AD19: Amid perceived escalating corruption, Batswana demand officials account and declare assets

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Molomo, Mpho, Wilford Molefe, and Batlang Seabo

Transparency and accountability are hallmarks of democracy and good governance. They are the centrepiece of the Open Government Partnership, an initiative that was launched in 2011 by eight countries and has since grown to 65 countries. The Open Government Partnership is an international platform for domestic reformers committed to ensuring that their governments are open, accountable, and responsive to the needs of their citizens.

Although Botswana has not joined South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, and other African countries as signatories to this initiative, the country has been lauded for its democratic credentials and rated highly in good-governance indices, including No. 3 in Africa on the latest Ibrahim Index of African Governance. Botswana is rated the least corrupt country in Africa by the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2014.

Despite these accolades, a recent spate of corruption scandals implicating senior government officials and the director general of the Directorate of Intelligence Services has resurrected debates on the adoption of a law on declaration of assets and liabilities in Parliament.

The latest Afrobarometer survey shows that Batswana perceive high – and increasing – levels of corruption amongst politicians and state institutions. As measures of transparency and accountability, large majorities of Batswana favour laws requiring the president to appear before Parliament to justify his policies and procedures as well as public disclosure of assets and liabilities by senior government officials.