Anti-corruption strategy

Muna Al-Fuzai

The issue of corruption is not a new story or a solo incident of someone who uses his authority to seize state lands or public funds. In a press conference held by Kuwait Transparency Society announcing the results of the global Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 issued by Transparency International, it showed Kuwait ranked 78th in the world, 8th in the Arab world and fifth in the Gulf region on the index. 

Of course, corruption is an offense to the country and people, and devastating if not combatted. I heard on the radio about an anti-corruption strategy launched by the Kuwaiti government. The strategy is for a period of five years from 2019 to 2024 and is based on four main axes and objectives, including 13 priorities distributed over 47 initiatives for achieving better rates in sustainable development indicators and combatting corruption.

I think the plan is a step in the right direction, but I wonder how this strategy will be implemented and who is the party that will arrest these corrupt people or agencies, regardless of their social status and positions and insist on bringing them to justice without interventions and wasta? What will be the role of the media on this issue, especially social media? I guess people may rush to voice opinions through social media either to support or reject the measures. 

The chairman of the Kuwait Transparency Society said that the reasons for Kuwait’s progress in the Corruption Perceptions Index are many, such as the conflict of interest law and the Cabinet decision to form a committee of 16 bodies to review the indicators and prepare the necessary measures to amend the country’s ranking in the global Corruption Perceptions Index.

The comparative analysis of data on democracy in the world reveals a correlation between corruption and the level of democracy, as the index showed the weakest rate for authoritarian regimes, which registered only around 30 points in the Corruption Perceptions Index.

The Corruption Perceptions Index is related to the extent of corruption in the public sector, specifically corruption by officials, public servants and politicians. But some aspects are not measured by the index, like perceptions of citizens or their experiences with corruption.

I believe that people’s views on the subject of corruption are essential. It is natural that every country in the world wants to be the first in the fight against corruption, so it is necessary to place specific measurements to take into account the experiences of the public and their opinions, and incorporate the changes they notice to be part of the final assessment of each country.

The executive director of Transparency International said the international community should make greater efforts to strengthen democracy and protect the rights of citizens, especially when corruption seeps into democratic systems and ultimately weakens them. I believe that the relationship between democracy and corruption must be studied carefully, because the two must work together to achieve real success.

Transparency International called on all governments to make real progress in fighting corruption and promoting democracy around the world, bridge the gap between the enactment of legislation on corruption, its implementation on the ground and its provisions, which will enhance political participation and control public opinion on government spending. I believe that true success in combating corruption does not come through good speeches and wishes, but practical application as an indicator of success. 

By Muna Al-Fuzai

muna@kuwaittimes.net