Corruption in Zambia and Measures to Address It

Topics: Political corruption, Transparency International, Politics Pages: 8 (2570 words) Published: February 1, 2012
One of the major tasks of government is to provide goods and services to the people. There are however many factors that hinder the smooth delivery of goods and services. Corruption is one of the factors. A link has been established between corruption and economic stagnation. Corruption leads to misallocation of resources meant for uplifting of the majority members of the public for the benefit of a few. It is a universal scourge that has been described differently by various schools of thought. It tends to limit citizens access to free goods and services and reduces freedom of political choice in elections. It can also be linked to the escalation of poverty, as the prevalence of corrupt practices socially excludes the poor from freely accessing public goods and services. The government recognises that the increased prevalence of corruption has negative effects on the country’s efforts to enhance socio-economic and political development. There is no universally agreed upon definition of corruption and it varies from one jurisdiction to another. However the general characteristics are similar. The legal definition of corruption in Zambia is provided by the Anti-Corruption Commission Act of Zambia, 1996, which states: “Corrupt means the soliciting, accepting, obtaining, giving, promising or offering of a gratification by way of a bribe or other personal temptation of inducement, or the misuse, or abuse of a public office for private advantage or benefit, and corruptly shall be construed accordingly.” Anti-corruption commission act (1996:5). This essay discusses the nature and extent of corruption in both the public and private sectors in Zambia. It highlights the strategies that the authorities have been using to fight corruption. Nature of corruption

The most common types of corruption in Zambia include petty, administrative or bureaucratic, grand and political corruption. The National Governance Baseline Survey outlines the various forms corruption can take in Zambia, from administrative corruption to obtain permits or basic services to nepotism and procurement mismanagement (2004: 28). These can be evidenced in different forms which include: Payment in Cash; Payments in Kind; Commissions through services indirect to relatives and friends; disadvantaging others or blocking them from their entitlements; Omission of performing certain functions (Muna, 2004: 26).

Petty Corruption according to Kunaka et al (2008: 13-15) is small scale and bureaucratic in nature. It takes place at the implementation end of politics, where the public officials meet the public. It entails bribery in connection with the implementation of existing laws, rules and regulations involving the modest sums of money. It is mainly encountered in day to day life like hospitals, schools, local licensing authorities, police, taxing authorities and so on.

They see grand corruption or high level corruption as that which takes place at the policy formulation end of politics. It is at the top levels of the public sphere, where policies and rules are formulated in the first place. An example of a grand corruption case coming into the public domain is that involving the former republican President, Fredrick Chiluba, and nineteen other public officials. In May 2007, these were found liable of defrauding the Zambian Government of more than US$ 41 million by the London High Court.

Momba (2002, cited in state of corruption Report 2002) defines political corruption as any transaction between private and public sector actors through which collective goods are illegitimately converted into private-regarding payoffs. Political or grand corruption takes place at the high levels of the political system, when politicians and state agents entitled to make and enforce the laws in the name of the people, are using this authority to sustain their power, status and wealth. He highlights the different forms of political corruption pertaining to the 2001...
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