Combating Corruption: Needs Zero Tolerance + 100% Unconditional Prosecution

BBC Africa News dated 3rd December 2010, reports about the admission of the Kenyan government that, “… it could be losing nearly one-third of the national budget to corruption.” Is this corruption news really new news? No, it is old news, as old as the existence of human beings? Corruption is as old as prostitution. They are twins. But the old news on corruption is getting worse by the day. Corruption has now become a culture in itself in certain countries. Can corruption be totally eradicated from mankind? No, as long as the heart is corrupted, greed will fuel corruption in any individual or society. Corruption is a disease that can be reduced but not eradicated. And even to reduce corruption, it needs a global and national formula of: Zero Tolerance + 100 % Unconditional Prosecution, before any significant impact can be made in combating corruption.

Corruption: Disease of a Corrupt Heart

Corruption is a moral disease of humanity. And corruption is fueled by greed. And greed is like a bottomless pit that cannot be satiated. Corruption is a contagious moral disease that begins with an individual and can eventually engulf a nation. All nations, A to Z, have this disease, as confirmed by entities that study corruption like, “Transparency International.” Corruption is a disease of a corrupt heart.

Corruption: Reasons for Its Prevalence and Severity

The foremost reason for the prevalence and severity of corruption in humanity is because it is accommodated in political governance. What does it mean that corruption is accommodated in political governance? For example, take Kenya which has acknowledged that “…it could be losing nearly one-third of the national budget to corruption.” Acknowledgement is a positive step in combating corruption. But now the question is will the government of Kenya be prepared to prosecute anyone, including its own ruling leaders and members, if they are found to be corrupt? If the answer is yes, then, it will show that the government of Kenya has adopted a zero tolerance towards corruption. If the answer is, yes, but with exceptions, then, this is called political accommodation of corruption. If exceptions are made for anyone involved in corruption, it is no more a zero tolerance of corruption. There is only one word for corruption accommodation, “political whitewash.” No government can combat corruption unless it is prepared to practice zero tolerance for corruption. And zero tolerance for corruption means that there is no political accommodation for anyone regardless of status quo involved in corruption. The logic is simple. It is either zero corruption or corruption. There are no exceptions and accommodations in a real combat against corruption. What does this require?

Transparency and Accountability: Antidotes for Corruption for All

Transparency and Accountability is a must for any country to combat corruption. Transparency and Accountability must begin with the head of states right down to the citizens of countries. The requirement for transparency and accountability is all inclusive, with no exceptions for anyone. If a disease has to be cured totally, then, the antidote must be infused completely in an organism for it to work. If the antidotes of transparency and accountability are not all inclusive and comprehensive in its implementation, they will be ineffective in combating corruption. So, the principal is clear, the antidotes of transparency and accountability are for everyone in a country with no exceptions. So, what does the practice of 100% transparency and accountability means?

100% Unconditional Prosecution of Corrupters

The practice of 100% transparency and accountability entails a 100% unconditional prosecution of “anyone” found guilty of corruption. Realistically speaking, no country in this world is practicing a 100% unconditional prosecution of “anyone” found guilty of corruption. There always seems to be exceptions of the “untouchables.” Exceptions in allowing untouchables makes combating of corruption more of a political sideshow rather than an exercise of transparent and accountable governance.

Conclusion

What is being proposed here is something that every reasonable person who is against corruption already knows. Knowledge of principles in itself is useless without its practice. What is required in the combat against corruption is practice. And this practice for it to be effective, must begin with the head of states, and then, go down to the person on the street. The combat against corruption must be comprehensive for it to show reasonable impact. Political sideshows and white washes don’t work. It is only good for political entertainment. Combating corruption: needs zero tolerance + 100% unconditional prosecution. Nothing more and nothing less.