Sunday, April 11, 2021

Corruption set to overtake HIV/AIDS as Botswana’s biggest threat

By its nature, corruption festers and thrives in a society going through a state of moral vacuum.
And such is our society.

There is little doubt that Botswana’s corruption is fast becoming institutionalized ÔÇô a part and parcel of the legalised framework.

On morality, we are a country on a downward spiral, with no sense of decency or moral rectitude.

Ours is a place where increasingly success is achieved more easily through dubious and corrupt ways than through hard work and principle.
And it shows no sign of abetting.

Ethics are flouted with amazing ease, and people get away with it because everyone wants to profit from the fraud.

It no longer brings shame to be caught red handed, for society has accepted the evil as a part of daily life.

No sooner are the perpetrators of fraud found out than they emerge in even stronger and higher positions to continue with their evil and corrupt ways.

We are a nation with no moral values.

What is even more disheartening is that there is no leadership to look up to restore our lost values.

Botswana does not have a Nelson Mandela who could be looked upon as a national embodiment of morality.

It is exactly because somebody is still to emerge among us with integrity entrenched deep enough to reset the moral imperatives that some of us are looking up to the secret security intelligence services to lift us from the abyss.

In the past, in fact, not very long ago, politicians in Botswana were looked at as epitomes of morality, but no more.

A different type of reality has since set in.

Not only do politicians fail to set standards, a good number of them are fully immersed in the business of corruption.

They are wheeler dealers, in the true meaning of the word.

It is sad to say it but Botswana’s conditions generally favour the blossoming of corruption; an appalling absence of exemplary leadership.

The economy is doing reasonably well and there is a groundswell of pressure on individuals to make it on the economic front.

Success and worth are measured not by how far one is prepared to help the needy guy next door, but by how much they have amassed individually.

Success and achievement are not measured by one’s devotion to community service and public duty but rather by the glamour and shine of one’s Range Rover.

The situation will get worse before it gets any better.

The train of privatization fast blazing our way will reset the tone for greed to an even higher pitch.
Public sleaze is going to become even more ingrained than it currently is.

Corruption is set to become a way of life much more accepted than it currently is.

It’s an ugly prospect. But all the ingredients are there.

At the rate we are going, it will not be long before the new scourge overtakes HIV/AIDS in the list of potential threats bent on annihilating this country.
Not to be left out, ordinary citizens have joined the fray.

They want a slice of the pie, a place at the high table of corruption and public sleaze.

Corruption especially by officials undermines public confidence on the institutions of governance.
Which is why we should be worried that even the law enforcement agencies, on whom so much public faith and trust used to rest have also joined the fray.

It’s a sick society that we live in.

There is no evidence to suggest that on the corruption front, Botswana is better off than it was before the arrival of DCEC in the early 1990’s.

To the contrary, notwithstanding the good international public relations the country gets from the rankings of Transparency International, at home the mood among ordinary Batswana points to a citizenry that has grown more pessimistic and uncertain about the sincerity and integrity of such rankings.

A heavy cloud of public skepticism hovers over the potency and integrity of institutions such as the PPADB.

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board comes across as an organisation infiltrated if not manipulated by the all too powerful criminal cartels that dominate the public service.

Citizens have lost heart as they see companies owned by ministers, permanent secretaries and or their friends, children and spouses rake home tender after tender.

The DCEC does not fare any better.

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime comes across as an organisation unsure of itself and its mandate. More than ten years on, the DCEC are still to justify their existence.

The Ombudsman’s office is worse: stridently weak, faint-hearted and hesitant; they are still to find their feet.

No form of deliverance can be expected from the Auditor General’s Office.

While given to bragging about their supposed independence, to ordinary citizens, these offices are effectively extensions of the office of the State President.

They were established to engender a culture of fairness and transparency.

The opposite seems to have been achieved, for our brand of transparency has since their arrival deteriorated.

Day in, day out, senior officers use their connections and inside information to line their pockets and those of their cronies.

We impatiently await the day when among us there shall emerge a leader with a strong set of moral values and ethical propriety as to inspire the nation to listen to them when they speak against decay.


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