The 2016 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index in the region ranks Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe the most improved African countries in the 2016 index after both countries held democratic presidential elections in 2016.
“In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity.”
– José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International
“It is no surprise that the independent electoral observer teams labelled the Cape Verde elections for 2016 as “exemplary”. This election that saw Jorge Carlos Fonseca re-elected, was held in a framework of a continuously improving integrity system, as observed by various African governance reviews,” the report states, adding “In São Tomé and Príncipe elections held in July 2016 led to a smooth change of government, which is increasingly a challenge in the African region.”
However, Ghana is again declined in the corruption ladder, according to the report, and rampant corruption led citizens to voice their frustrations through the election, resulting in an incumbent president losing for the first time in Ghana’s history.
Some other large African countries have failed to improve their scores on the index. These include South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya. South African President Jacob Zuma was in court and in the media for corruption scandals. This included his own appeal against findings in a report by the Public Prosecutor Thuli Madonsela, regarding undue public spending in his private homestead in Nkandla.
Kenya – despite the adoption of a few anti-corruption measures including passing a law on the right to information – has a long way to go. President Uhuru expressed frustration that all his anti-corruption efforts were not yielding much. He may need new strategies as Kenyan citizens go to the polls in 2017.
Right at the bottom of the list is Somalia, whose parliamentary elections were marred by malpractice and corruption, and whose presidential elections were postponed three times last year and are yet to be held.
African leaders that come to office on an “anti-corruption ticket” will need to live up to their pledges to deliver corruption-free services to their citizens. They must implement their commitments to the principles of governance, democracy and human rights. This includes strengthening the institutions that hold their governments accountable, as well as the electoral systems that allow citizens to either re-elect them or freely choose an alternative.
African countries in the 2016 index