An anticorruption legislative bill will help hold politicians and other people in positions of power, and citizens accountable as well as serves as a deterrence


January 30, 2019

Botswana’s President Mogkweetsi Masisi urged African leaders to create a continental anti-corruption legislative bill to help fight corruption in Africa.

President Masisi, who made the remarks during a panel discussion at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, said that people in positions of power should declare their assets and liabilities every year that they are in that position.

“It is my deep desire, and strongly held view that we should have declaration of assets and liability bill,” President Masisi said. “If we are going to fight corruption, it’s important to have a baseline by which you will judge me as president.” 

The President, who has made fighting corruption one of his administration’s top priorities, stated that an anticorruption legislative bill will help hold politicians and other people in positions of power, and citizens accountable as well as serves as a deterrence.

“This declaration, I hope, we will have every year for politicians and citizens alike and other politicians that have influence,” he said. “There is a simple reason for this declaration, we’re leaders and as leaders, [our citizens] draw inspirations and look up to us. We are role model and if something real bad happens to me because I stole public funds, citizens would be scared to imagine what might happen to them if they do the same.”

“I came into office with a small assets, including one vehicle that works and one that doesn’t work and [if] at the end of my term, all of a sudden I have an apartment in Davos and drive the latest Ferrari and then there’s an issue with corruption, check the difference and factor in the income that I have earned; I will want to be held accountable,” President Masisi said.

Botswana has been know historically for its good governance and anti-corruption efforts. The country’s anti-corruption proclamation is clearly expressed in the public space, public and private sectors, civil society as well as the academia, and takes a top to bottom approach, from the top leaders to the citizens and it began with President Masisi’s predecessors. The government sees its anti-anti-corruption efforts as one of its responsibilities to its citizens.

However, in many countries across Africa, corruption has been more than a nuisance subject, it’s an endemic crisis. The Panama paper that was released in 2018 showed how pervasive the crisis is around the world. Two out of four people in will be forced to pay a bribe.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chairwoman of Transparency International, who was also on the panel with President Masisi said recent public’s awareness about corruption has led to ending impunity and bringing corrupt people to justice.

“We have to create the proper infrastructure to fight corruption and to make the public aware that the victims of corruptions are citizens. We must engage together with governments and private sector and journalist in order to fight this issue,” said Ms. Ferreira Rubio.

She added that, “The difference between countries [in the fight against corruption] is not that there’s something in their DNA that says you will have corruption or not have corruption.”

Ms. Rubio also noted the crisis is perennial and should be addressed immediately when it appears. 

“Corruption may appear in every country, in fact it occurs in every country. The difference is how a country reacts to corruption both from the institutional point of view and social point of view, and how the society reacts to corruption or is it indifference to corruption sandals?” said Ms.Rubio

President Masisi noted that technology can also help countries expedite their anti-corruption efforts, if used prudently to collect financial data and other intelligence. But he cautioned that it may prove to be a big financial challenge for smaller economies to put in place because it will hardly yield returns in the beginning.

However, he underscored that the long-term rewards of fighting corruption are expansive, and includes “stability, government’s capability, development, economic growth, equity, as well as confidence, happiness and satisfaction from citizens.”