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Effects of Non-Compliance With Laws Inn the Lesotho Passport Management"Introduction" Chapter

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¶ … Non-Compliance

The Effects of Lesotho Passport Corruption

For most people, Lesotho represents a country of tranquil beauty and that rugged sense of culture that is difficult to find in many areas of the world. Often referred to as the "Kingdom of the Sky," the country represents a microcosm of the different issues that are being wrestled with throughout the region. (Wicksteed 2007, pg. 39) as its only neighbor, South Africa would have a dramatic impact upon various issues and how they would affect the country. Over the years, this would cause Lesotho to experience similar kinds of challenges. One of the most recent, has been the extreme amounts of corruption that have been taking place. Simply put, this is a moral deterioration in government officials, who will demand various personal benefits to engage in certain activities (bribes and kickbacks). If the situation is left unchecked it can work similar, to a cancer that will eat away at the foundations of the country and the government itself. (Sarre 2004, pp. 85 -- 98) a good example of this can be seen in the area of passport regulations. Where, the overall amounts of corruption among government officials have become so severe, that ordinary citizens are having to pay bribes, to receive their passports. This situation has become so extreme, that many people have begun to take matters into their own hands. Evidence of this can be seen by looking no further than, a riot that took place at the Leribe Passport office. What happened was, a group of citizens wanted to receive their passports from various government officials. When they refused to provide them with their passports, a riot broke out, forcing the police to intervene. After the incident, Assistant Home Affairs Minister Lineo Molise-Mabusela forced officials to resume their duties. With her saying, "Passport officers should do their work and serve the nation. What the people did by attacking them was not right. But it could not have happened if they did their job appropriately." (Angry Mob Attack Passport Officers 2010) This is significant, because it shows how the overall amount of corruption have become so severe, that the lowest government officials are demanding various bribes and kickbacks, just to do their jobs. The situation has become so extreme, that people are now resorting to riots and mob mentality as a way to vent their frustrations. As a result, some kind of action must be taken to address the underlying problems with the passport system and the corruption surrounding it. At which point, an effective strategy must be utilized to provide a way of delivering passports to legitimate citizens that need them. To determine how to achieve this objective a study will be conducted by: examining the underlying issues with the passport system, the role that corruption is playing, how this has created various international incidents / rifts and what can tools / tactics can be utilized to rectify the situation. Together, these different elements will highlight the overall scope of the problem and what steps must be taken to mitigate the effects.

Background and Reason for the Study

Because Lesotho is surrounded by South Africa, means that all of the different raw materials and goods must be transported into the country. This is problematic, because the large amounts of commerce that is being conducted, increases the possibility that passport fraud could be occurring in some form. If this is allowed to continue, it could jeopardize the economic well being of the country, as the inability to separate the counterfeit and legitimate passports will lead to dramatic delays at the border. A good example of this happened not long ago, when the South African government would no longer allow entry based upon temporary permits. This was problematic because, it caused long delays at the border and forced a number of businesses to face major challenges. Commenting about what happened the Private Sector Foundation President Osman Moosa said, "Even though the situation is now more stable, it did disrupt business in the country. Some of the losses are irreversible. The Lesotho passenger and freight transportation business has been adversely affected where drivers who have been using temporary travel documents are now unable to cross the border until they obtain passports. Freight transport that carries Lesotho's major economic earner, textiles, destined for shipping at South African ports has also been delayed by long queues as even drivers with passports and are now required to scan their passports." (Selebalo 2010) This is important, because it shows how the issue of passports for crossing the border is becoming a requirement of living in Lesotho. Where, an increasing number of citizens need their passports to be able to work and conduct business in South Africa. The fact that South African government could change the requirements for crossing the border is: an ominous sign that passports are not widely available to ordinary citizens. At the same time, the news that the Lesotho government was working in conjunction with UK government, to root out fraudulent uses of its passports by non-citizens, highlights the overall amounts of corruption in the bureaucracy. As criminals who are not citizens, are allowed to receive a Lesotho passport. While law abiding citizens, are forced to endure delays and bureaucratic red tape, because they wanted government officials to do their jobs. This is problematic, because the Lesotho passports are being used by various criminal enterprises to commit a variety of crimes in the UK to include: fraud, terrorism and theft. The fact that these passports are being used for illegal activities highlights, how the underlying issue of corruption and passport fraud are interconnected. Where, the overall amounts of corruption will inevitably lead to increased cases of passport fraud. (Lesotho News 2010) This is because various criminal enterprises can pay off some government official and be able to create new identities. If these incidents are allowed to continue, it could mean that the economic security of Lesotho could be in jeopardy. As a crisis involving the use of one of these passports, will cause the South African authorities to close the border. If this happens it could be the equivalent of economic starvation. To mitigate extreme situations like this from occurring requires: being able to identify the overall levels of corruption in government officials, how this is contributing to the problems surrounding passports and what steps can be taken to rectify the situation. As a result, the research study is seeking to identify how the culture of corruption in Lesotho, is contributing to these issues.

Formulation of the Research Problem

Lesotho has been following a similar trend as the rest of Africa, by trying to establish some form of accountability in the government. Where, there have been initial positive first steps of creating an anti-corruption division. Yet, when you look beyond these small steps, it is clear that this is not addressing the overall culture of corruption that has encompassed the government. This is problematic, because if anti-corruption efforts fail, then the country will continue to go down the same road. At the heart of the issues of corruption, are the various problems surrounding the country's passports. With the government phasing out, various work permits and requiring citizens, to use passports to enter South Africa. Recently, there have been efforts to increase the backlog of passports. However, this was accomplished after large amounts of frustration and many heated confrontations between citizens and government officials. The real key going forward is: can the government break the atmosphere of corruption in these different ministries. Since obtaining a passport has been filled, with large amounts of corruption, means that this will be testing the resolve of government officials, to effectively break the culture of corruption that exists. The research will focus on ways to reduce various amounts of corruption in the process of obtaining a passport. If the government can be able to address this daunting challenge, then they have a possibility of breaking the overall atmosphere of corruption that exists. This study will examine the effectiveness of the current strategy and if it can be able to reduce the underlying amounts of corruption. (Weed Out Corruption 2010)

Formulation of a Hypothesis

When you consider the fact that Lesotho is seeing high amount of corruption surrounding the issue of passports, means that this is a threat to the economic and national security of the country. Where, various elements will have access to the highest levels of the government, for a price. If this situation is not rectified, it will create a disconnect in society, as ordinary citizens must be able to provide for themselves and their families, yet are unable to do so. This is because the regulations of having a passport, prohibits them from achieving this objective. If this is allowed to continue it means that the political instability of the 1990's could return. (Lesotho 2010) as the people are becoming restless about receiving the documents they need for traveling back and forth. Therefore, two… [END OF PREVIEW]

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