AfP Hosts Event on Corruption and Anti-Corruption in Fragile States

image2The Alliance for Peacebuilding welcomed Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church and Diana Chigas of the Institute for Human Security to host a presentation on corruption within fragile states on October 11, 2016. Their work covered case studies and examples of corruption in Uganda, as well as covering other countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They both emphasized that corruption is not a “petty issue” or simple annoyance but a systemic problem that violates human rights.

The facilitators presented a detailed systems scan, a similar process that AfP recently undertook, that visualized all of the facets that lead to corruption. The scan detailed a “vicious cycle” of bribery that is hard to break and can become woven in many different fabrics of society.

The scan helped visualize that corruption is a complex problem that has be comprehensively addressed. One example of this complexity was the perception of corruption and how even if corruption was eliminated at an institutional level, the perceptions of corruption that remained can still perpetuate a vicious cycle. Moreover, different types of corruption exist, such as vertical and horizontal corruption. Horizontal corruption, the corruption pictured in the scan, is fragmented, while vertical corruption is more organized at a top-down level within institutions.

Cheyanne and Diana presented their key findings from the case study itself. Firstly was that corruption was the system and not an exception. Second, was citizens can still view corruption-lagued institutions as legitimate, but their trust in them may diminish. Third, corruption in Northern Uganda becomes the means for access to justice and a needed source of revenue for officials, elites and institutions themselves. Fourth, and finally, many programs meant to counter corruption fail to address underlying factors that drive the practice.