Corruption is one of the most formidable challenges to good governance, development and poverty reduction in Africa. As captured in the report of Transparency International Report CPI index 2018. In this report, Gambia scored 30 and ranked 130 out of 180 among the least corrupt. Corruption undermines development, human rights and sovereignty of a nation, thus making a country and her people impoverished. While the corrupt lives ostentatiously, the masses suffocate in the poverty lines – struggling for daily meals more or less send their kids to school or provide affordable and quality health care. In Africa, Gambia in focus we celebrate corruption and glorify corrupt leaders for some reasons known to ourselves. Either by celebrating corruption out of ignorance or not conscious of the trend of corruption or choose to keep it under the carpet, in a bid to be an accomplice. As a result, it becomes a norm to be corrupt and deceit in public office. As Nelson Mandela once quote “when plunder becomes a norm for a group of people in authority, they will design a mechanism that support it and a system that glorifies it”. This is the highest form of treachery and unscrupulousness. And should be dissected from our societies for a sustained changed and socio economic development.
Mean while, corruption in Africa is like an advance cancer that has tragically devastated African societies and made millions of people very poor. As the money meant to build roads, provide health care, quality education etc is being diverted into personal covers for self enrichment by our leaders and politicians. According to the African Union (AU) around 148 US million dollars are stolen from the African continent by it’s leaders and civil servants every year. Aware of this highest sense of deception, yet we hypocritically celebrate and rally behind these criminals, vultures and misleaders. Youths, citizens and civil societies, let’s RISE UP, STAND UP & SPEAK UP against this unearned suffering meted to us by our very peoples that claim to be serving us. Who speak all the good words, and confuting promises but act in retrospect. For our country and generation is under siege. The signs of the time are clear and speaks volume of the status quo. Despite all odds, this country is ours and it’s future lies within our responsive efforts to the challenges we are facing today as a nation.
The fact of the matter is that, the list of the most corrupt nations had nine (9) out of the first 16 is coming from Africa. It’s fast alarming how deceit, unscrupulous, unjust and deceptive our leaders and public servants are. Like apparently in Gambia, a politician can be rich within 2 to 3 years in public office – while poor pay scales, unemployment, poor health care delivery, poor quality education and insufficient and reliable energy supply is plaguing our societies. Has history not taught us enough lessons? Why do we easily succumb to self aggrandizement pretexts? The making a public declaration to the powers vested on him is one kind of self aggrandizement and yet we have citizens of this land succumbing to it. A leap into authoritarianism. Such are the attitudes and behaviors our growing democracy don’t need. We expect rationale deliberations and development oriented actions and not some self establishing trajectories. Gambia is behind time for in many facets of development, and right now this country needs a focused and competent leader who have the country at heart. Partisanship will only result to fractured development ramifications in Gambia right now. While politicians are busy accumulating and galvanising support and canvassing votes, the average Gambian masses are stalked in destitution. Money meant to elevate them is being used for political rallies; meetings and futile conferences. As the African proverb states “when two elephants are fighting the grasses suffer”. Power greed is dangerous, for absolute power corrupts. Gambia needs to be weary of this statement.
Evidently, we will agree that corruption can never be normal and it’s our common enemy, we must therefore revolt against it by all means necessary. For our lives greatly depend on it. To this effect, civil societies, citizens and concerned parties of social justice, good governance, socio and economic development of their people – most act and act now against corruption. It’s our collective responsibility to reach the goal of #TheGambiaWeWant. Looking at the trending issues of our country, youths must never be allowed to be used as political vanguards and opportunists. The work we’re facing is daunting and requires true sense of nationalism and selflessness. National interest first! Let’s put the national assembly to work as civil societies to do their oversight job with out the influence of the executive. For far too long, one of the reasons why corruption and unscrupulousness is entrenched in our public offices is as a result of the flaw in checks and balances on the executive. And nd the political will to enforce laws and sanctions respectively. The moment a parliamentarian is being influenced by benefits from the other arms of govt undermine their credibility. That is why it’s crucial for civil societies to be in constant engagement with the national assembly as the oversight body for the govt. Through this, transparency and meaningful accountability will be the guiding principles of our governance.
If we do not ask questions on how we are being led, there is no certainty that we would be ever invited to the dinner table for discussions – Youths! And we are the “future premise of this country for its future prospect” J. F. K. In combating corruption in the Gambia, youths must take the lead, and ask tough questions with civility and criticality. Also it is stated in the General Recommendations of the NGO Forum on the participation of NGOs in the 63rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights: Guidelines On freedom of expression and access to information, for states to develop guidelines on best practices in combating corruption. Such provisions can be consulted and be use as a tool for our work. Let’s not be complacent with the fight against corruption, doubting that it cannot be defeated. Such attitudes and believes should be discouraged and even condemned. As corruption is not a natural phenomenon. It’s self imposed on us by our crude and kleptomaniac leaders. Corruption should be detested not appeased; it’s immoral, and should be regarded in anyway.
More so, an ill-gotten wealths by our public office holders should neither impress not entice us but scrutinise how it’s been gotten. #Viewsaremine
IT’S UP TO US! – citizens.
By _Njie lm