Rwanda has for the second year running ranked third least corrupt country in Africa, according to the latest Corruption Perception Index, 2017, released yesterday.
Globally, Rwanda ranked 48th least corrupt nation, improving two places from 2016.
In Africa, Rwanda is ranked behind Botswana, which was yet again named as the least corrupt country on the continent (and ranked 34th globally), and Seychelles, which came in second in Africa 36th in the world.
Tied with Rwanda in third in Africa is Cape Verde, according to the report.
In terms of percentages, Botswana scored 61, Seychelles 60, while Rwanda and Cape Verde scored 55 per cent - well above the global average of 43 per cent.
Briefing journalists about the report in Kigali yesterday, Kavatiri Rwego Albert, the programme manager at Transparency International-Rwanda Chapter, said that strong and effective institutions, such as government, civil society, and media are the key factors behind Rwanda's sustained fight against corruption.
The index found that, globally, more than two-thirds of countries scored below 50 per cent.
To produce the index, the global anti-corruption watchdog analyses public sector corruption and ranks 180 countries and territories drawing on 13 surveys of businesspeople and expert assessments.
The index uses a scale of zero to 100, with zero representing highly corrupt, while 100 is for no corruption.
New Zealand and Denmark ranked highest in the new index, scoring 89 per cent and 88 per cent, respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with 14.1 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.
In East Africa, Burundi ranked lowest, in 157th position having improved by two places compared to the previous year, while Uganda remained unmoved the 151th.
Kenya regressed by two places, ranking 143th globally, though it improved by two points, from 26 per cent in 2016 to the 28 score in 2017, while Tanzania moved up by 4 percentage points, from 106 in 2016 to 103 in 2017.
The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66, while the worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa - with an average score of 32 per cent - and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34).
Rwego said that corruption was more prevalent in countries ravaged by conflict and unrest, citing Somalia, Afghanistan, South Soudan, Libya, and North Korea.
"When there is no peace, you cannot build governance systems," he said, underscoring the importance of good leadership in combating corruption.
Analysis shows that countries with weak media and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also tend to have high corruption rates.
Where does the police rank?
Rwego pointed out that Bertelsmann Foundation Sustainable Governance Indicators, used by Transparency International, showed that corruption in Rwanda National Police significantly reduced from 15 per cent in 2016 to 8 per cent in 2017, while graft went down from 5.4 per cent to 4.9 per cent in local government.
These findings, he said, match the World Internal Security and Police Index of 2016, which ranked Rwanda National Police second in assuming its responsibilities, after Botswana.
ACP Jean Nepo Mbonyumuvunyi, the Commissioner of Inspectorate of Services and Ethics at RNP, said the police had initiated electronic systems through which contact between a service seeker and provider was reduced. He cited traffic and vehicle inspection services, as well as filing of cases.
He pointed out that any police officer convicted of corruption is dismissed.
Scaling up fight against graft
To sustain the fight against corruption, Rwego said that corruption cases should be followed up, and the offenders should be duly punished. "If the legal framework and law enforcement measures are strengthened and public funds well managed, we would register even more progress in the campaign against corruption."
Clément Musangabatware, the deputy Ombudsman in charge of preventing and fighting corruption and related offences , said that one of the factors that impede efforts against graft in the country is the fact about 85 per cent of Rwandans are reluctant to report corruption.
"We should sensitise Rwandans that when there is corruption, they are the ones to suffer its consequences," Musangabatware said.
He acknowledged recent gains in the fight against corruption, including offering public tenders online and digitising many government services, which reduces chances of corruption as it significantly eliminates human interactions.