Botswana continues to impress a global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption, the Transparency International (TI).
TI is based in Berlin, Germany, and was founded in 1993 purely to assist combat corruption and crime prevention around the world. According to a newly released Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) this week by the organisation, Botswana has maintained its top spot as the least corrupt in Africa. Botswana is ranked number 1 in Sub Saharan Africa which places her on number 34 in the whole world.
Out of 100, Botswana scored 61 in 2017. The score is an increase from 60 in 2016. In 2015 and 2014 Botswana scored 63 while in 2013 they attained 64 from 65 scored in 2012. Botswana has been regarded as the most corrupt by the organisation although corruption still remains an issue in some quarters in the country. The Corruption Perceptions Index states that despite being the worst performing region as a whole, Africa has several countries that consistently push back against corruption, and with notable progress like Botswana.
In fact, it states that such African countries score better than some countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The index report continues: “specifically, Botswana, Seychelles, Cabo Verde, Rwanda and Namibia all score better on the index compared to some OECD countries like Italy, Greece and Hungary. In addition, Botswana and Seychelles, which score 61 and 60 respectively, do better than Spain at 57.”
The CPI also highlights that the key ingredient that the top performing African countries have in common is “political leadership that is consistently committed to anti-corruption.” While the majority of countries already have anti-corruption laws and institutions in place, the CPI insists that these leading countries go an extra step to ensure implementation.
The index report points out that “from President Paul Kagame’s strict enforcement of compliance with the leadership code in Rwanda, to President Jorge Fonseca’s open promotion of institutional transparency in Cabo Verde or President Ian Khama’s innovative approach of ‘mainstreaming anti-corruption’ across ministries in Botswana, these countries learned what works best in their communities and pursued these tactics with commitment. These countries score 55, 55 and 61 respectively on the CPI.”
Equally positive, the report added apart from Botswana and few others that in Mauritius also, which scored 50 on the index, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth courageously embarked on a programme to improve its country score by 16 points within the next ten years. This is notwithstanding that this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index highlights categorically that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption.
The index also this year found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43. Unfortunately, compared to recent years, this poor performance is nothing new, it continues. In the whole world, New Zealand and Denmark rank highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively. The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66. The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34).
Since 2012, several countries significantly improved their index score, including Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and the United Kingdom, while several countries declined, including Syria, Yemen and Australia. Further analysis of the results indicates that countries with the least protection for press and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption. Every week at least one journalist is killed in a country that is highly corrupt. The analysis, which incorporates data from the Committee to Protect Journalists, shows that in the last six years, more than 9 out of 10 journalists were killed in countries that score 45 or less on the index.
The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. Despite improved anti-corruption efforts in some countries, the situation continues to worsen in a few others. The lowest-scoring countries on the index are often those where there is conflict or war. Reducing corruption in these contexts is particularly challenging.
The fragile nature of governments in these situations presents a real challenge to making meaningful changes. In addition, some countries that perform poorly on the index are led by African leaders that run for office on an anti-corruption ticket, but never live up to their pledges to deliver corruption-free services to their citizens.
This scenario is all too common across the continent and makes it difficult to combat corruption effectively. For example, since 2012, Liberia declined 10 points on the CPI. In her final state-of-the-nation address, former President Sirleaf Johnson admitted that her administration did not deliver on its anti-corruption pledge. Her tenure was marred by accusations of nepotism, illegal contracts and impunity for her cabinet ministers.
In the quest to win the fight against corruption, the AU will need to call for visible commitment to anti-corruption from all of its leaders. In addition, the AU should consider investment in countries that historically struggle with anti-corruption efforts and show little to no progress. This includes countries like Malawi and Guinea Bissau that continue to decline significantly, as well as countries like Somalia and South Sudan, which fall at the very bottom of the index and face significant governance challenges.
Meanwhile with regards to Botswana, corruption is still perceived by others as rampant although seen as lower than other countries in Africa and the world. The country is currently plunged in perhaps the worst financial corruption scandal in its history involving more than 320 million pula (which is perceived to have grown to 600 million) scrupulously accrued from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).
The landmark case that rocked the country towards the end of last year, implicate one Bakang Seretse, and two other co-accused, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang who are alleged to have between September, 05, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, illegally received over P320 million from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) hence charged with money laundering. The case continues.
Another marathon corruption case involved former Debswana Managing Director Louis Nchindo who was said to be involved in corruption scandal relating to acquiring large chunks of land throughout Botswana, which included in Gaborone – for purposes of tourism development.
Some Ministers were also at some point investigated for corruption including Vincent Seretse the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, former minister of Juctice, Defence and Security Ramadeluka Seretse, Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo and Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Prince Maele – more often than not, high ranking members of society implicated in corruption cases get cleared by the courts.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.