Thursday, 17 February 2011


At the moment in one of my modules we've been looking at the issue of corruption in Africa, with a specific focus on Kenya.

It has been shocking to see the amount of corruption in Kenya, it seems to be inherent in the culture and society.

Transparency International, an organisation that inquires into issues around corruption in states, ranked Kenya 154 with Somalia (the most corrupt) at 178 and Denmark (the least corrupt) at 1 in its 2010 Corruption Perception Index. 

This result shows the high level to which corruption is present in Kenya. 

There have been several 'big' scandals in Kenya in the recent years, and the violence around the 2008 elections seemed to have stemmed from issues surrounding corruption - specifically the corruption of the leaders. 

One thing that has been on my mind though is who is to blame for this?

Is it the fault of the people of Africa? 
Is it a 'natural' thing? 
I don't think so. 

After doing some reading on the topic, I am inclined to think that we, the West, are to blame. 

During the Colonial years (which were shockingly not that long ago!) we ruled African countries in a form that was bound to lead to corruption. In order to increase control over the countries we gave increased power to specific individuals, and financed them in a manner to do what we willed. 

This, in my opinion, increased a culture of bribery and elitism. 

When we abandoned the colonial countries, due to a lack of finance, we left them with a changed society that wasn't natural to their culture and wasn't complete - with institutions not built up properly, unable to withstand the years. We didn't leave the colonized countries in a position to continue the way we wanted them to; we changed the society, and abandoned it.

We shouldn't have colonized Africa in the first place, but if we were going to, we should have done so properly.

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