At the opening of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Wednesday, President Paul Kagame, called upon the members of the EALA to use their positions to improve the lives of EAC citizens.
He further reminded the lawmakers that there should be zero tolerance for corruption. It is one vice that is probably the greatest hindrance to public and private sector service delivery, with adverse consequences to the welfare of the people.
When a road isn’t built, or is built in a shoddy manner, because someone took a kickback, it’s the road users and pedestrians who are at risk. When a public hospital doesn’t get enough life saving drugs because someone in the ministry has diverted the funds, or even worse when hospital staff sell those drugs, it’s the poor citizens, who can’t afford to visit a private clinic, that suffer.
When policemen and women accept bribes from errant drivers, they simply endanger the lives of road users. While corruption is often seen as a ‘victimless crime’ by the perpetrators, this isn’t the case.
EALA has a role to play in the fight against corruption. The first thing that they can do is enact an East African Anti-Corruption Bill.
Additionally, they can use their visibility as eminent citizens to launch anti-corruption campaigns and sensitize their constituents against either receiving and offering bribes or engaging in any sorts of corruption.
The fight against corruption needs everyone’s involvement and the East African legislators can take the lead.