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Friday, 20 March 2009


Corruption is increasingly blatant and growing in both scope and frequency, even among wealthy democracies of the industrialized world. Will this come to an end?


he governor of a Midwestern state was impeached for allegedly soliciting bribes in exchange for a seat in the Senate.

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The mayor of a city in the American South was charged with giving away millions of dollars in bond work for $230,000 as part of his former job as a county commissioner.

  • Corruption in Africa exists because of banking secrecy laws in Europe that makes it possible for corrupt officials to steal and hide looted monies.
  • Swiss Banks are the most culprit in this and the world must do more if we want to fight poverty in developing countries.

And a wide-ranging investigation in a county government resulted in at least two public officials being investigated for possibly accepting gifts in exchange for county jobs and contracts.

One might think that during such challenging times as the on-going War on Terror and the current financial crisis, society in general, including lawmakers, would be able to exercise integrity in their personal and political responsibilities.

The media focuses on the tantalizing details of each scandal, with little analysis of the social implications. But the public response is borderline non-existent. It is almost as if society has become jaded, accepting corruption as commonplace. Should it be?

Also telling are the often unapologetic and defiant attitudes of those accused. No doubt, they could be innocent. However, many do not show a willingness to cooperate or even a touch of humility.

Down Through History

The lust for power and money has existed since the beginning of mankind. Not long after the first groups of families formed villages, corruption among leaders, or “politicians,” was evident.

Lust is a basic expression of human nature. Man often slides toward the easy way to accomplish a goal. King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:1216:25).

History is rife with examples of corruption. One of the first is found in the Bible. Referring to the time of Noah, just before the flood, Genesis 6:11 states, “The earth also was corrupt [in decay, ruined, destroyed] before God.”

The corruption was so great that in verse 5 it says, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Much of history connects corruption with the decline of a civilization. For example, the Encyclopaedia Britannicastates that during the 16th century, a split in priority and loyalty among various classes in the Ottoman empire led to “corruption and nepotism…at all levels of administration” and that “accession and appointments to positions came less as the result of ability than as a consequence of the political maneuverings…”

In an effort to maintain their power, politicians of the time relied on acts of convenience as opposed to traditions and principles. The result was “a growing paralysis of administration throughout the empire, increasing anarchy and misrule, and the fracture of society into discrete and increasingly hostile communities” (ibid.).

Corruption is also associated with alliances and war. One example is the U.S. relationship with Thailand following World War II. During the 1950s, the U.S. poured huge amounts of economic and military aid into Thailand as part of their strategy to contain communism.

Economically, this meant steady growth for Thailand until the 1990s. Socially and politically, however, the control and allocation of the aid led to significant corruption. Monarchs were assassinated, military rulers allied with police to suppress political opposition, and army chiefs sat on boards of numerous corporations—all while being responsible for distributing U.S. aid.

Tensions led to a coup in 1957, and the eventual return of the monarch years later. Increased U.S. aid during the Vietnam War stimulated continued economic development, “contributing substantially to the growth of corruption and a rising gap in the standard of living between rich and poor” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Public disaffection toward the war and the U.S.-influenced monarch grew, eventually resulting in outright insurgency and a revolution in 1973.

Political Dishonesty

Collectively, Western fingers often point to various countries in Asia or Africa as models of rampant corruption. But U.S. leaders are also often caught lying, bribing and mishandling public funds.

Following Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s arrest, John Caniglia of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer wrote that political dishonesty is part of a national trend, referring also to cases involving the mayor of Birmingham, Ala., a Cleveland, Ohio city councilman and a Massachusetts State Senator.

“‘It has become so pervasive in our society,’ said Catherine Turcer of Ohio Citizen Action, a public watchdog group. ‘It almost begs a question: Is it so much worse or are so many more people getting caught? The more we hear about it, the less we trust government.’”

The article goes on to state that there are dozens of corruption cases sprouting up across the country this year, “damaging public confidence, hindering government and distracting people from bigger, more pressing issues.”

In The Wall Street Journal, L. Brent Bozell III suggested that several of the country’s main media outlets were treating the Illinois governor case with undue obscurity in an attempt to protect the Democratic Party, and the image of the newly elected president.

Also tied to political corruption is the issue of fundraising. In a piece, Paul Jacob said society overlooks the central issue. “It’s not that Illinois is especially corrupt. It’s that power tends to corrupt and every governor faces temptation. Many succumb.”

Mr. Jacob stated that many, if not most, push the envelope as far as they can in regard to “legal fundraising.”

“Americans outside Illinois have no reason to gloat. The fact that their governors haven’t been arrested does not mean their governors are not also dirty. Just, perhaps, more clever.”

The situation is similar in other Western countries. Canada, for example, currently has a Conservative Prime Minister, in part due to the once-dominant Liberal Party’s involvement in an elaborate “sponsorship” (i.e., vote-buying) scandal. Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s report in 2004 stated that, “$100 million was paid to a variety of communications agencies…and said the program was basically designed to generate commissions for these companies rather than to produce any benefit for Canadians” (CBC). In the end, the Prime Minister fired the heads of three Crown corporations (state-controlled companies), several executives were found guilty of fraud, and the ruling Liberals were forced out of government.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was also the subject of several corruption scandals, which forced his resignation. The two major cases involve suspicions that he took bribes from a New York financier and another in which political funds and expenses were mishandled regarding personal travel during his time as Trade Minister and Mayor of Jerusalem.

Why Corruption?

One might think that mankind should have gotten it right by now—so why, then, the continued corruption?

We are nearing the end of 6,000 years of mankind trying to live life its own way, as opposed to God’s way. Educational, judicial and governmental systems are all under the influence of Satan, who bombards mankind with attitudes of vanity, lust and greed.

Notice Isaiah 59, describing the worldwide corruption that exists today: “None calls for justice, nor any pleads for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief [evil], and bring forth iniquity…there is no judgment [justice] in their goings: they have made them crooked paths…Therefore is judgment far from us, neither does justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness…And judgment [justice] is turned away backward, and justice [righteousness] stands afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yes, truth fails; and he that departs from evil makes himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no judgment [justice] (vs. 48-914-15).”

One reason why society “accepts” corrupt politicians is that they are not that much different themselves. They see corruption in their own lives, and as such cannot, like the men who brought an adulteress to Jesus in John 8:1-11, cast any stones.

Forgotten Laws

Many Western nations were founded on principles derived from the Bible. However, their citizens have long forgotten them, and now wallow in the mire as what remains of the blessings that God once promised to Abraham disappear.

As the age grows more bleak, society, including politicians, will become more desperate and degenerate. Corruption will become increasingly unchecked.

In his booklet Are These the Last Days?, David C. Pack wrote, “Consider [Paul’s] prophecy of the widespread degeneration of attitudes and character, just prior to Christ’s Second Coming. He wrote, ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ (II Tim. 3:1-6).“This is a powerful prophecy describing the complete breakdown of character in ‘the last days.’ This time has come!—and these widespread conditions grow worse daily! Look around. People’s conduct is rapidly changing—seemingly always for the worse. More educators and others in authority are sounding the alarm that conditions have exploded out of control!

“Who can doubt this trend?”

No one.But the good news is that a time is soon coming when a single government will replace all the governments of this world. Ruled by Jesus Christ (Isa. 9:6-7), it will be completely free of corruption. Read our book Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View! to learn more.

Research: Key to Africa’s Sustainable Development

Sustainable development is very important to ensure better livelihood and food security, especially in Africa. Africa is faced with numerous externally driven policies that hinder development. Unless a pragmatic and principled leadership that is guided by research based decisions exists at all levels, sustainable development will not be achieved.

In the 17th Century, the colonisation of Africa meant adoption of new cultural trends,introduction of new political and religious systems and disregard of African culture. Unfortunately, there was no prior research to inform these decisions.Consequently, African culture has been adulterated, if not completely lost in favour of newly introduced ways of life. Political management in parts of Africa was based on longtime experience in conflict resolution. For example, Uganda had a number of kingdoms based on ethnicity and defined territorial boundaries. These kingdoms included Buganda, Bunyoro, Ankore, and Busoga to mention a few. The nature and dynamics of such political structures were not well studied prior to making decision on the suitable future political system for African states. A copy and paste approach to structural adjustment led to intermittent intra-state and tribal wars for immigration rights, border integrity and  natural resources.

It is not only politics that was affected negatively, but also technological advancement. While the West and now the East have their own original technologies, Africa remains torn between the two. Each development project comes with its own externally advocated technologies often based on development objectives at the source. Hence, over 90% of the technology used in Africa leads to indebtedness. Sources of borrowed technologies have a solid base founded on long time research agenda.

It is with this background that cross-culture and participatory research is very important for generating informed decisions for steering Africa to development.

Research in development management

Research informs management and offers packages appropriate for sustainable development. According to the International Foundation for Science (IFS, 1993), research has been a top down process with the top being the source of research funding-hence setting the  research agenda. A 1987  IFS report also reveals that African researchers simply regard research as a source of contacts with researchers abroad, a means of publishing in international journals and a source of revenue for the host institution.t  With the above mentality, research in Africa has neither been appropriate nor a source of informed management decisions.

Participatory and demand driven research yields desired output.Through involvement of all stakeholders, real problems are understood and appropriate corrective measures designed. If applied across the board, this approach would bring into force developmental leadership.

If Africa is to develop sustainably, she must have her own set development agenda based on real African community needs. Through cross-culture, multidisciplinary and participatory research, appropriate solutions would be found. It is these original findings that would form a base for decision making, which would pivot Africa to development.

Research generated development options ought to achieve planned objectives, but must also be legal, acceptable and in line with overall development goals. Development objectives known to date have foreign origin. Take the case of the millennium development goals (MDG) and structural adjustment programmes. For these to be meaningful to the African people, their relevance should have been investigated before adoption. Now that they are already in force, they  must be given an African perspective. Where necessary, Africans must refocus international agenda to the needs of the African people.

Africans central to development

Countries that have ably achieved development focused on their cultural diversity and values. African people do need to appreciate their own, self and with high esteem. Development starts with self discovery, appreciation, and subsequently development. African may have to take lessons from recently transformed economies such as China, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. Here change was ably managed. This was possible because they adopted their own home policy, development goals, and methods, organizational structures, using their own people and based on their cultures. The African people should be at centre of African development.


To achieve sustainable development, African people must re-focus their development objectives along their cultural background and aspirations. African leaders and development managers must be pragmatic and principled to effect that change. Therefore, there is need for research to evaluate and analyse the status quo as well as internationally floating development objectives against the urgent needs of the African continent. It is along these research outputs that management of African development strategies should be based. Until this is effectively done, Africa will remain underdeveloped, indebted and a market for developed economies.

By Dr. Ssekyewa Charles 
Director of Research, Uganda Martyrs University

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