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Three African presidents, re-elected to serve new terms, were installed into office last week.

In Nigeria and Malawi, Muhammadu Buhari and Peter Mutharika, respectively, were sworn in for their second and final terms.

South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa took the oath to begin his first proper term after stand-in tenure following the ignominious ejection of Jacob Zuma.

A common theme in the three inauguration speeches was the promise to confront the monstrous corruption in their countries, underlining how deeply rooted the problem is in the continent.

With the exception of a few, corruption is an unfortunate defining character of leadership in Africa with the president’s office invariably used to perpetrate the vice.

To mention just a few, South Africa has become an example of “State capture” while Malawi has the “cashgate” and Nigeria the “armsgate” scandals, all heavily linked to the presidency.


The schemes rank among the worst corruption scandals in those countries in the recent past.

To many, the promises by the three leaders were no more than the tired and hollow pronouncements recited at every inauguration ceremony.

However, there is always a first time and the latest installations could just be the turning point in the three countries.

Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion. Whereas the corrupt individuals with political power enjoy lavish lifestyles, millions are deprived of basic necessities such as food, health, education, housing, clean water and sanitation.

To deal corruption a deadly blow, Africa will not require a new set of laws, readily available unconditional aid from China, discovery of mineral wealth or even the latest Japanese or American technological innovation.

Political goodwill, from none other than the Heads of State, is all it requires to slay the dragon.

We hope the three leaders will live up to their promises.