IT will be prejudicial to comment on the raging High Court trial of education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa because the case is subjudice.
But what is open for debate is the perception of government efforts to fight graft and the recent developments present us a microscope to take stock of the current administration’s efforts to curb corruption since it took office four years ago.
Apart from the current education minister’s High Court trial, there were recent high profile corruption trials including the conviction of Swapo Politburo member, Tobbie Aupindi and pending corruption charges against the top intelligence official, the late Paulus “Bishop” Tshilunga, who allegedly took his life to bring the matter to a premature conclusion.
Although these corruption cases involved the high profile figures, the cases proceeded with unfettered interference from the power echelons and the judiciary prevailed independently.
Contrary to critics that Government has been in acquiescence in the fight against corruption, the non-interference or rather protection of what would be considered as critical political figures, Government has allowed the judicial processes to take their own course.
Government ought to be commended because it is the first time since independence that a senior Minister and member of the Swapo Politburo is taken to court on corruption charges and it would also be the first time that a Swapo Politburo member is convicted of corruption without any shield. It is also the first time since independence that the head of the national intelligence services has been charged and dragged to court on corruption allegations.
But how are these developments going to affect our international rating on the Transparency International Index?
It remains to be seen how the above developments will play out in influencing Namibia’s ranking.
A key ingredient that can make Namibia a top performer is political leadership that is consistently committed to fighting corruption.
A series of measures such as the asset declarations by Cabinet ministers and legal reforms such as the Access to Information bill will not only improve our standing on the Transparency International index but is vital for preventing corruption.
The right of information legislation will enable citizens to access key facts and data from government, which makes it difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities – government can be held accountable.
Corruption is a governance issue and government ministries and state-owned enterprises ought to be administered in a more transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of society.
In order to become the least corrupt country in Africa by 2020 as indicated in the Harambee Prosperity Plan, Namibia need to do more.
Just like Botswana, Seychelles, Cabo Verde, Rwanda Namibia is among the African few African countries that score better than some Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on the index compared to Italy, Greece and Hungary.
Although Namibia remains one of the least corrupt countries in Africa, according to Transparency International, Government must increase its efforts to fight corruption in order to complement its commendable achievements.
Winning the path against corruption is the only sustainable path for Namibia’s transformation.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015