TRANSPARENCY International Zambia says Zambia has maintained its score of 33 on the 2021 Corruption Perception Index.
The Corruption Perception Index, is a Report which aggregates data from a number of different sources that provide perceptions by business people and country experts on the level of corruption in the public sector. The CPI score is based on a scale of 0-100 where zero means most corrupt while 100 means lest corrupt. The Report is done in 180 countries and Zambia is currently ranked 117 out of 180.
Speaking during the launch of the CPI, TI-Z programmes manager Raymond Mutale said maintaining the score at 33 was a good start given that the country had gone through a regime change in 2021.
“Zambia, we maintained the score 33. The score last year was 33, this year still 33. Maybe it is a good start given that we have a new dawn administration superintending over our country. Let us start at the same rate or same score and see how we move forward as a country,” Mutale said.
“The 2021 CPI for Zambia was derived from nine different sources. Five of these sources recorded reductions, among those five, the Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index indicating the highest drop by eight points, while the other three sources were constant, which means the score that Zambia attained last year is the same score, there was no movement, when you compare 2020 and 2021. The only source which recorded an increase and therefore contributing to the maintained overall score for Zambia was the Varieties of Democracy Project (which measures the pervasive levels of political corruption in the three arms of government).”
He said Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index assessment was conducted between January and June 2021 and measured corruption in relation to the abuse of public office.
“It should be noted that the Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index assessment was conducted between January and June 2021 and measures corruption in relation to the abuse of public office. Therefore, the eight-point drop can be attributed to limited mechanisms and interventions aimed at preventing public office holders from abusing their positions for private interest. The data for the Varieties of Democracy Project was collected throughout the year, from January to December 2021,” he said.
“Therefore, the 12 points increase in the measure can be attributed to, though minimally given that only four months were superintended upon by the new regime, the disruption of political corruption following the change of regime, which saw a change of political players within the three arms of government. With a maintained CPI score, the UPND government now has a unique opportunity to set a new trend into motion.”
Mutale said there was need for government to take tangible steps to restore and strengthen institutional checks by guaranteeing the independence of public oversight bodies such as the anti-corruption agencies and supreme audit institutions.
“Government should uphold human rights and the rights needed to hold power to account by rolling back any restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly introduced by the previous regime. This includes reforming the Public Order Act and amending the Constitution. The Government and Law Enforcement Agencies should partner with global and regional financial and anti-corruption agencies in order to close legal loopholes, regulate professional enablers of financial crimes and ensure that the corrupt and their accomplices cannot escape justice,” said Mutale.
“Government should take tangible steps to restore and strengthen institutional checks on power by guaranteeing the independence of public oversight bodies such as the anti-corruption agencies and supreme audit institutions. As the Government scales up its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, there is need to uphold the right to information and introduce anti-corruption safeguards in public procurement in order to maximize transparency, protect public resources and save lives.”
And TI-Z executive director Maurice Nyambe said though the CPI was not be the perfect measuring tool for corruption, it still remained the most widely used global corruption ranking in the world.
“Transparency International has never made secret the fact that the CPI may not be the perfect measuring tool for corruption, given the multifaceted nature of the scourge. That notwithstanding, there can be no doubt that it remains the most widely-used global corruption ranking in the world, and that is partly what gives it its appeal and legitimacy, in addition to the primary data sources upon which it relies,” Nyambe said.
“TI-Z has continued to work with many of the organisations that are present here today, and we have no doubt that the launch of the 2021 CPI will be yet another opportunity for enhancing our ongoing collaboration in the fight against corruption in Zambia. We are looking forward to the expert reactions of these organisations to the findings that will be revealed later this morning. In the same vein, we call on the media to not only engage fully with the 2021 CPI findings, but to also help disseminate this information in a manner that will make it easy for citizens to engage and contribute to Zambia’s fight against corruption.”
He urged government to adopt a sober and collaborative approach to the findings unlike in the recent past.
“Our hope is that the UPND government will adopt a more sober and collaborative approach to the findings that will be released today. Our experience from previous releases of the CPI shows that government has tended be dismissive of the findings and largely taken them as CSOs making their usual noise. We would like to urge the current government to be different and use the 2021 CPI findings as an additional tool within their broader framework of fighting corruption,” said Nyambe.
“TI-Z stands ready for further engagement with government, CSOs, the private sector, and any other stakeholders, on any aspect of the 2021 CPI in particular, but also on the anti-corruption crusade in general. So once again, I warmly welcome all of you to our launch of the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, and we very much look forward to spending this morning with you in a mutually productive manner.”
The highest ranking countries on the Report which scored one were Denmark, New Zealand and Finland while the least ranked country was South Sudan which scored 11.