Botwsana’s position as Africa’s least corrupt country could be on the line. This follows the failure by government to sign and ratify the African Union Convention on preventing and combating corruption.
Failure to sign and ratify mean that Botswana is among bad company.
The countries include Angola, Malawi, Cape Verde and the Central African Republic.
The Executive Director of Transparency International Botswana, Mosupi Bonanza Garebatho, said the convention became effective in August this year, after it was agreed by African Heads of States in July 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique.
So far, fifteen countries have ratified the convention and made strong commitments to implement its provisions, which include, among others, declaration of assets by government officials, adherence to ethical codes of conduct, citizens’ access to government information about budget spending and protect those who blow the whistle on fraud.
The convention also establishes standards for procurement, accounting and transparency in funding of political parties and recognises the need for civil society participation.
“There is no doubt that these provisions are central to the promotion of transparency, accountability and the fight against corruption. But to mention that Botswana has not yet made a commitment when other countries have, to the values that make her to be considered the least corrupt country in the continent, is not encouraging at all,” said Mr. Garebatho.
Countries that have signed and ratified include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Congo, Libya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda
Countries that have not yet signed and ratified include Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Egypt, Eritrea, Malawi, Sahrawi A.D.R. Seychelles, Sao Tome & Principe, Sudan and Tunisia
“We would like to encourage government to take this convention seriously because it is a way of ensuring that countries commit to the establishment of proper democratic structures/principles and good governance. Of course, the public does not know the reason why Botswana government has not yet done that, but the fact that other countries have, shows that Botswana is lagging behind,” said Garebatho.
He said because of its ranking, Botswana is expected to be leading the way.
“Procrastinating or failure to do that would eventually raise eye brows as regards the country’s position on those issues,” he said.