Constitution too weak to fight corruption

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OUR Constitution has too many defects to fight corruption, says Dag Hammarskjöld Institute for Peace lecturer Dr Njunga Mulikita.

Dr Mulikita said in an interview that UN resident coordinator Janet Rogan was right to say a good constitution is key in the fight against corruption.

“A good constitution is necessary in the fight against corruption but that is just part of the story. We need political commitment to fight corruption and there has to be a supporting culture which does not tolerate corruption. The constitution is hardware of clauses that can help curb corruption but it all calls for political will to be there. So, the UN resident coordinator is absolutely right but we need to do more; culture, attitude and political will should complement the Constitution in the fight against corruption,” he said. “Our current Constitution has certain defects, which make it weak to fight corruption. As you have seen, the director [general] of the Anti Corruption Commission, she had to write to the Head of State [that the commission was investigating the President’s advisor]; that clearly shows that the ACC does not enjoy full autonomy. So that has to be worked on in the new draft constitution that we are about to adopt. I think there is a weakness there.”

Dr Mulikita observed that most African countries were not short of good constitutions but that it was difficult for governments and people to adhere to the provisions of the law.

“There is no shortage of nice constitutions in Africa; there is no shortage of elegantly drafted documents but look at some of these African countries! Rwanda, where the president is changing the basic law to give himself another term; in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the president may wish to change the basic law; is that not corruption? I think it is a form of corruption, because the African Charter on Good Governance and Elections does talk about unconstitutional change or manoeuvres to institutions to prolong incumbency on presidency,” said Dr Mulikita.

“So a good constitution is necessary but that is not the end of the road. More has to be done; a good constitution is a peace building instrument because it outlines how we resolve our conflicts; our political conflicts; how to solve our economic problems and so fourth. A good constitution is necessary, it outlines the laws of the electoral management board, the Anti Corruption Commission, the commission of investigations and all these good institutions.”

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