Most people are aware of the negative impact of corruption on a nation’s economy. Corruption drains resources from much-needed investment in health, education, infrastructure and other basic services as such resources are diverted from these well meaning developmental programmes by selfish individuals for their personal use. It weakens democratic institutions, perverts the rule of law, discourages investment and aid, undercuts public confidence in government, feeds inequality and disenfranchises large segments of the population. It is a severe obstacle to development and should be ‘nipped in the bud’ with the aggressiveness it deserves.
The citizens of most developing countries like Zambia have continued to wallow in poverty, not because there are no deliberate government programmes to improve their standard of living, but because of the sheer greediness and selfishness exhibited by public officials entrusted with huge resources to serve them.
Corruption and all related crimes should not be tolerated. The devastating effects of corruption can no longer be ignored and the fight against corruption must be taken as a personal challenge.
The common effects of corruption are:
1. It causes widespread bitterness in those who cannot pay or refuse to pay for favours, when they see those who do pay being favoured;
2. Corruption also enriches a few corrupt people at the expense of the majority;
3. It distorts standards when it enables those who less deserve to reach goals ahead of those of greater merit.
4. It enables those who pay bribes to obtain favours and services to which they are not entitled;
5. When bribes are paid to law enforcement officers, respect for the law and rule of law is lost;
6. It retards economic development as it shifts services from the needy or priority areas. It furthers the social and economic marginalization of the poor; and if;
7. Allowed to expand unchecked, corruption erodes political legitimacy to the point where citizens see little point in following the rules and might result into political instability.