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Wednesday, 26 September 2007

How corrupt is your country?

According to the opinion of those that matter, Zambia is very corrupt and appears to have made little progress in the fight against corruption. Transparency International have published the 2007 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The CPI score indicates the degree of public sector corruption as perceived by business people and country analysts, and ranges between 10 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt). Like in previous years (actually since LPM took over in 2001) Zambia's score has remained at 2.6. To put this in perspective - this means that currently Zambia is perceived to be more corrupt than say the West African state of Ghana (3.7) or our neighbours Tanzania (3.2).

Update 1: if you are not depressed by the CPI score, you can also check out the latest
Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Zambia is ranked 19th in Africa. I do think the Ibrahim Index needs further tweaking though - it has some odd scores in there e.g. Zimbabwe's high score on safety and security. My thanks to Gershom for bringing this to our attention.

Update 2: The Government's response through the Chief Government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti as reported in
The Times:

CHIEF Government spokesperson, Mike Mulongoti, has castigated Transparency International-Zambia (TIZ) for failing to acknowledge the progress Zambia has made in the fight against corruption under the leadership of President Mwanawasa. Mr Mulongoti, who is Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said it was sad that organisations like TIZ had forgotten why they were established.

He said TIZ had instead become addicted to criticising Government programmes. Mr Mulongoti was speaking to journalists in Lusaka yesterday. He said although the Government had made several efforts to reduce corruption, all the positive achievements had been ignored by TIZ. The minister said progress achieved should be appreciated by all Zambians and appealed to people with questions to get clarifications from the Government instead of rushing to the media.

He wondered why TIZ would fail to acknowledge the achievements Zambia had made and yet its sister organisation in South Africa recently commended Zambia on its efforts to fight corruption. "It seems our colleagues have forgotten their objectives and have chosen to go politicking because they seem to be addicted to criticising Government programmes," he said.

Update 3: The Times Editorial unsuprisingly towing the Government line:

THE current Government has done a lot in the fight against corruption in Zambia. Whereas for many years the fight against corruption only got lip service, the situation is different now. Institutions to fight corruption are actually working and corruption convictions have been recorded.....

......It is clear even from a biased observer that corruption in Zambia has relentlessly been fought against and has actually taken quite a knock. It is surprising therefore that after all such efforts, it should be impugned that the Government has not done enough to fight corruption. One of the most doubtful aspects about the assessment of corruption levels in Zambia is that both the criteria and methodology used are not widely known to the public.

This is crucial since in any engagement that involves two parties, the rules of that engagement must be clearly articulated to both parties. Independent observers and evaluators should, for instance, be in a position to gauge weather the methodology is suited to what is being assessed or whether the criteria is appropriate.

There are also questions about the form of assessment itself. Given the nature of the parameters, there should be a mechanism to measure, in some way, the level of actual achievements in the fight against corruption instead of mere ranking of culpability as is the situation now. The fact that corruption indicators are either dismissed as irrelevant or contested in many countries could point to the fact that the whole manner of doing things is not above board.

At the end of the day the whole undertaking is in actual fact a perception index. Clearly then, it lacks empiricism and can therefore not be taken as the universal yardstick. The bottom line is that corruption is an evil that all right thinking men and women fight in truth. The fight should not be complicated by those standing outside and contributing no effort lest they discourage those genuinely committed to the fight.


  1. Zambia: two pot country, one plunder pot, one empty pot; how to feed one into the other.

  2. When I heard George Bush condemning Zimbabwe at the United Nations, I could not help but think back to the time he promised debt forgiveness to countries in Africa.

    Instead of debt forgiveness, the money ended up with his campaign contributors, specifically, the Vulture Fund described in Greg Palast's report.

    I can't help but wondering whether LonZim (LonRho) have promised to the Republican Party's campaign funds.

    Quid pro quo?

    Bush helps LonRho get it's hands on Zimbabwean state assets, and they donate some of the money to the Republican Party?


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