‘Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.‘
It’s a subject that’s rarely out of the headlines, it affects nearly every nation on earth – rich and poor – and it’s (arguably) endemic. What is it? Corruption: the misuse of governmental powers by officials for illegitimate personal gain. No nation is immune from its tantalising grasp.
Berlin-based corruption watchdog, Transparency International, have released their annual Corruption Perceptions Index. It’s basically a global score card to see which nations have been playing fair and square.
New Zealand is top of the class as the world’s least corrupt nation; Somalia, like last year, comes in last. Joining Somalia at near the bottom are Burma, Sudan and Afghanistan; perhaps the latter comes as no surprise given this year’s controversy over the presidential election result.
Today, Hamid Karzai has been inaugurated for a second term as President of Afghanistan. But earlier this week US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, piled on the pressure, saying: “There is now a clear window of opportunity for President Karzai and his government to make a compact with the people of Afghanistan to demonstrate clearly that they’re going to have accountability and tangible results that will improve the lives of the people.” But it’s not only poor and war-torn countries that suffer from corruption.
Earlier this year, the Mother of all Parliaments – Westminster in the UK – was embroiled in an expenses saga that provoked anger and ridicule, as well as several thousand newspaper column inches. It also cost many political careers. The UK’s score on the corruption index has deteriorated in recent years.
But with corruption so prevalent in so many countries in the world, should we just accept that corruption is a way of life? That given the chance to speed things up, slow things down, open or close doors, is it just human nature for people to help things along in whatever way they can?
We want your stories of corruption as well as your opinon.