We have time and again been criticising our judicial system for failing us in the fight against corruption. But barely do we understand that the judges, in most cases, act in accordance with the law when deciding whether to convict an accused.
Besides the Judiciary, the war on corruption must be supported by the Executive and the Legislature, especially the latter, which should tighten up laws, particularly the provisions for the quantum of evidence to help convince the courts that a crime of corruption has been committed.
We witness cases of corruption not only among our leaders, but also when we go to government offices for services. Those who grease the palms of civil servants are served faster than those who follow due process.
We see all this in our day-to-day lives, but it is hard to substantiate claims against government officials because the law requires mens rea to prove that corruption was planned, and actus reus to prove that there was the action.
Failure to prove and relate the two means the case is not substantiated, hence stands no legal ground to have an accused person convicted.
And for some people, things go their way just because they are close or relate to influential individuals in society. Their cases either slowly disappear or are dismissed. This sad state of affairs has been the case for a long time.
It is, therefore, high time we changed how we combat corruption. The law, apparently, does not protect complainants and is very stiff on evidence needed to prove an offence even when one has been the victim.
We should take our lawmakers to task so that they can amend laws that make it difficult to prosecute corruption cases. This must also involve electing the right people to different offices as a prerequisite to having the right legislation. We must choose only those who believe in the cause. Otherwise the fight will remain a pipe dream, despite the devastating effects of graft on our lives.
As the August 9 polls approach, it is not surprising that some aspirants have pending corruption cases or have been ousted out of office as a result of corruption.
The integrity question continues to be raised as to whether such politicians should be allowed to take part in the polls as candidates. In the past, legal loopholes have been exploited to allow their participation, making it difficult for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to ensure they are barred.
Fighting corruption is, therefore, not an easy task. We constantly blame the Judiciary instead of acknowledging the role they play to ensure they become fair and act accordingly.
It is high time we put all hands on deck and tackled this problem head-on. All arms of government must work in sync and each must play their role to ensure the success of the collective effort.