A fish rots from the head

A fish rots from the head

In the late 1950s to the 1960s a number of African countries were involved in a brutal fight for independence. This was a struggle to liberate themselves from European colonialism after whites concluded that Africans could not competently “rule” themselves.
I am beginning to wonder if there was indeed some component of truth toward the Europeans’ line of thinking. This is because in present day Africa, instead of enjoying the independence gotten through the blood of our brothers and sisters, we are now faced with the new scourge of corruption.

When Patrick Lumumba talks of Africa, he says in Africa the shortest route to ill-gotten wealth is through political leadership. He further says if you want to get wealth without working for it at all you should do is join politics.
Judging by the current events there is some grain of truth in these utterances. It also seems the old adage that says fish rots from the head has some authenticity to it when it comes to the current events taking place on the African continent.

A very good example to the words of Prof. Lumumba is unfolding right next door in South Africa where the former president is facing more or less 200 counts of corruption.
Unfortunately, for Africa, it is not just the politicians that are to be blamed for the rot and corruption. The civil servants seem to leading the race in the arena of corruption.
The proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee can scar even those that are hard-hearted. The level of corruption unearthed by the audits carried out by the Auditor General are just out of these world. The saddest part is even those institutions that are mandated with fighting corruption are party to these horrendous acts of rampant corruption that has swallowed our beloved country.

The rot in the public sector ranges from the hiring of ghost workers to the looting of public funds in the most shocking of ways. In a country that is currently on the brink of bankruptcy, you hear of public servants that cannot account for monies amounting to millions of Maloti.
In a country with so much unemployment and such low salaries there are people that live luxuriously through looting from the public purse.

The most shameful thing with this cancerous behaviour that is eating away our beautiful Mountain Kingdom is that, even those institutions whose mandate is to fight corruption are knee deep in corrupt activities. We have no one to cry to when we see corruption taking place. Lesotho like the rest of her African sister countries has been captured by corruption, which we cannot deny. I wonder what the African leaders who fought for freedom are thinking wherever they are. What would they have done to fight the new cancer of corruption? Would they have been party to these atrocious activities of stealing from the poor?

These questions may not have readily available answers now. But the time has come for African leaders to think anew. There is need to seriously fight corruption before it devours us.
Corruption scares away investors, corruption is the root cause of dire poverty among the Africans. Lesotho is said to be scoring below 50 percent on the corruption index. If we are not careful we will soon be scoring under 30 percent and that will be such a shame.

I pray that our current leaders will listen to Prof Lumumba as he says, the time has come for Africa to have an obituary for poverty. That we can achieve only when we have uprooted all forms of corruption amongst us. Corruption will be an issue of yesterday when institutions that are tasked with fighting it do their job properly, instead of being party to corruption.
It is time to ensure that the Directorate on Corruption Economic Offences (DCEO) has sufficient resources to investigate corruption cases and put the suspects in the courts as opposed to the current situation where they appear to be a witch-hunting body that only investigates former politicians without taking them to court.

It is also time for the elites of this country to stand up and fight for a corruption-free Lesotho. A Lesotho that the developers of the Lesotho vision 2020 were able to pick as far back as 2001 that one of the major challenges that Lesotho faces and that need to be addressed was the issue of corruption and nepotism.

The Lesotho Vision 2020 is two years from its expiry date, and we are still facing the same challenge. One wonders if the Vision 2020 has been one of the many white elephants that the government of Lesotho has produced. I guess I have to wait for the evaluation of this policy in 2020 to actually see if anything written in it was ever achieved. ‘
In closing, I beg the present day leaders of Lesotho to declare corruption as a state of emergency. I plead with my leaders to work day and night to uproot corruption in all its forms. I urge them to take a leaf out of the books of African leaders who fought for independence in their quest for a corruption-free Lesotho.

By ; Kellelo Rakolobe

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