Maghreb countries rank among the most corrupt countries in the world.
This is hardly surprising, given the state of democracy in these countries and, by extension, of the entire legal system supposed to deal with this phenomenon.
Authoritarian regimes are not entitled to an independent judiciary. Corruption finds a fertile ground in such environments, and is encouraged by the leaders who, unfortunately, set a bad example.
No matter how hard we try to adapt national legislation to international conventions in terms of fighting corruption; how many bodies we create; and how many judges and security officials we train for the same purpose, all that will be useless as long as the political power does not give up its control over the judiciary and, by extension, the security services.
And yet, not a day goes by without news reports about new corruption scandals, and courts issuing judgments in new corruption cases.
However, this is only part of the answer to the phenomenon, because in reality, this evil that is plaguing the state and gnawing away at society, cannot be fought neither by an inflation of laws, nor with specialized bodies.
When ordinary citizens find it normal to bribe the municipal agent to obtain a paper from the registry office, and to pay a secretary to enroll their children at school or university, this means that average citizens have accepted to play the game of corruption.
The wind of democratization blowing across the Arab world bears hope, since a greater democratization of Maghreb societies should allow a greater freedom of expression.
People should be allowed to express themselves and city affairs should be managed with transparency, in order to weaken and further combat corruption. Political parties and associations ought to lead the way.
The press should be able to do its job without any constraints or diktats, so that transparency may gain ground to intimidate corrupt officers and bribe givers.
Democracy means that a magistrate should be able to hold anyone accountable on behalf of the people, whether it is a minister, a director, an unemployed individual, or even a president.
This is the only way to fight corruption.
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