JERRY MATEBESI : People must use vote to punish any party soft on corruption

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and wife Constancia Mangue. Nguema is accused of enriching his family through abuse of state power.
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and wife Constancia Mangue. Nguema is accused of enriching his family through abuse of state power.
Image: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rest assured, corruption is rampant in many parts of the world.

Men and women of letters, who bother themselves with the tedious function of reflecting on society, argue that truth, like fire, cannot be hidden under the grass.

Truth always comes out, no matter the circumstances or power wielded by those who are trying to hide it away from the public.

Power, especially political power, corrupts and absolutely power corrupts absolutely.

In politics, it is not about the evidence of corruption that ought to be presented for an individual to be castrated politically. But it's about the perception of corruption that dethrones a corrupt politician.

The formula for stealing public funds all over the world is the same. It is only in very exceptional cases where the prime minister, president or premier of a country is found with evidence of theft of public funds.

The key strategy common to all public representatives who loot public coffers is the use of middlemen, family members, friends and cronies.

In Angola, it is a known fact that former president Eduardo dos Santos grossly enriched his family members. His daughter Isabella has been dubbed the richest woman in Africa.

Her business empire stretches from mining to petroleum and real estate.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with her being rich but the question that needs to be answered is whether she could have been this rich if her father was not the former president of Angola? Is it appropriate to brand her inexplicable wealth as theft?

In Equatorial Guinea, the same method of looting analogous to Angola is implemented with gusto.

The president of that country, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, also enriched his family through abuse of state power and dispensing of patronage in the tiny African country that is impoverished, yet rich in oil deposits.

His son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, was the minister of forestry and fisheries before he was anointed as the successor to his father in 2012.

The man owns a string of properties worth billions in the US and Europe. He is reported to own a fleet of Ferraris, Maseratis, a yacht and to have properties here.

Is Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue's wealth ill-gotten or is society just jealous of a man who has pulled himself up by the bootstraps?

In South Africa, public looting is sophisticated in the sense that the middleman who serves as a conveyer belt of looting can be an official in the procurement section of a company or government.

Alternatively, the middleman can be a politically connected private entity like the Gupta family that used South African politicians to enrich themselves.

In provinces like North West, corruption will continue beyond troubled Supra Mahumapelo.

What is important is for ordinary people to understand the importance of rewarding political parties that look after the public purse and punishing those that tolerate public representatives that steal from the public.

Differently put, society must use the vote to effect a bloodless political change against any political party that is soft on corruption.

South Africa's parliamentary system warrants an evolutionary democratic change as a first stage that should culminate in a Marxist-Leninist revolution if all things fail.

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