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Fight against corruption


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Fight against corruption

  1. 1. FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION: ADVOCACY OF ZERO TOLERANCE Keshav Prasad Bhattarai The Himalayan Times (July 12, 2010)It was quite shocking to reflect on the Transparency International (TI) report releasedon June 11, 2010. As per the anti-corruption index for the year 2009, Nepal has claimedthe 143rd position among 180 countries listed —it was 138th the previous year.TI alsoobserves that political instability, lawlessness, nepotism and lack of accountability havemainly characterized this. Unfortunately, corruption has not only dominated governance atall levels, but also that an anti-corruption agenda has not become a political and socialpriority of Nepal.Corruption, as a great socio -political and economic evil of our society,has been the biggest obstacles to justice, democracy and overall national development.In a2003 Global Poll, conducted by the World Bank covering 48 countries, ranked corruptionthe fourth critical issue of development after economic growth, poverty reduction andeducation.According to an estimate of World Bank Institute (WBI), worldwide bribery totals atleast one trillion dollar per year. This amount is equivalent to approximately 3 percent ofthe gross world product. This is just the volume of the bribes but not the impact, whichultimately goes to a much higher level.One of the pioneers of anti corruption movement at the global level, James D.Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank (1995 -2005 ) observes that corruption divertsresources from the poor to the rich, increases the cost of running business, distortspublic expenditures and deters foreign investors. His immediate successor, PaulWolfowitz, in a similar vein, mentions that corruption is a disease that threatens thehopes of the poor for a better future for themselves and their children. Indubitably,corruption in Nepal, especially at the political level, has cruelly violated the et hos andmores of a democratic system. Buying votes as well as selling favours and opportunitieshas been the standard political practices maintained studiously by almost all politicalparties. Those who gain access to political power also bag the most weal th, whichresultantly, widens the existing level of inequality to an intolerable level. This, inconsequence, has produced frustrations among the youths and the common people breedingsevere instability and even more corruption during such instability. In one of his highlyacclaimed book, “Political Order in Changing Societies”, Samuel P. Huntington hasexplained that societies having high capacity for corruption also have high capacity forviolence. And, violence, as we have experienced in our own context , translates intoterrorism in no time, this or that way.This unquestionably is fairly understood that both corruption and violence serve the samegoal; putting pressures upon the government and system to satisfy their demands in an
  2. 2. illegitimate way. This further weakens the state, its political institutions and energizesviolence and terrorism in return. The mostdetestable thing we have come across these days is that politics has lost its whole set ofessence, ethos and mores. As analyzed by Huntingto n, politics has become the grand roadto wealth- exchanging political action with immense economic wealth. Politics has become amajor industry or business for people in power and again the wealth generated by powerwould bring more power and correspondingly more wealth in a cyclic way. Understandably,investment in no industry or business can give as much wealth in a short time than theinvestment in politics.Corruption thrives when government and political parties are weak and inefficient torepresent people with their interests, confidence and enthusiasm. But, they cannot bestrengthened overnight. According to a World Bank publication „experience and evidenceshow that corruption has both national and international dimension‟. It has strongconnection with each other.Both the national and international community has atremendous job to do in this regard. They may effectively build pressures and encourageany country to ratify international treatise against corruption.The international communities also need to provide financial and technical support to adeveloping country like Nepal build strong political and constitutional bodies to make afight against corruption. They may also support citizens‟ forums working againstcorruption.Parliament, the most important political actor can curb corruption by ensuringaccountability. Parliamentary oversights through anti -corruption agencies andempowerment of civil society and media have a most critical role in this regard to play. Astrong and independent judiciary accounts much in each and every national commitmentagainst corruption. Nothing can grow and be sustainable without strong public support. So,in the case of combating corruption, it is the public who must come to lead the nation.With confidence and strong civic actions, they can raise their voice and build effectiveadvocacy in favor of zero tolerance to corruption at the political level. —