Why wait?Reform and fighting corruption [Archives:2004/786/Opinion]

November 1 2004

By Prof. Dr. Abdulaziz al-Tarb
For The Yemen Times

Regardless of the power of the financial measurements adopted against corruption, there won't be results unless the community restores its belief in a moral system without greed for power and money.
If we consider the president's speech is a practicalway, I see the necessity for following it with a number of procedures such as transferring the files of corruption to prosecution and judiciary or sacking a group of officials from civil, military and security positions.
There are three other dimensions that should be studied:
The first of these dimensions is making a proper economic and monetary policy to achieve the required balance between prices and salaries especially in the governmental sector.
The great gap between the real prices and the salaries and payments are basically responsible for the weak morale of the government's officers, and the officers in security systems. As soon as this happens, corruption occurs in the whole society. The inflation and the gap found the state monetary crisis and its deficiency to collect the taxes in order to have the balanced expenses on its inflated system. Therefore it is important to control the government system and determine salaries, for the sake of controlling corruption.
The second dimension is the state independence and its integrity in implementing legislations, which are enough for controlling the general development of the society. That is to achieve competition in the internal and external markets.
This system is like any other economical or social system that's based on people who have joint interests. This system may confront with the general abstract laws of economy especially what is related to the construction operations.
Most of the events of corruption in the Arab world and in the world occur in this sector. This thing happens in limited cases as a result of the absence or lack of legislations that oppose corruption and ensure the integrity of competition and the impartiality of state system with competitors. In many other cases, the legislations may be satisfactory in their statements but practically they are not applied because the state officials don't have integrity for the reasons having been mentioned above.
The state can't legislate laws that are required, such as fighting monopoly, protecting the consumer, bribery punishment, and negligence of doing the public duties unless it is independence. That means separating between authorities and being freed from family-based method of ruling and preventing the public employees to do commercial and financial works.
In addition, these authorities should be founded according to the public satisfaction. They should be elected in a pure election that depends on honest competition between political programs not bribing citizens to have their votes at the expense of the public interest and power's integrity.
The third dimension is concerned with the strategy of economical reform and the limitations of this kind of reforms that's based on the transfer from the public propriety to the private propriety and from the directed economy to the market economy.
The first step of transfer leads to a class of beneficiaries that have interests in preventing new members to enter the market. This leads to quitting the transfer and reform at a vague stage that has many conflicting systems. It leads also to a variety of prices especially in the field of exchanging currencies, banking in the world and preparations for privatization and necessary legislation of market laws works. Then corruption becomes the only law of transfer process.
Moral dimension
This is the prevailing dimension in the theory of war on corruption and it is related to the moral aspect of any society in general and to fighting greed in particular. Regardless of the strength of the material procedures adopted in war against corruption, there will not be an actual positive outcome unless the society restores faith in a moral system that's based on setting up limitations to the lust for money, authority and other materialistic desires.
The problem is that how it will be able to restore these principles in many cases. This thing requires big revolutions that lead to melt the society in terms of mind, soul, and body redistributing belief in these principles. In other cases it demands peaceful transfer to the actual democracy, transparency rules, and the immediate accountancy. In some conditions, it needs leaders of different kind with a high level of strength, firmness, and care besides recreating the noble moral principles of Islam in brining up generation.
Shall we start? Or wait for the unknown to reform by itself?