“After this, Felix often sent for Paul and talked with him, because he hoped that Paul would offer him a bribe.”(Acts24:26). Paul wrote more than half of the New Testament, his stand against corruption was amazing..
Corruption is not new; when the Apostle Paul, was held as a prisoner, at Caesarea, he could have been released, if he had agreed to pay a bribe to the Roman Governor, Felix. Paul came from a rich, and noble family, he also had rich friends who were concerned about him, including the writer of Acts, Dr Luke and his wife, a business woman, called Lydia. There is no doubt that if Paul had asked for money to pay the governor for his freedom it could have been found.
Instead Paul chose not only to stay in prison for another two years, but he preferred to go to Rome, in chains, where he would be tried, and face the death penalty! When I first read this, and reflected on it, I was deeply moved in my spirit. As my Pastor likes to remind us, “brothers and sisters, this Gospel of Jesus Christ, came to you by the blood of other fellows, don’t take it lightly”. Here was Paul risking his life, when all he had to do was pay this Roman governor, and get his freedom. And I hear so many people, say things like, “this is how it works around here; we have no choice, how else are we going to get those contracts; how are we going to feed our families?”
When we were thrown out of a country, after I refused to pay the bribes that could have saved our contract, I knew exactly what it would cost us, both financially and in the jobs of over 200 people, and their families, that were forced to leave. Of course there is a price to pay! Look at Paul!! Mine was nothing!
Corruption will end in Africa, when some of us, say “enough! I don’t care, that I have to walk to work, I am not getting on a taxi that pays a policeman, a bribe at a checkpoint whilst I watch. I am not going to give my cousin a job, in government, because he is my cousin. I am not going to take a bribe when I am a judge in a court case. I am not going to pay a customs official. I am not going to pay anyone a cut for a contract, even if it means I am out of business.” And when we do this, one morning we will wake up and find there is no corruption in our society, and there are no corrupt leaders, because if there are corrupt leaders, they come from our societies.
Lets start a movement across Africa, of ordinary citizens who will wear a badge, that says, “no to corruption”, just like we wear badges of our commitment to fight HIV /AIDS, because corruption kills more people in Africa, than HIV/AIDS.
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa