By Jaston Binala.
ActionAid, the international non-governmental organization working against poverty and injustice in the world has said “Militarisation of state actions and state capture” are linked to covering up corruption. And the NGO has listed Tanzania among African countries displaying the militancy and State Capture.
State capture is a type of systemic political corruption in which private interest significantly influences state decision-making processes for private advantage through unobvious channels which may not be illegal.
In a recent presentation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Director of Programs at ActionAid Uganda, Harriet Robinah Gimbo, identified five manifestations of corruption in a country, including militarization of state actions and state capture.
The Director said Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya were countries in this part of Africa which displayed these manifestations of corruption. She identified other manifestations of corruption in a country as Weak institutions especially where governments have shown stronger executive branch and weak legislature; Non progressive and draconian legislation that constrains civic space and engagement ( e.g. Public order Management acts passed by African countries).
Ms Gimbo identified other pointers of existence of corruption in a system as Shrinking of political space for civic engagement to disable engagement, critics and activists.
“Many public officials have resorted to campaigning for re-election/long stay in/to offices as a conduit for acquisition of resources and seemingly “immunity” from prosecution; Uganda, Zambia, Burundi, Zimbabwe are examples,” she said, adding that Transparency International had also found out that 40 out of 46 countries in Sub Saharan Africa showed serious corruption problems.
“Uganda, Angola and Burundi revealed failure to prosecute corrupt public officials on one hand and reprimanded citizens who speak out against corruption,” she said.
But the problem should not be construed to be only in public service. The private sector was equality a cause of concern.
“Many countries that seem friends of Africa have bad records overseas as confirmed by the Panama Papers (April 2016) of Oil companies, Foreign investors who dodge tax, negotiate for tax holidays, hiding assets among others,” the Director said.
She identified main causes of corruption as Poverty, Poor enforcement of laws, Bad governance, Unemployment and illiteracy and called on all countries to build resilience to fight against the vise “as we do for climate change, or emergency and other areas.”
“Explore utilization of the Western governments to force greater accountability and transparency for countries that receive significant foreign aid characteristic of African countries,” she said adding that it would also benefit the fight against corruption by “building citizen agency/activism to speak out and demand for accountability from leaders…and by encouraging whistleblowing at all levels and finding ways of protecting whistle-blowers.”