There is need for change of mindset among Rwandans regarding the fight against corruption if the country is to become corruption-free.
This message was echoed by different officials on Tuesday during the launch of an anti-corruption week organised as part of the ongoing Police Week activities for 2017.
The event was attended by the youth from schools around Kigali, public transporters, local government officials as well as national leaders.
Officials said that, while Rwanda is ranked among the least corrupt countries in Africa and worldwide by global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI), a lot needs to be done to ensure corruption does not derail the current pace of national development.
In January this year, the global Corruption Perception Index, produced by Transparency International, ranked Rwanda the third least corrupt country in Africa and the 50th globally.
However, the Transparency International Rwanda’s 2016 Bribery Index shows that corruption rate went up from 17.5 per cent last year to 24.4 per cent.
It showed that over Rwf35 billion was embezzled in public institutions from which Rwf13 billion was only in local government institutions in the year 2014-15.
Speaking at the event, Ombudsman Aloysia Cyanzayire said it was time Rwandans made individual and collective commitment to fight corruption and promote the culture of integrity among Rwandans.
“There is need to build systems and devise measures that make the costof corruption and embezzlement of public funds so high,” she said.
She called for the public and justice sector to avoid the negative solidarity where some still protect people who are involved in corruption.
According to Marie Immaculée Ingabire, the chairperson of TI Rwanda, corruption derails national development, promotes incompetency, erodes respect and undermines good governance.
“There are people who say that it is not their responsibility to fight corruption thinking that there are institutions to deal with it; however, this is everyone’s responsibility and this is the only way the vice can be uprooted,” she said.
Inspector General of Police Emmanuel Gasana hailed the partnership that exists between various stakeholders in the fight against graft.
He said there is still need to do more as corruption cases still manifest.
Over the past two years, he said, police has handed over 700 cases of corruption to prosecution.
Of these, were 42 police officers.
“Each one of us has a role to play in the fight against corruption and to make Rwanda a corruption-free country,’’ he said.
The campaign will see police in collaboration with different stakeholders traverse the country raising awareness about corruption.