French and German officials in the swamp forests of the Lobaye valley in the Congo region of central Africa. The officials are deciding new Franco-German borders. Image from the public domain

Corruption is a theme that still remains to be a big challenge on the continent.
The 30th Ordinary session of the African Union Summit kicks off on January 22 under the theme “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.
Just to show you how big of a problem this is on the continent that the event which will end on January 29 will be focusing on.But what’s corruption? Transparency International defines the word as “the abuse of power for private gains.”

When specifically viewed with Africa’s history in mind, administrative corruption, though rampant across Africa today is an alien culture. Pre-colonial Africa, for the most part, was founded on strong ethical values sometimes packaged in spiritual terms, but with the end result of ensuring social justice and compliance.

Colonialism introduced systemic corruption on a grand scale across much of sub-Saharan Africa. The repudiation of indigenous values, standards, checks and balances and the pretensions of superimposing western structures destabilized the well-run bureaucratic machinery previously in existence across pre-colonial Africa. The end result is what is rampant across Africa today; conspicuous consumption, absence of loyalty to the state, oppressive and corrupt state institutions, just to mention but a few.

What held African communities together and brought administrative corruption down to the barest minimum was a set of rules and regulations, agreed principles and moral values that guided human interactions.

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