Kenya: Oxfam State of Union report finds African states unwilling to fight corruption

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - African states are unwilling to effectively fight corruption and have been deliberately slow in approving laws to tighten loopholes permitting corruption and poor governance, a coalition of civil society organisations led by British charity Oxfam said in a report Wednesday.

“The problem of our member states is corruption. It keeps people from accessing education, health and human rights,” said Eduardo Mulembwe, First Vice President of the Pan African Parliament, during the launch of Oxfam’s State of the Union report on Africa’s fight against corruption and bad governance.

The report reviewed the implementation of African Union (AU) treaties and protocols between 2013/14, with key interest on laws meant to advance the fight against corruption and human rights abuses.

Oxfam officials said the British international development agency was working with law-makers of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), an organisation created by the AU, whose decisions are currently non-binding, because most countries fear signing the revised AU protocol to give PAP more law-making powers.

“The efforts by the African countries to make laws to stop corruption by making binding laws at the level of PAP is slowed by politics,” said Yves Niyiragira, chair of the Civil Society Coalition engaged in the preparation of the State of the Union (SOTU) report on Africa’s governance.

He said the member states were taking too much time in passing laws and signing of the AU protocols for fear of being held to higher standards of accountability.

Citing the failure to implement the AU Charter on Democracy and Good Governance, the activist said states feared giving powers to their citizens who would hold them accountable to the commitments.

The report studied the status of governance and the fight against corruption in 10 African countries—Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Malawi and Tunisia. It concluded the systems put in place to ensure the implementation of the AU treaties and instruments were proper.

However, more effort was still required to ensure the states complied.

Niyiragira said more robust anti-corruption laws were still required in Africa to make foreign multinationals responsible for the stealing of Africa’s mineral wealth to be punished.

“The launch of this report is an important milestone because we can now demand that the states, which were part of the AU processes to revise the PAP protocol, take steps to ratify it and allow the Parliament to legislate on binding legal commitments so we can also create a strong anti-corruption institution,” he remarked.

Addressing participants during the launch of the report, Mulembwe, a Mozambican politician, said laws allowing African women to access and acquire land were required at the continental level.

“By speaking about the need to fight corruption, we accelerate the progress in fighting it. Land is a real problem for which we must also start to find a solution,” Mulembwe added.

He said the instruments to fight corruption remained weak and inadequate in most states.

-0- PANA AO/AR 28Oct2015

28 october 2015 18:47:02

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