The Depth of the African Corruption — A Gorilla of a Problem

You can’t fight it.

It’s bigger, bolder and even better.

And its depth is infinitely unfathomable.

The Depth of the African Corruption — A Gorilla of a Problem

Throughout my childhood and teenage life, I was an unfortunate victim of the deluded perception that corruption is a problem. In school, we were taught that corruption is a dishonest act of leaders or those in power that involves bribery and stealing of public funds. (That’s school, and those are my teachers’ words; not mine). Typically, a financial misconduct of the leaders. And that’s how I grew up knowing it; a bribery committed by leaders and the police. As kids, that’s right as we are more susceptible to all the crap and folly stories the grown ups fed us. At 23, I’ve come to learn that most adults lack a vivid grasp of the term “corruption.” They still believe in what schools say.

In school, we were taught that corruption is a dishonest act of leaders or those in power that involves bribery and stealing of public funds.

Over the past six years or (since I knew corruption), I’ve given ears to all the crap and junk that people say. I’ve listened to the news and spotted every single inaccuracies and delusion. Then I drew my conclusion: It’s all STUPID. Just like life, corruption has no proper and upfront definition. It can’t be captured neither can it be conceptualized in a single statement or pages of copies. I have paid the police twice to avoid arrest, and it worked (I did so to save time and avoid going into custody in the stinking police stations). They say that’s corruption. If that’s true, then the whole African system is corrupt; the whole system is set in stinking trenches and sewers of corruption. Because Africa can’t survive in the absence of corruption. Corruption is everywhere, and it’s snowballing exponentially. It’s the goddamn operating system. The fuel that keeps the African engine running and the water that quenches our thirst. I would want to imagine that any positive and progressive efforts to uproot corruption from Africa could put the whole system in jeopardy. So, what is publicly perceived as a problem, isn't a problem. It is the primary vein in the African system.

In school, we were taught that corruption is a dishonest act of leaders or those in power that involves bribery and stealing of public funds.

In Africa, “corruption” is constantly referred to as “corruption” when the accused are the leaders, port authority officers, tax officials and the police. While these groups are the key players, they are siphoning their life from the grassroots players and the people themselves. And this is what’s keeping the filthy system thriving. Taking Kenya as an example, you will need to pay to get expedited approval for any kind of license; for proper services, dig deeper into your pocket boy; to get your kid into certain schools, empty hands don’t work, and to get a fair trial, shake the judge’s hand under the table. To insiders, these are not problems but survival techniques that are necessary to ease day-to-day hardships and to eliminate time eaters. For example, let's take a motorcycle rider in Kenya who has broken a traffic rule. In most cases, the police will ask for a bribe ranging from Ksh 2,000 to Ksh 5,000 (about $20 to $50) depending on the severity of the charge. The rider will have to pay or else risk being charged Ksh 20,000/=($200), spending days behind bars and indicted on a traffic charge, which could lead to 3 or more months in prison. That’s the decision of the rider. One decision changes an entire life’s pattern. And corruption is the only viable option; the savior.

In school, we were taught that corruption is a dishonest act of leaders or those in power that involves bribery and stealing of public funds.

You Can’t Win a War Against Corruption

Keep in mind that corruption is an indispensable attribute in the basis for many African institutions. At least…just at least…it helps to maintain sanity in Africa. Try to image a society without corruption. It would be quite unbearable and inhabitable from all angles. I’ve seen many people complain about the consistent growth of corruption. I’ve have seen them furiously curse their leaders. I’ve heard them prattle, claiming that only voting out the corrupt leaders could help inhibit corruption. While I share their pain, I feel sorry for them. May be, just may be, their survival hinges on the existence and proliferation of corruption. So, are there any virtuous leaders that the people can trust to oversee the management and distribution of national resources? I haven’t seen any, and if there is any, then they are waiting for the most appropriate time to strike. Or, if they are righteous, there isn’t much that they can do to help. Corruption is just naturally there, and there is no best way to explain it. If given the chance to manage huge figures of money, you will feel it in you; an intense hunger gripping you from within, like a hungry vampire. You just can’t keep your fangs in. It’s just firmly impossible! Any war waged against Corruption has and will always fail. It’s happening every minute. Somewhere. There. It’s happening! And there is nothing you can do about it.

In school, we were taught that corruption is a dishonest act of leaders or those in power that involves bribery and stealing of public funds.

The Law Dreads Corruption

One most essential thing to undoubtedly acknowledge is that the law will never contain corruption. Corruption is beyond its reach, or it can as well be untouchable, or above the law. To the African law, corruption is like a bully, which aggressively intimidates the law forcing it to wet its pants. It lacks the means and capacity to startle it even a bit. We have witnessed numerous implementations of policies that are intended to curb corruption but have never been successful. Many corrupt leaders have been publicly exposed, but the law has always failed to be swift enough to render severe retribution, which can be a warning message to all. Additionally, many cases will forever remain unsolved mysteries while others are mere bluffs for the public to feed on. Corruption has created its jurisdiction at the heart of the African system with heavy, concrete walls encompassing it, and at its main gateway stands a warning post with the “THE LAW IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED TO TRESPASS” notice. So, what remains as the core duty of the leaders who the faithful subjects look up to for law enforcement is to feed the people with bluffs; from breakfast to dinner.

Don’t Complain; You Look Stupid!

The best response to corruption is to turn your back to it. As a commoner or a citizen, it’s not your money they are stealing. And please don’t say it’s “OUR” money. Corrupt leaders are the result of your “democratic right” (“voting”). In fact, corruption is one of the soul benefits of being a political leader. You can get money how you want and when you want. So, when the “public funds” get stolen or misappropriated, ranting on social media, rioting on the streets and cursing out emphatically won’t help even an inch. That’s just a passing storm; a wave that is always swallowed by the ocean. Live your life. I know they will tell you that you can change the world. That you can change your country. That you can bring the perpetrators to justice, which itself is a mystery. That you can put an end to corruption. Well, corruption is like a combination of all cancers. And it becomes even more lethal when HIV/AIDS joins. You are only a passing traveler, and Earth’s problems leave them to Earth; at least time promises to wear them off. Try to mind your own life. Corruption has never brought harm or suffering to anyone. Maybe your bitterness and frustration are as a result of not being them; your money-sucking leaders. The political shapeshifters.

Well, corruption is like a combination of all cancers. And it becomes even more lethal when HIV/AIDS joins.

I can’t distinctively define or identify corruption. Is it a thing, a person, crime, an infectious disease or an atrocity? To some it all up, corruption is an English term with no African definition. I bet you don’t know its meaning. Because I don’t. Do you?

In school, we were taught that corruption is a dishonest act of leaders or those in power that involves bribery and stealing of public funds.

So, what is corruption? Maybe we can start from there.

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