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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 22:20 GMT

World: Africa

News Online readers urge corruption crackdown

News Online readers have overwhelmingly backed the idea that corrupt officials should be "hunted down like rats" as Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi recently pledged to do.

Should corrupt officials be "hunted down like rats"?
Click here to see readers comments or to register your vote

A number of readers suggest that the way to tackle corruption was not just to target lower-down officials but to start at the top.

"The solution to Africa's problem is to go after the head rats which unfortunately are so many and are found in palaces and state houses all across Africa," said one reader from Ethiopia.

"We Africans have to wake-up and get rid of bad leaders," urged another.

One reader from Kenya said: "We need to use any means at disposal to bring back humanity even if it means running after the corrupt like a cat following a rat."

Corrupt officials though do not get all the blame.

West implicated

"We should prosecute all the corrupt leaders and also the corrupt IMF and World Bank that been helping them suck the resources," said one e-mail.

Another said that safe havens provided in the West for Africa's "economic terrorists" were responsible for the lack of progress on corruption.

"Nigeria alone has more than $55bn of her stolen money stored away in Swiss, British, French and American banks," he said.

One dissenting reader suggested that the problem could just be a matter of terminology: "What is called a tip in America is labelled corruption in Tanzania".

Alien system

While another suggested that an imported Western system of government in Africa could take some of the blame.

"Until these countries start using their own system of government based on their heritage and stop imitating the West, corruption will continue to flourish. Corrupt officials are only a by-product of an incompatible system," said one reader.

However a popular idea seemed to be that Africans themselves needed to question how wealthy officials made their money and should bring them to book.

One longer term suggestion was to pay more attention to education in Africa "and only then will democracy really work in Africa".

And as for comparing politicians with rats, one reader suggested that this was insulting - to rats.

A selection of these emails will be broadcast on Focus on Africa during the 1705 edition on Saturday

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