaves to unscrupulous business people simply because of one mistake of taking a bribe. Comment septembereswatini@gmail.com.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

: PLE chairmanship
Should foreign nationals be allowed to lead the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE)?