Corruption is a big issue in African elections – says Transparency International

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 January 2018

Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2016, fell below the midpoint scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

The global average score is 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector. Sierra Leone scored 30 and ranked 123 out of 176 countries, fairing worse than Liberia with a score of 37 and ranked at 90 out of 176. Corruption is endemic in Sierra Leone and has got worse.

2016 saw elections across the African continent with the results providing a good reflection of corruption trends in the region.

In Ghana, for example, voters voiced their dissatisfaction with the government’s corruption record at the polls where, for the first time in Ghana’s history, an incumbent president was voted out.

The elections held across Africa in 2016 provide a good reflection of corruption trends in the region.

In countries like Ghana, which is the second worst decliner in the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index in the region, the dissatisfaction of citizens with the government’s corruption record was reflected in their voting at the polls.

South Africa, which continues to stagnate this year, has witnessed the same. Joseph Kabila’s Democratic Republic of Congo and Yahya Jammeh’s Gambia, which both declined, demonstrate how electoral democracy is tremendously challenged in African countries because of corruption.

2016 Rank Country 2016 Score 2015 Score 2014 Score 2013 Score 2012 Score Region
123 Sierra Leone 30 29 31 30 31 Sub Saharan Africa


2016 Rank Country 2016 Score 2015 Score 2014 Score 2013 Score 2012 Score Region
90 Liberia 37 37 37 38 41 Sub Saharan Africa


Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe are the most improved African countries in the 2016 index. Both countries held democratic presidential elections in 2016. 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.

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.


Despite being a model for stability in the region, Ghana, together with another six African countries, has significantly declined. The rampant corruption in Ghana 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 by a statistically significant amount. These include South AfricaNigeriaTanzania 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.

Regional analysis by Paul Banoba, Transparency International


  1. To say that the elections in São Tomé and Príncipe, the elections held in July 2016 led to a smooth change of government, which is increasingly a challenge in the African region. And to classify them with a BOM, besides the author of these statements reveal a deep ignorance of the reality of these islands, can only be understood as a provocation.
    Will the author of this article, who only competed for the candidate Evaristo Carvalho, in the second poll be unaware?

    Will you know that former President Manuel Pinto da Costa refused to participate in the second round because he did not want to compromise with such a huge fraud?

    Will the author of this article know that the ELECTORAL LAW WAS THE CLEARLY VIOLATED, with direct radio and television broadcasts? – With very varied reports on radio in various polling stations in both Islands, morning and afternoon, with direct interviews with voters, denouncing their intention to vote and the opinions of the members of the assemblies, namely presidents and vice -presidents, in manifest shudder of the law?

    Will the author of this article know the President of the Electoral Commission himself, in declarations to RTP-Africa, to recognize that there have been grave flaws?

  2. I concur with the writer of this article and it will not be a surprise if Samura Kamara is declared the winner of the March 2018 presidential elections in Sierra Leone. Samura Kamara has declared EB koroma as a God like figure of the APC party in his recent interview as the APC presidential candidate, in which he stated that it is the will of God for him to be selected and not elected amongst other contestants in their recent convention in Makeni, when Samura was selected as the APC party presidential candidate. which was approved with very little resistance among other candidates.

    One thing the SLPP party are failing to realise is the building up processes and compromising nature of the APC party to get their house in order; for the Bible says that a house that is divided among itself cannot stand. Was EB Koroma a founding member of the APC when Christiana Thorpe manipulated the 2007 presidential election?

    Look fellow Sierra Leoneans, the APC party is spending over 60% of its expenditure on salaries alone on public sector workers wherein the government is the main employer of over 90% of the less than 25-30% of the available jobs in Sierra Leone. And since 2007 when the APC party were ushered into ruling governance most of the jobs are secured for themselves, their family members and supporters to the detriments of the opposition parties.

    We must realize that Koroma is fighting hard to secure his legacies despite the Sierra Leonean populacee bearing the brunt of his institutional leakages and bankrupting the Sierra Leone economy with a massive external debt of about $2 billion and over 6 trilions of the national currency – the Leone, in internal debts. The infighting within the SLPP that has caused the splitting of the party in to other factions has given the APC party a spring board to hold their grip On power.

    Until the SLPP party realise that two immersible liquids can never mix. The legacy of the Ahmed Tejan SLPP era to be muddled with the corrupt, dictatorial legacy of Julius Maada Bio can never mix or co-exist. Kabbah’s government was able to finish the civil war in 2002 when they came in power in 1996 and at the same time established institutions like the Anti corruption commission and the PENSION FUNDS agency, fulfilled the requirements for the termination of the country’s external debt from over $2 billion US dollars to just $250 million dollars and an internal revenue surplus of over Le500 billion leones in the government treasury when they handed power over to the APC party in 2007.

    Even supporters of the APC party in the diaspora where in support of Dr Kandeh being the presidential flag bearer for the SLPP in the 2018 presidential election to ensure the SLPP stands a good chance of being elected the winner of the presidential election.

    With the support of the APC for Julius Bio in his presidential ambition and the blackmailing of Dr Yemkellah to some of the SLPP party supporters, Bio has greatly reduced the chances of both the SLPP and NGC or other parties to make inroads in the next March presidential and general elections.

    The current APC party government controls the treasury of the country and with over 60% of the population living on less than $1.25 and over 70% youth unemployment in the country, there is little the opposition parties can do.

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