Barbados Calling Mr. Ibrahim! – Billionaire Offers Prize To African Leaders – For Least-Corrupt Government

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In September, Barbados Free Press announced the 1st Annual Barbados Piggies At The Trough Awards – with US$1,000 cash first prize going to the person who nominates the winner of the award. The winner of “The Piggy” will be the Barbados politician or civil servant who, in the opinion of the judges, best misuses position, political contacts or internal knowledge to benefit self, family or friends.

That’s one approach to political corruption.

Cellular phone billionaire Mo Ibrahim from Sudan has another idea…

Africa’s political leaders are being offered a $5m prize and a stipend for life if they do not plunder the national coffers or rig elections. Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton are backing the initiative to be formally launched tomorrow in London by a foundation started by a Sudanese-born telecom tycoon, Mo Ibrahim.

From The Guardian International (link here)

Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton All Give Blessing – But Transparency International Does Not

…Hassan Lorgat, head of the South African branch of the global anti-corruption group Transparency International, said the thinking behind the prize is flawed because it puts the emphasis and responsibility for good governance on one person.

“It targets individuals and at best you can pick a few dozen leaders for the prize and that reaffirms the principle of the ‘big man’,” he said.

“It doesn’t read Africa’s problems correctly. Those who keep governments accountable are ordinary people and that accountability needs to be strengthened. That’s where he should have put his money. Or into the parliaments that could hold leaders accountable.”

“Those who keep governments accountable are ordinary people and that accountability needs to be strengthened.”

Our Take On This Story…

Transparency International makes a good point: in the end it is the ordinary people who keep governments accountable, but they need proper Integrity Legislation and Conflict Of Interest Rules put in place to do so. (Which is why Barbados has neither, folks!)

At least Mr. Ibrahim’s offer will get people talking about corruption and honest government, and for that we wish him well.

Story Links

Guardian International: Prize of $5m Awaits Honest African Rulers

Brett Keller & the World: Quitting for Democracy

Transparency International

Utstein Anti-Corruption Centre

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