As we count down to the parliamentary elections later this year, a catalogue of issues will be flaunted around but we believe one issue that has to take centre stage is corruption.
This has also been a subject of wide coverage in the country’s media. Of course we have published numerous stories on corruption, and will continue to do so because this is a scourge that has pervaded our society.
What is even more disturbing about corruption is that it soiled efforts to address the Covid-19 pandemic. While many were getting sick from the virus, others saw an opportunity for self-enrichment.
Let’s take a global perspective to the matter. A report of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development titled “Public integrity for an effective Covid-19 response and recovery” issued in 2020, stated that besides the procurement of goods and services required to directly address the current Covid-19 crisis, governments also have to manage ongoing public contracts.
In her 2015 book, “Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security,” Sarah Chayes, using Afghanistan as a case study, explains the consequence of unchecked corruption. Unchecked corruption is the source of instability, national frustration, and can be the cause for violence or violent protests and people seeking puritanical solutions. Chayes refers to the Afghan government as a vertically integrated criminal network where low-level government officials skim money from the population and the high-level officials loot the money with a guarantee of protection from prosecution.
And, yes, we are not afraid to say it again: the government is organised in a mafia style, with kleptocrats, skimmers, and thieves waiting to fleece resources earmarked for the post-Covid-19 recovery plan.