Are you noticing the shift in geo-dynamics? The Anti-Corruption Commission, Sierra Leone (ACC-SL) has become the benchmark for African countries fighting corruption. Now and again, the Commission hosts work-study teams from other parts of Africa, including the Mano River Union. They are here to understand how the Kaifala-led Commission is winning the war on corruption. From the Office of the Ombudsman of the Gambia, to the Guinean National Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Promotion Agency, the ACC-SL has played host to different institutions interested in learning how Sierra Leone is winning a seemingly unwinnable war.
The Commission is leading a new paradigm shift. Historically, Sierra Leonean institutions have been going to other parts of the continent for work-study. This emerging development can be attributed to the personality and leadership of the Commissioner, the international awards and achievements, the radical extension of the public education infrastructure of the Commission, and a political will aligned with the momentum of the masses.
Before he ascended to the rank of Commissioner of the ACC, Barrister Kaifala was a renowned human rights activist and public intellectual. The Tutu Fellow was known for using his social media handle to engage in public discourse around social justice, good governance, and democratic flow. Besides his influential presence in the digital space, Barrister Kaifala honours in-person speaking events on similar subjects. The charismatic lawyer carried this personality of his into the anti-graft agency. The Commissioner actively uses social media to inform the populace about his agency's work and still participates in speaking engagements that empower his work locally and globally. Due to his purposeful production, Barrister Kaifala continues to attract admirers at home and abroad, including the continent of Africa. The personality and leadership style of Barrister Kaifala is partly responsible for this emerging trend.
The Barrister Kaifala-led Anti-Corruption Commission has prided itself on results. The data from diverse sources speak for itself. The recent Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard shows the country’s progress in the fight against corruption for the fifth year (outshining most other countries in Africa). This has made the country eligible for the Compact Grant. Other African nations wonder, ‘how did Sierra Leone get here?’. An option they have is to come on a work-study visit.
Public education is a critical component in the three-pronged strategy of the Anti-Corruption Commission. In the era of technology, the ACC is constantly adjusting to the digital world. The Commission continually curates’ content for social media. In addition, the official website of the Commission is up-to-date. This helps people outside this county stay updated on the work of the Commission and its war on corruption.
Even though the newspaper industry is becoming increasingly disrupted by technology, the ACC has maintained a solid relationship with this media section. The Department of Public Education and External Outreach distributes articles, news items and press releases to newspaper houses. Besides the media presence, the Anti-Corruption Commission has maintained a presence on the podiums of schools, civil society associations, religious bodies, community centres, health care facilities and government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
You cannot underestimate the influence of political will in this war. Last week, at an international gathering, Commissioner Kaifala acknowledged the support he gets from the Government of Sierra Leone, specifically the President, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio. On his part, President Bio usually cites the gains made in the fight against corruption among his Government’s accomplishments. The masses have captured this momentum from the corridors of power.
It is humbling to witness the ACC-SL reversing the conversation on work-study trips. The Commission continues to play host to institutions and individuals interested in learning. Can anything good come from Sierra Leone? Come, come to the Anti-Corruption Commission and see. The country’s leading anti-graft agency is the emerging benchmark in the fight against corruption in Africa.
© Paul A. Conteh
12th December 2022