When colonialism ended, Africans made no attempt to establish a link between the people and the government.
Government remained a hostile entity that has no real attachment to the mwananchi.
Growing up in the village, the other boys and I would run away when we spotted policemen at a distance for absolutely no reason.
That’s because to society, the government, i.e. the public service, is a threat to be feared, not a legitimate entity concerned with the public interest.
This is the mind-set of public servants and elected officials who see ‘public money’ as nobody’s money that is therefore fair game.
It belongs to the ‘government’ not to the people. In Sweden or Japan, on the other hand, every single coin in the hands of a public official is seen as belonging to the society at large and something to be treasured and put to the right use.
To eliminate corruption in Africa, we must rethink the African state. We must ask ourselves how to re-establish its legitimacy and get everyone to understand the link between taxation and delivery of public goods and why stealing public funds is the same as robbing a grandmother in Kangemi who pays a huge amount of tax on her jerrycan of paraffin…”