Political will key in combating corruption – Experts

Corruption can be made history on the African continent if the political leadership could display reasonable commitment by leading the anti-corruption crusade and empowering anti-corruption institutions.

Corruption can be made history on the African continent if the political leadership could display reasonable commitment by leading the anti-corruption crusade and empowering anti-corruption institutions.

This was resolved in the two-day meeting attended by Anti-corruption experts that ended Tuesday, at Hotel Des Mille Collines in Kigali.

Participants singled out lack of political will on the part of governments as the leading cause of corruption in Africa.

The meeting attended by over 50 delegates including 20 heads of national and leading anti-corruption organisations from across the continent, called for the empowerment of the judicial authorities and establishment of special courts to handle corruption cases.

The high level meeting organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Anti-Corruption Office in New York, also resolved among other things, that governments allocate more funds towards anti-corruption initiatives.

However, the final draft report of the meeting suggested that the suggestion of establishing these courts be reconsidered due to lack of capacity.

“The recommendation of establishing special courts should be reconsidered as courts are very few and only few people in Africa have access to justice. Designating special courts for anti-corruption offences may stretch the capacity of courts in Africa,” the Draft Report drawn by the Kigali Meeting reads in part.

Special courts are part and parcel of the need to build stronger institutions that can ensure the deterrence of corruption.

It was noted that stronger and functional institutions with good regulatory mechanisms can be key in reducing corruption.

The experts also called for autonomy of National anti-corruption bodies to make them more effective as well as the need for alliances with different stakeholders in the anti-corruption campaign including the Parliament, Civil Society, media and the workforce.

Addressing a Joint Press Conference at the end of the meeting, the UNECA Representative, Said Adejumobi, commended Rwanda for being on the right course in the Anti-corruption campaign and having a positive attitude towards fighting the cancer that corruption is.

He added that corruption on the continent is an entirely multi-faceted African problem and should be solved by Africans themselves using African solutions.

Also considered as key in the battle against corruption are values, morals and culture among African societies which are devoid of selfishness.

The need for greater public education on moral uprightness and exemplary leadership was also emphasised.

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