By: Sylvanus Blake-Assistant PRO-ACC
Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., Sierra Leone’s outstanding Anti-Corruption Commissioner has on 16th September, 2022, been awarded a fellow of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellowship for Young African Leaders at the Oxford University in the United Kingdom. This award-and his formal adoption into the famous pro-African Development Tutu Young Leaders family- came on Thursday 3rd March 2022, when he was diligently recognized amongst twenty-five (25) selected young leaders for Africa’s most prestigious leadership programme.
The fellowship was birthed on the 12th November 2012, when the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, as he was presented with a one-off special award from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation during its annual governance weekend in Dakar Senegal;“Young people really are dreamers. They dream of a better kind of world,"Addressing young people, he said; ‘’Don't be affected by the cynicism of 'oldies' like us. Go ahead and dream of a different kind of world. How can we continue to spend billions on instruments of death and destruction when a small part of that could ensure children everywhere have clean water? You, young people, are our hope."This inspirational charge, coupled with the trailblazing and exemplary work of the Archbishop, heralded the Fellowship that has already distinguished itself since its inception.
With the support of Oxford University, the African Leadership Institute (AFLI), which was founded in 2003 by African-born Rhodes Scholar Peter Wilson and Sean Lance, a renowned international business leader, developed the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme as the continent’s premier leadership programme. The programme was created with the understanding that introspection and self-awareness are foundational to great leadership. The programme presents participants with the international perspective required of Africa’s future leaders.
The Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme in its attempt to build a new network of African leaders, who together are committed to tackling their countries’ most stubborn problems, selects between 20 to 25 exceptional young African leaders from various key sectors of society for a thrilling leadership experience sharing and training programme.The flagship programme of the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship offers a multifaceted learning experience under the African Leadership Institute (AFLI) and is run in partnership with Oxford University.
In a famous quote of the Archbishop, he said; "I look to you to be the generation that drives the transformation of Africa, and I particularly look to the Archbishop Tutu Fellows to be at the forefront of change." On and off the continent of Africa, a huge expectation is placed on “Tutu Children” (Fellows of the Desmond Tutu Leadership Programme), a hall of fame to which our very own Francis Ben Kaifala has been meritoriously awarded and adopted.
His award and adoption followed two weeks intensive learning and broadening of experiences on the principles and application of leadership, and an opportunity to explore the issues and specific characteristics of leadership in Africa, as well as the global challenges and dimensions of an African leader that took place at the Oxford University in September 2022. Before that, the selected leaders had met in South Africa in April 2022 for similar experience-sharing and learning events.
Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. is the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission Sierra Leone who was appointed by President Julius Maada Bio in June 2018. He is also currently an elected Board Member of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) and the Regional Representative of West Africa on the Executive Committee of the Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities in Africa (AAACA).
During his slightly over four years of leadership at the ACC, he has won several awards and accolades including the US State Department's “International Anti-Corruption Champion 2020“; 50 Influential Young Global Leaders” by the Global Initiative for Good Leadership; Africa’s “Obama Africa Leader 2019”; “West Africa’s Young person of the Year 2019” by Confederation of West African Youths; “Public Servant of the Year 2019” by the AWOL (National Achievement Awards); Alumni of the Year, Queen Mary University in 2021, among many others.
Ben Kaifala’s leadership at the ACC has been embodied by a zealous and fearless but fair campaign against corruption that has changed the narrative and reshaped Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption trajectory. The deleterious and stagnated ratings that Sierra Leone used to score in every credible international anti-corruption scorecard like the Millennium Challenge Corporation scorecard, Transparency International-Corruption Perception Index, Afro-barometer, etc. have positively changed since 2018. Sierra Leone is no longer referred to as the bastion of corruption, as tangible and concrete actions are being taken against corruption and the corrupt- and the results are awesome. The country’s conviction rate on cases charged to court since 2018 stands at over 90%, and the recovery of stolen wealth and assets stands at a historic mind-blowing amount of over Le:34 Billion (old Leones), a duplex in Koidu-Kono District, government vehicles etc. Additionally, comprehensive and accountable actions against all concerns raised in all Audit Reports produced since 2018 are there for all to see, coupled with corruption prevention work in all Local Councils and Ministries Departments and Agencies.
It is no surprise for this young man to continue to break records and set new ones. Like Chinua Achebe wrote in his celebrated literature, “Things Fall Apart, "If a child washed his hand, he could eat with kings." Ben Kaifala has distinguished himself, and the laurels and approbations cannot just stop flooding in.
Congratulations, Francis Ben Kaifala! Congratulations, ACC! Congratulations, Mama Salone!
©Public Relations Unit, ACC