Friday, May 15, 2009


« Almighty Money threatens Beninese democracy»

As corruption has become a chronic illness of Benin politics with MPs defecting from one camp to another, the well-known journalist, columnist, and analyst Léo BRATHIER from the daily newspaper, L’Autre Quoditien has voiced his concerns. Here is what he has to say:

Translated by Alfred Cossi Chodaton

«Almighty Money has insidiously invaded Beninese democracy. This evil is not specific to a particular government. It is a social phenomenon. Since the start of the democratic era, in fact, it has begun to expand in such a scale that it has been pushing the boundaries of ethics. The politicians involved in political corruption, do not even seem to bother about any sense of decency to acknowledge its existence and even to try to justify it.

An attitude that an article issued by L’Autre Quotidien yesterday pointed out in the title: «Transhumance and bribe of conscience: serious ethical problems for National Assembly. » Then, as to illustrate the comments made by this article and justify what it reveals as an admission or suspicion of bribery of MP, our colleague of "Fraternité" yesterday interviewed a MP from the presidential camp over the act of the spectacular realignment of one its most truculent opponents. He, in his turn, suggested, «there are people that you can not get close to, and people you can get close to, and just give them two or three "things" and change their minds. » A reality or a feeling? For some, if they blame themselves, they know the nature of the phenomenon. He went on, responding to a question about the difficult collaboration with his former political adversary, with whom he used to play the dog and the cat, only a few months ago, to say: « Politics is a game of interest. The interest is not necessarily money ... It is the fact of having a special reason for being here or there »

Speaking about the return of his former opponent, he continued his argument: «... the day his interest will not be safeguard here, he will leave» It is clear for the voter what are the real motivations of MPs that they have elected to defend his or her interests! These interests are supposed to the ones of their constituents rather than their own. However, the MP has no obligation of accountability towards people over his materially motivated reversals, and the people do have no opportunity to sanction him other that the elections. Of course, if the voter himself, has not been bribed into voting against his own will.

Therefore, in a context where Almighty Money conditions politics, the legitimate aspirations of people, ethics that found democratic culture, are obviously forgotten. As the reality of political corruption is, as such that it causes the political institutions and citizens to consider unavoidable the effect of money and admit by cynicism or disappear no political choice will hold if it is not “bought” with money. By contagion effect, this type of corruption has even spread in all elective activities within the associations and professional corporations. We may falsely argue that we live a century marked by the death of all ideologies and the perverse and cynical realism, is the norm. Everyone does with this reality because in a poor society like ours, the fact that one does not accept it is a defection. And these societies divided between materialistic motives and traditional ethics, will judge you with the prism of this realism, generally as a failure, even if consciously it is assumed that those who do not aligned on this pseudo standard, is a « honest man». The Almighty Money has destroyed all beliefs. Moreover, the best ones will not necessarily be the most deserving ones, the most conscientious, hard-working, and honest ones. The world of the Almighty Money belongs to «the smarter one» not always in the sense of positive intelligence, but in the sense of opportunism. At the point where we are on this phenomenon, it is necessary to wonder if it is still possible that Benin democracy – that hypocritically continues to viewed as a laboratory for Africa – gets itself out of the kind of perversion of political corruption and ideological annihilation. Since the most pernicious corruption to our developing societies, is not certainly the one that has been vilified through the major scandals evoked in the media and relates to those who run public affairs or corporations. However, it is the one, which insidiously begins to become the norm in politics especially in the electoral realm and in the administration of our political national life. A democracy, where it is acceptable at all levels of society and institutions that all is buyable as vulgar goods, is not predestined to a much bright future. »

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