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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Letters: Corruption and us

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Dear editor,

At some point, the weight of corruption will weigh down any nation that unabashedly and vehemently feeds it and gives it a Nelsonian Eye. This is even more so, when the institutions that are supposed to fight corruption are controlled by the corrupt themselves, or when such institutions are comatose or nonexistent. You cannot wholeheartedly embrace greed from a few and expect the majority to prosper. You cannot embrace thieves and claim to be against thievery. There is a reason the saying “show me your friends and I will tell you who you are” rings so true in many instances.

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For a corruption-embracing country to progress, it may have to implode under the weight of the corruption in order to get a fresh start. And while the fresh start does not guarantee progress, it will guarantee destruction. We can continue to pretend that we abhor corruption by saying all the right things while our actions say otherwise, but in the end, we will only be fooling ourselves. Anyone that shelves accountability for political expediency is not serious about nation-building or fighting corruption. And here is some grim news:

What we have today, this political system, in and of itself, the political system in place, as it is currently constituted, will never change on its own so long as we continue to embrace corruption and the corrupt. The system is a cesspool that is incapable of producing the effective leader that the people deserve.

Jared Diamond, in his book Collapsed: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, pointed at five factors that cause the collapse of societies:

o          Non-sustainable exploitation of resources

o          Climate changes

o          Diminishing support from friendly societies

o          Hostile neighbors

o          Inappropriate attitudes for change

While Diamond did not list corruption in the list above, it’s easy to see how corruption can play a role in all these factors. And the last factor, the “inappropriate attitudes for change” will remain highest in a society where corruption gets you to the top. For Gambia to significantly reduce corruption, the foundations that this corrupt system is built on must be dismantled. The accepted system in place, this top-down approach, this system where those with power are the furthest away from power, this system where one can claim to be serving the people and yet live better than those people, must be dismantled for the people to benefit. It starts by being serious about change. By being serious about corruption and not paying it lip service. And I am not only talking about government. I am talking about all political entities and parties.

 Alagie Saidy-Barrow

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