INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY 2022
By: Alex A. Bah, Communications Officer, ACC
On the 31st October, 2003, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) was passed, which also notably marked the 9th December every year, as the International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD). This convention that though came into force in December 2005, was informed by the commitments that nations made at the United Nations General Assembly, to tackle this menacing terror – corruption that continues to infect and affect the socio-economic fibers of societies.
On the global stage, this year’s IACD marks the start of efforts towards the 20th anniversary since the notable convention came into being in 2003. Thus, this year’s commemoration will seek to highlight the crucial link between the fight against corruption and peace, security, and that of development. At the heart of this year’s commemoration also, is notably the advancement of the notion that the consciousness of tackling corruption is both the right and responsibility of all persons, regardless. It also emphasizes the importance of collective efforts that can be achieved through healthy, active and sustained cooperation, and the involvement of each and every person and institution to address the damaging effects of the scourge.
In cascading this into our national context, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) underscores the crucial role all persons in society should play to forestall this anomaly – corruption. To this end, this year’s IACD is premised on recognizing and re-echoing the critically important role that persons with disability can and should play in fighting corruption. This strongly emphasizes and reaffirms the efforts of the ACC in building sustained cooperation with all shades of society.
With the past two years commemorations, premised on; Role of Women, and Role of Youths, respectively, this year’s is in recognition of the Significant Role of Persons with Disability (PWDs) in curbing graft. Worthy to note, these inclusions over the years, have also been supported by partnerships forged and Memoranda of Understanding signed with well over 50 good governance institutions, youth groups, civil society organizations, the media, among others.
The 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, Section 27 (2), subject to other corresponding provisions, notes that “…no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority”. Part V of the Disability Act also outlines the enshrined rights and privileges of PWDs. The ACC has its Disability Policy developed and adopted in 2020 under its current leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala. What underpins its formulation and adoption is to “reaffirm the Commission’s commitment to fostering and supporting a diverse workforce and to integrate equal opportunity for persons with disabilities into the Commission’s policies, procedures, decisions and operations and to eliminate all sorts of barriers in the exercise of their full rights and abilities to participate in achieving the strategic goal of the Commission,” as noted in the policy.
In as much as the ACC has that policy to support, safeguard and promote the rights of PWDs within its workspace, it also recognizes the importance of having them to actively support and promote integrity and the fight against corruption.
In the words ofLouis Braille, a French Educator and the Inventor of the braille reading and writing system for visually impaired persons, noted that,“We must be treated as equals – and communication is the way we can bring this about”. This year’s IACD is fundamentally hinged on discussing and incorporating PWDs as critical players in curbing graft, raise awareness, stimulate their consciousness and enlist their support in this holy a war.
World Bank Report says that One Billion people which is 15% of the total world’s population, experience some form of disability, more so in developing countries that disability prevalence is even higher. These people are often disproportionately affected by adverse socio-economic impact which are result of endemic corruption. They are often more reliant on public services and public goods and have limited or no means at all to sought alternative services, largely due to the lack of resources, knowledge and capacity to seek redress and remedies. In Sierra Leone, PWDs constitutes over 10% of the total demography. This huge percentage is fundamentally informed by the unwanted fruits of the decade long bloody civil unrest that characterized it with devastating consequences.
Nobel Prize Laurette, Saul Bellow once observed that; “It was probably no accident that it was the cripple Hephaestus who made ingenious machines; a normal man didn’t have to hoist or jack himself over hindrances by means of cranks, chains and metal parts. Then it was in the line of human advancement that Einhorn could do so much.” This shows how powerful and limitless a person is regardless of some form of disability that every man is susceptible to. The fight against corruption is a collective fight to sanitize society that will be conducive and wherewithal for all, and disabled yet very abled people are key players.
©Public Relations Unit, ACC