Africa has long been plagued by corruption and cronyism. Now, however, governments across the continent are ramping up their efforts to curb corruption. In the latest sign that African nations are serious about cleaning up corruption, Ghana’s Deputy Communications Minister, Victoria Hammah, was sacked after being recorded allegedly saying that she would stay in office until she made at least 1 million dollars.
The tape has now gone viral and the government seemed to have no other choice but to sack her. She also said that if you have money, you can control people. Ms. Hammah has already been criticized previously for being too young and inexperienced to be in office. Earlier in the year, Ms. Hammah had denounced corruption, but the recorded tape seems to suggest that she feels otherwise.
Kenya just launched an anti-corruption website
Other countries in Africa are also ramping up their efforts to fight corruption. Kenya just launched an anti-corruption website. In a bid to curb rampant graft and improve its international reputation, the website will allow people to report corruption and other activities directly to the head of state. The website will also be accompanied by a mobile line which will allow people to text in complaints.
Currently, Kenya is ranked 139 out of 179 in perceived corruption by Amnesty International. Only 1 in 7 people, however, bothered to complain or report corruption, suggesting that the country has a long way to go in regards to fighting illicit activities. As one of Africa’s more prosperous countries, however, Kenya could help lead the way.
Africa fighting corruption on multiple fronts
Meanwhile in Malawi, former Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara was arrested for allegedly ordering the shooting of an official anti-corruption crusader, Paul Mphwiyo. The shooting drew widespread attention, and the President of Malawi has suggested that the attack was meant to silence those fighting against corruption. Mr. Mphwiyo ultimately survived the attack after being flown to South Africa for medical treatment.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa and has been heavily reliant on aid. Many countries and organizations, however, are weary of donating funds and resources to the country because there is a high risk that the resources will never reach the communities they are meant to help. Already, Norway, which is well-known for its international donations, has suspended funding to the country in the wake of the attack.
The cuts in aid may have been what finally spurred the government to act. The Finance Minister noted that without aid, there could be dramatic impacts on society. With aid being so crucial, it quickly became apparent that something must be done to regain the favor of international donors. It remains to be seen if Mr. Kasambara is merely the “fall guy” or the actual perpetrator.
These actions mark small but significant steps forward for the impoverished continent. Rich in natural resources, many African countries could potentially prosper in the years ahead if they can get corruption under control and can install functioning government institutions.