Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Connection Between Corruption and the Riots in the UK

Taken from Femke Van Zeijl

Today, journalist Femke Van Zeijl (see also 'Burkina Faso Staggering?') wrote a very interesting column about the connection between Political Corruption and the current riots in London.

Although the analysis is simple, it tends to be forgotten very often:

[...] the devastating effect of political corruption on the sense of justice of civilians, [...] most perceptible in the least privileged parts of society, where experienced powerlessness towards the political and judicial system is most widely spread. It is a development that demolishes society at its roots, a development I saw from up close in many an African country and to which Europe will prove to be equally vulnerable.
    - by Femke van Zeijl

As I have been living in Ghana for several years, I have of course had my fair share of contact with corruption as well. It is 'bonne conduite' to just ignore it. In the beginning though, I openly opposed it, resulting even in going to court for a minor disagreement as I purely refused to bribe the police officer that made me step of my motor bike. The court fine had cost me more than my monthly living allowance (and a lot of travelling back and forth), so since then I don't even oppose anymore.

Still, corruption is the root of all that is evil and it makes it impossible to impose law in any other way then by pure force and 'cracking down'. A savage behaviour and it makes your stomach turn and blood boil if you have ever been confronted with it.

The idea to eradicate corruption from society, I am perfectly in favour, is definitely easier said than done if the corruption has been drenched through all layers of society. Ghana has two 'corruption watch dogs', so called independent organisations, but they are government funded. Nowhere else does the unwritten law of 'thou shalt not bite the hand that feeds thee' apply more.

As long as you are convinced (or even have experienced at first hand) that those in power are corrupt, why would you behave as a good citizen? It creates a state of hypocrisy and anarchist, selfish intentions.

By the way, according the 2010 index of corruption perceptions, Ghana scores better with its 4.1 than Italy (3.9) or Greece (3.5).

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