Having been knocked off its pedestal by Seychelles in the Corruption Perception Index, Botswana’s score in a ranking system maintained by Transparency International is also declining.
TI’s CPI for 2020 shows that Botswana has maintained second place for the third year running but that its score dropped from last year’s 61 to 60. Three remarkable things have happened. Firstly, for the third year running, Botswana has failed to score highest in the Sub-Saharan Region. Established in 1995, the CPI ranks nations on the prevalence of corruption and beginning then until 2018, Botswana has been continuously adjudged Africa’s least corrupt country. In 2018, Seychelles knocked Botswana off its pedestal and that may portend an inglorious future for Botswana. Secondly, not only is Botswana no longer Africa’s least corrupt country, its score is declining – which means that corruption is rising. The latter means that Botswana’s ranking could slip even farther on the CPI. For three years now, Seychelles has been holding steady at 66. Thirdly, the decline in Botswana’s score implicates the administration of President Mokgweetsi Masisi in its management of corruption.
In its 2018 report, which came out in January 2019, TI stated: “Angola, Nigeria, Botswana, South Africa and Kenya are all important countries to watch, given some promising political developments. The real test will be whether these new administrations will follow through on their anti-corruption commitments moving forward.” Here at home, Masisi’s commitment to fighting corruption is being doubted.
While they have always seen it as their duty to inform the nation about how Botswana was beating all Sub-Saharan countries in this beauty contest, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party and the Botswana Government Communication and Information Systems (BGCIS) have been reluctant to broadcast that the country obtained second position. At both the Government Enclave and Tsholetsa House (the BDP headquarters), interest in the CPI reports has waned and could well stay that way for as long as other African countries overtake a country that was once considered Africa’s beacon of hope.
While useful in some regard, the CPI is itself not really helpful as a measure of corruption and foreign direct investment compass. On one level, the astronomical sums of public money that is stolen by Third World leaders is mostly stashed away in banks at one of the best-performing countries on TI’s CPI – Switzerland. On another level, while less corruption is supposed to attract FDI, highly corrupt countries like Nigeria and Mozambique continue to attract more FDI than least corrupt countries like Botswana.