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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Laws are not enough!

Col Panji on tackling corruption:
“I hope our leaders held their heads in shame [when Clinton visited]. That message was for them. That message from Hilary, I am sure, was for them. Corruption is an issue in this country. I want to see the coming government putting in place laws that deter corruption...The sentences we give to those who are corrupt are not too serious. They can serve three years and come back and continue to loot what they stole. We should have, let’s say 20 years in jail without parole.”
The Colonel means well but he is starting from the wrong point. The problem is not that we don't have strong laws, but simply that people are not prosecuted and successfully convicted. A new government would need to solve the "prosecution" problem before it looks to tougher laws. The current approach to sentencing and prosecution of corruption is costly to the tax payer. It is long and by the time cases are done people serve short sentences. For justice to work, it is critical that people are not just punished but are seen to be punished.

We need a new judicial process for convicting corrupt criminals, that is swift and definite (I have previously suggested "special corruption courts" - and PF have hinted at this). No point of having long prison sentences, if you cannot actually convict people efficiently and at minimal cost to the tax payer. In fact I would say that a corruption fight without an efficient court system has little deterrent effect on corruption - and is therefore a pure social cost. While we are sorting out the courts, we should also examine whether the burden of proof in cases involving corruption ought to be reduced.


  1. I.P.A. Manning (chosanganga)29 June 2011 at 06:50

    Take a leaf out of our traditional justice system which seeks equitable agreements and justice as a necessity for group survival: this will require a transgressor of the common way to pay back stolen money, and to serve the common group good for very little - named and shamed by common agreement. The musungu law is unhelpful and our jails cannot stand anymore inhumanity. Let us have an alternative way, one that is already there but lying dormant.

  2. IPA,

    I take your valid point about jails being full!

    But I am less clear on your suggested alternative. Are you hinting at more restitution with people paying back the money?

    We certainly don't want to do what one chief did last year - waterboarding the perpetrators! Or may be we do! Lol!

  3. the starting point is that our judicial system have to be independent of the executive. its funding and human resource should not depend on state house. appoitment should not be directly be done by one man, the president. he should not not have the power to dismiss or promote judicial staff.


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