25 July 2013

Rwanda: Support Police in Its Anti-Graft Campaign

Just weeks after global corruption watchdog Transparency International ranked Rwanda the least corrupt nation on the African continent, our law enforcers this week announced the dismissal of 48 police officers over corruption-related cases.

According to the Inspector General of Police, those dismissed were among the 126 officers that were dishonourably discharged from the Force after they were charged and convicted of different offences in the courts of law.

It's a step in the right direction, especially since several reports, including Transparency International's Corruption Barometer for 2013, listed our Police as the most corrupt institution in the country.

That those dismissed were arranged and convicted in courts before dismissal is equally worth noting, because this does not leave room for possible overzealousness or abuse of the campaign to fight corruption in the Force.

Due process is paramount no matter the circumstance.

Like the IGP observed, it is true that corruption is not institutionalised within the national police.

Nonetheless, if the saying that one rotten mango spoils the whole basket is anything to go by, the corrupt few can easily tarnish the image of an entire institution and, therefore, stern action against the culprits should be encouraged so as to serve as deterrent.

But the other side of the coin must be looked at as well. Police officers do not bribe themselves. It is us, members of the public, who bribe them. As such, the public has a big role to play or else the anti-corruption campaign in our police force can hardly succeed.

If every Rwandan says no to corruption, we will successfully keep the vice at bay.

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