A 2015 Transparency Report paints a bleak picture of the excruciating forms of corruption permeating throughout sub-Sahara Africa. According to the report, nearly 75 million people have paid a bribe either to maneuver around the rule of law, or to receive access to basic needs. Of all the people interviewed – 43,143 respondents across 28 countries over the span of one year – Ghana was listed as one of the worst offenders of corruption.
Daniel Batidam, former governance and corruption advisor to former President John Mahama, said he tried to reduce those numbers. After serving two years as the Chairman of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption, he resigned on findings that exploitation lived within the Union. For him, there was no point in advocating against corruption when the members themselves did not work to prevent it.
“You get to the level of the African Union and you want to combat and prevent corruption. After a while you see that none of the principles you are upholding are being held,” Batidam told Daniel Dadzie on the Super Morning Show Tuesday.
For most countries globally, he said, corruption takes its own form, whether it be politically, legally or in the private sector. At its core, corruption disrupts peace and stability, and in modern times, it has become a security issue, he forewarned.
The Transparency Report estimates that more than half of Africans believe corruption has increased since 2014 and most governments fail to meet their citizens’ prospects in eliminating corruption. The report further reveals that across the sub-Saharan region, the police are seen to show the highest levels of corruption.
Take for instance the case of a nine-year-old girl from Zimbabwe who was raped by a man infected with HIV. The police arrested the perp, then released him after he paid a bribe.
“We hear stories like this every day,” the report reads. “Corruption can be a major hindrance for development and economic growth, and as it weakens people’s trust in government and the accountability of public institutions.
Ghanaians are ‘eating corruption’
It is why the African Union implemented the Advisory Board of Corruption. On its website, it states that its mission is to “promote and encourage adoption and application of anti-corruption measures on the continent, collect and document information on the nature and scope of corruption and related offenses in Africa and develop methodologies for analyzing the nature and extent of corruption in Africa,” among other core values.
But Batidam says those values are not being upheld – at least not when he served as Chairman of the Board.
“You can imagine that you go to a place like the African Union and expect certain standards,” he theorized. “But what I saw was governance standards that were actually much lower than what [Ghana] is facing.