A British High Commissioner caused a storm in Kenya during Daniel arap Moi’s Dictatorship by saying that “The Kenyan Elite is so corrupt that they eat until they vomit on their Gucci shoes” – or something similar. Some 20 years later, Kenya’s Anti-Corruption Commission is trying to “life-style audit officials with top-of-the-range vehicles, multi-million shilling homes, business ventures and are regularly on expensive overseas trips, while their voters can hardly afford three meals a day”.
The Commission’s 1st Chairman had to run for his life to England some fifteen years ago, and nothing has changed there because today we are told that “efforts by the anti-corruption agency to investigate the rampant corruption being carried out in county governments continues to face resistance from governors … supporters of Governor Godana Doyo attacked and injured anti-corruption detectives as they searched for documents at the county’s Treasury in investigations into a Sh271 million ($2.4 million) payout for a road construction project that had not been carried out”.
Supporters of Uhuru and Ruto will not allow the Anti-Corruption Commission to target those close to the Presidency and their party – who happen to be the seriously corrupt in league with the business elite that is adept at facilitating massive corruption.
In this case we are told a $2.4 million road project budget was pocketed. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to the seriously big corruption that really makes the offenders vomit (out of gluttony) on their “Gucci shoes”. Hospital funds, school budgets, farm subsidies, etc, etc, are all pocketed. The result is that the nation remains under-developed, except for the corrupt elite who send their children to top universities abroad and build palatial homes abroad. In The Gambia, a story I once heard was how a connected doctor owning a chemist outlet privately sold malaria medicine meant for the poor people during the rainy season. Just imagine the number of lives lost because of one individual’s greed.
For Gambia to truly develop and harness the goodwill of development partners, an effective Anti-Corruption Commission with real teeth must be established – and be allowed to work without fear or favour. The ACC and its Chairman must also be protected by the government – the risk will be similar to that faced by the IEC Chairman during the last election. As in Kenya, and in Nigeria too where the ACC Chairman has been targeted by those he was investigating, it will only be bravest Gambians who will undertake the task of fighting corruption.
The corrupt elite is a Mafia and extremely powerful. Can even the government itself be brave enough to establish an independent Anti-Corruption Commission? On the other hand, if the government is really serious about developing the country can it afford not to take on the corrupt elite and officials?
Poverty-stricken Yahya Jammeh came into power promising to tackle corruption. The elite had a meeting with him and promised to enrich him if “he left the business elite alone to develop the country”. The poverty stricken anti-corruption Yahya Jammeh ended his days in power as the most corrupt African president of his generation – assisted by the business elite who did indeed “develop” Jammeh.
Gambia must establish an effective Anti-Corruption Commission and “life-style audit officials with top-of-the-range vehicles, multi-million shilling homes, business ventures and are regularly on expensive overseas trips, while their voters can hardly afford three meals a day”.
London, W10 5SG.
Courtesy of www.sambagate.com
Our unity, peace, security and justice are our foundation to lasting development and the reinforcement of our democracy. We should do our best to defeat CORRUPTION, without which we are bound to fail
If you think that the Gambian will sit and watch corruption this time,think again.the corruption the APRC has done will not be repeated in our eyes.
Whatever it may take we fight it,even if there is going to be war,then so be it but Gambia is for Gambian and not only for the elite.
Corruption must stop or Gambia will stop existing.
Time will tell
Long live Gambia.
LOL, we don’t need a war to defeat corruption. What we need is a strong, effective, and unbiased Anti-Corruption institution, auditing all public and parastatal organizations every six months. We should establish severe penalties on anyone found guilty of corruption. CORRUPTION must be defeated if we want to succeed.
Dida, I believe the most pertinent point that you raised on curbing corruption in The Gambia is stated below:
“For Gambia to truly develop and harness the goodwill of development partners, an effective Anti-Corruption Commission with real teeth must be established – and be allowed to work without fear or favour. The ACC and its Chairman must also be protected by the government – the risk will be similar to that faced by the IEC Chairman during the last election. As in Kenya, and in Nigeria too where the ACC Chairman has been targeted by those he was investigating, it will only be bravest Gambians who will undertake the task of fighting corruption”.
It will take sheer commitment on the part of any Gambian government to set up an ACC and see it through its mandate on account of the cultural nuances and the mindset of the Gambian population. Dida, you possibly know the inner workings of Gambian urban society as much as, if not more than I do. The majority of supposedly competent Gambians that could fill the roles of Anti-corruption Commissioners are either caught in the wave of age old Gambian naivete or Senegambian cultural mysticism (the Marabout Phenomenon). Even where security provisions and financial compensations are met, I am yet to meet a Gambian that is truly incorruptible or wouldn’t look the other when friends, family and friends become the target of probes for corruption. It it in this context that fear and favor come into play.
Also Dida, correct me on this point, but I do believe that in The Gambia that I know so well, there’s a dearth of untainted persons that can or are willing to serve on anti-corruption commissions and commissions of inquiry. In fact I dare go out on a limb to state that the majority of Gambian public servants, current and retired, are compromised in one way or the other. The private sector, with the exception of the hotel industry, offers a much better crop of untainted candidates!
Anti Corruption Commissions in The Gambia and Kenya, that I know very well, bear a common element in that the bodies don’t have teeth and even where they’re seen to have teeth at the outset, they’d be baby teeth that ultimately fall off thus rendering the commissions totally ineffective. I must add that the worst impediment to the work of ACC’s in Africa is the sheer amount of time that it take to resolve the most blatant of cases. In The Gambia and Senegal (similar cultures), corruption is built into the fabric of society and erroneously labeled NJERIGN, AMM NYAAN, BARAKO, NAFAA, FIRINGO, BETTEH (Krio), WORRSAGG and HARRJAY. So in effect, corruption is not accorded the seriousness and attention that’s called for. Instead, it is accepted as a fact of life!
The canker of corruption exists in all cultures including modern economies. However, whereas modern economies are able to absorb the nasty blows/impact of corruption, African economies CANNOT and must not condone corruption at any level as the resources involved in corrupt practices are direly needed to move the teeming disadvantaged masses out of abject poverty.
All is not lost though Dida! With better education, civic engagement, food security and a strong commitment to higher moral and ethical standards in society, we can collectively take a big bite out of the chronic and debilitating disease of corruption in Africa!