Wednesday, 6 January 2010

African Leaders Make Giant steps in the fight against corruption

The presidents of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Congo are raising the bar by declaring publicly their fight against corruption.

Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma became the first Head of State to declare his assets to the country's Anti-Corruption Commission. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia went one step further offering financial incentives for whistle blower to expose corrupt officials. The Ghanaian President John Atta-Mills refused to accept gift and presents from anyone; fearful that that the acceptance of such gifts might trigger a degree of expected favours in return; and Joseph Kabila fired hundreds of people accused of corruption from State Ministry and other government departments.

All four presidents have sent the vitally important message that corruption will not be accepted in any form.

The issue of corruption has long been a cancer and a shameful scourge on the African continent. Corruption has being echoed by industrialized nations as part and parcel of Africa’s culture and ideology.

African Leaders from the sub-continent have in the past horded billions of dollars into foreign bank accounts due to their lack vision of how to galvanise their people. In many parts of Africa this has lead to perpetually failure within their communities specifically in human and structural development, the ramification of which would linger for many generations to come.

Some Industrialized Nations in the north relishing this opportunity of ample cash flow for their economic development, have encouraged connive and at times turned a blind eye to corrupt leaders in the south continual plundering Africa’s wealth.

We must accept that corruption is a two way process involving a giver and a receiver which has now become a way of life for many leaders in Africa, it is estimated that corruption cost the African continent over a 150 billion dollars a year. That is money that could have been spent on health education and building up the rural economy.

As awareness of issues surrounding corruption has intensified in the world, some African nations are now beginning to change their laws to make it harder for corrupt officials to stash stolen money in foreign banks.

Presidents of Sierra Leone, Liberia Ghana and Congo have shown great courage and exemplary leadership by leading the fight against corruption for the rest of Africa to follow.

Developed Nations in the West now have a positive role to play, in promoting good governance and to monitor poorer economies.

It is time for governments of the Third World to sit up take stock and become responsible by creating jobs for their people and local communities need to engage their leaders by mobilizing public action.

Real development in Africa is unlikely to change poor people’s lives if there is not an injection of foreign direct investment into the economy and a halt to continual perpetual cycle of bad governance.