Recent developments in several countries including South Africa and neighbouring Brazil have demonstrated that corruption and perceptions of corruption can change the power dynamics in politically significant ways.
The ruling ANC in South Africa is now divided over allegations of corruption and graft on the part of ANC leader and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma and former President of Brazil Lula has been hauled before the courts on allegations of corruption.
It matters little whether or not these corruption charges are concoted to do political harm to leaders and the party they represent. Some dirt is bound to stick, which could prove costly as in the case of South Africa where the once powerful ANC under Nelson Mandela has now lost significant support in the last general elections from among some of its diehard supporters.
This is why it is important for leaders to conduct their political and personal lives in a manner that is transparent and free from perceptions of grandeur and extravagance. There is tremendous political capital that could be derived from simple and ordinary lifestyles on the part of political leaders. In the words of the late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Min, political morality matters. A good leader subordinates his own interests for the overall good of the society.