The ongoing war against corruption is yet to bear significant dividends if a graft report index released yesterday is anything to go by.
According to the 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by Transparency International, Kenya has been ranked position 137 out of 180 countries and territories assessed.
It scored 28 out of 100, moving up by one point, from 27 points the country scored in 2018, where it was ranked at position 144 out of 180 in the CPI.
The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people. It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
But for last year, Kenya shares the number 137 with 28 points slot with its neighbour Uganda and other African countries of Papua New Guinea, Mauritania and Liberia. In this group also are Russia, Lebanon, and the Dominican Republic.
With a score of 66, Seychelles earns the highest mark in sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Botswana (61), Cape Verde (58), Rwanda (53) and Mauritius (52).
At the bottom of the index are Somalia (9), South Sudan (12), Sudan (16) and Equatorial Guinea (16). As the lowest-scoring region on the CPI, with an average of 32, Sub-Saharan Africa’s performance paints a bleak picture of inaction against corruption.
According to the report, countries that significantly improved since 2012 - Cote d’Ivoire (35) and Senegal (45) - still have much work to do.
Since 2012, several countries such as Congo (19), Liberia (28), Madagascar (24) and Malawi (31) have significantly declined on the CPI. The report shows Congo has been the subject of repeated reports of money laundering and embezzlement of public funds by the country’s political elite with no action taken by authorities.
The report shows money is used to win elections, consolidate power and further personal interests. Although the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption has provisions to prevent corruption and encourage transparency in campaign financing, implementation is weak.
Last year’s CPI shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
The report shows more than two-thirds of countries scored below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43.
Similar to previous years, the data shows that despite some progress, a majority of countries are still failing to tackle public sector corruption effectively.
The report shows top countries are New Zealand and Denmark, with scores of 87 each, followed by Finland (86), Singapore (85), Sweden (85) and Switzerland (85).
“Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.
The bottom countries globally are Somalia, South Sudan and Syria with scores of 9, 12 and 13, respectively. They countries are closely followed by Yemen (15), Venezuela (16), Sudan (16), Equatorial Guinea (16) and Afghanistan (16).
In the last eight years, according to the report, only 22 countries such as Greece, Guyana, and Estonia significantly improved their CPI scores. In the same period, 21 countries significantly decreased their scores. Canada, Australia, and Nicaragua are in this group.
The report shows in the remaining 137 countries, the levels of corruption show little to no change. The most improved countries are Greece, Guyana with 12 points each and Estonia with 10 points.
The CPI 2019 reveals a staggering number of countries are showing little to no improvement in tackling corruption. The analysis also suggests that reducing big money in politics and promoting inclusive political decision-making are essential to curb corruption.
It shows in the last year, anti-corruption movements across the globe gained momentum as millions of people joined together to speak out against corruption in their governments.
Protests from Latin America, North Africa, and Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Central Asia made headlines as citizens marched in Santiago, Prague, Beirut, and a host of other cities to voice their frustrations in the streets.
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