Wednesday 21 April 2021
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Leadership without the courage to confront and fight corruption

Corruption isn’t a minor issue, yet, almost every known case of corruption in this country has been treated with utter disdain. First, such attitude trumps over all that we fought for as a nation, insulting our liberation history. Secondly, it undermines the execution of justice. Thirdly, it fails to deter the pillaging of public institutions and resources for personal enrichment.
In one of my earlier articles, I addressed the case of the minister of education Ms. Katrine Hanse-Himarwa. She is one current example of how we have failed to deal with corruption with the force it deserves. Others may say that she’s not been charged or found guilty. That’s not the point. By virtue of being a public office holder, which came because of the efforts of voters, being implicated in such scandalous activities should have driven her to voluntarily resign. Not to mention, she should have been fired by the president ages ago.
Regardless of talks to deal with corruption under every head of states we’ve had so far, every social arrangement and attitude has been geared towards enhancing corruption.
Sub-Saharan African is technically known as the silk-road of bureaucratic corruption and all the boasting we had as a nation left us just a few years after independence. We’ve laboured tirelessly to ensure that to corruption is every brought to face the rod of justice – except for the minor and insignificant cases. Such that as a nation, we dropped from the ranks of being among the top ten least corrupt African countries on the corruption index, now competing to even overtake those that have been leading before us.
It has become a culture; we literally can put that up as a national achievement. Sarcasm aside, the political environment which ought to provide leadership has failed the public, dismally.
Out political structures have unabashedly employed the states machinery to establish a new oligarchy immune from the law. As such they have been able to plunder the national resources with relentless greed and when charged, they can appear in front of cameras – in the dance of Jacob Zuma. Let’s look at the recent events in the City of Windhoek municipality. One entity that has continued for years piling one corruption case upon another and people get away without consequences. Not to mention the campaign to re-instate its chief of police Mr. Kanime.
Although the president never gave a direct public order for his reinstatement, his suggestion in that direction fuelled the agenda.
This is the kind of light-heartedness I’m referring too, exercised by our political leaders to undermine justice. The degree of sympathy we have coined to keep people in leadership who are accused or even charged with corruption, is shameful.  Some of us have been thinking as to whether we’re a cursed nation or people. From all evidence, our problem isn’t as a result of some with or wizard – except raw lack of character.
We don’t have the courage to do the right thing. What curse could be worse than the lack of courage to do what is right?
That Kanime, who is charged with corruption – of which we don’t even know the extent, has been reinstated to take back the driving seat for the city’s law-enforcement, only indicates how unashamed we are of things that ought to have us hide in shame.
Again, public leadership ought to be enshrined in the principles of blamelessness in conduct, not just the absence of legal charges. This form of principled leadership is so absent from our public that we have simply resigned ourselves to corrupt leadership.
Such that it looks quite normal for people with pending criminal charges are proudly paraded before us as exemplary citizens or even leaders.
Corruption can only grow in an enabling environment. An environment in which the political conditions are favourable and the legal structures are silenced from carrying out their tasks.
Why has Botswana been able to curb corruption, even though they have their own, they have political and legal structures that are set to deter such practices. Without an enabling political environment corruption will die.
We’re not talking of low-scale corruption, but the kind that runs at administrative levels and capable of crippling nations.
Because once corruption is eliminated at the level, we’ll have better systems and structures to curb it at every other level.
Finally, both Ms. Himarwa and Mr. Kanime’s cases are evidence of a lack of political will to administer justice and weakened legal structures that cannot bring about this justice. Cases like this are many and they raise new questions of our ethics as a nation. That we have political structures that fail to exercise courage to deal with corrupt leaders effectively, shows a deep moral failure.
Without this courage to exercise justice against corrupt senior public servants, we continue to deny our own history.
The struggles against colonialism and apartheid were struggles against corruption, yet we’ve come to tolerate our own today.
As a result, corrupt leaders are running public institutions into the ground, using every opportunity to serve their own interests and preserve their survival.

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