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[Blog] Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

A landmark report was made public in South Africa last week. Mr. Raymond Zondo was appointed in2018 to lead an inquiry into allegations of systemic corruption under former President Jacob Zuma’s rule.

The Report found Zuma guilty inter alia of :
a.  a series of graft scandals involving millions of rands;
b. blatant abuse of authority;
c. utter disregard for the national interest and the fundamentals of good governance, and
D.sullying the reputation of South Africa.

The Report also accused the notorious business leaders and Zuma’s main financial backers, the Gupta brothers, of being the beneficiaries of Zuma’s efforts to fire competent officials, intervene in management decisions, appoint compliant Ministers and influence the award of contracts worth billions.

It is no surprise that the Zondo Commission found that “Ministers and other officials knew of the alleged efforts to steal vast sums from the state power utility ESKOM”. More or less the same remarks were made in the case of the closing down of the South African Airways. The absolute power in the hands of Zuma led to absolute corruption.

How could such a terrifying situation happen without prompt action from the ruling political party, the ANC, and the government? In assessing their role, the Zondo Commission pilloried them in the following terms:

“Were they aware of everything, but lacked the courage to stop Zuma and his friends, the Gupta brothers, in what they were doing? Were they looking the other way? The ANC and the ANC government should be ashamed that this happened under their watch.”
Are there similarities with what is happening in our country? Democracy Watch has highlighted some the findings of the Zondo Commission with the hope that the government of the day, the ruling party and the officials concerned realize that they can be made accountable for corrupt practices, gross mismanagement and bad governance (as pointed out in numerous reports of the Director o f Audit and Public Accounts Committee), even after the end of their term of office.The age of impunity is over.

In view of the gravity of the present situation, Democracy Watch appeals to all Mauritians to take a keen and sustained interest in governance issues at all levels, both in the private sector and the public one, and not to look the other way. More than ever, we need to be vigilant and act together as responsible citizens.

Democracy Watch Mauritius
Bulletin du 10 Mai 2022

 

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