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More seriousness is needed in fighting corruption: Step-up all current efforts
Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)
December 09, 2010

As we celebrate the Anti-Corruption Day, we should remind ourselves of the devastating effects of corruption on development. The realization of its shattering effects should motivate us to strengthen our efforts towards fighting it. Research has confirmed that corruption:

  • Negatively affects progress/efforts towards national development priorities and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at large
  • Affects the poor more than the rich;
  • Causes wars and conflicts;
  • Undermines the rule of law, human rights and democracy, to name a few

That said, governments, donor community and other stakeholders should know that undertaking poverty eradication or alleviation intervention without simultaneously fighting corruption, will not achieve much. Gains made will be reversed through corruption and this makes it important to mainstream anti-corruption efforts in development interventions.

It is acknowledged that a number of anti-corruption interventions are being carried globally. However, cases of corruption are still rampant and some of the culprits are senior people in society and some in governments. Some anti-corruption bodies do not seem to be eager to investigate them and this sends wrong signals on the commitment of governments in fighting the scourge of corruption.

Whilst celebrating this day ACT-Southern Africa urges all stakeholders to be involved in fighting corruption since it is everyone's responsibility to do so.

  • Governments have the responsibility of putting in place anti-corruption laws and policies aimed at combating and preventing corruption. If these laws and policies are either not in place, ineffective or not being enforced, this casts doubt into the seriousness of governments in fighting corruption.
  • Some countries that have signed and ratified anti-corruption treaties such as the SADC Protocol against Corruption , the AU Convention on preventing and combating corruption and UN Convention against corruption to name a few, are urged to implement them to the fullest. And, all those that have not signed and ratified are urged to do so.
  • The SADC, AU and UN should not only facilitate the drafting, adoption, signature and ratification of treaties but should also be instrumental in supporting and ensuring that State parties effectively implement them. Many countries signed and ratified these treaties but there is no change on the ground.
  • In line with the above, a shining example is the SADC that has not put in place institutional arrangements for the implementation of the SADC Protocol against Corruption. Article 11 of the SADC protocol calls for the establishment of a Committee through which the protocol should be implemented. These arrangements are not in place and SADC is encouraged to expedite process towards the setting up of this committee;
  • The private sector, including the business community should also play a critical role in fighting corruption. The UN Global Compact principles/guidelines provide a good starting point on how the business community can contribute towards these noble efforts; and
  • Members of the public have an important role to play too. They can play the watch-dog role whilst at the same time desisting from paying bribes. In a mini-assessment carried out by ACT-Southern Africa in November 2010, it was observed that drivers were offering bribes to traffic police officers in Namibia and Zimbabwe. By refusing to pay, the public will significantly contribute towards a corrupt free environment.

Visit the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa fact sheet

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