By: Mohamed Sylvanus Blake, PRO-ACC
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Sierra Leone, in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Urban Transformation (FoRUT), through the People Power Movement Sierra Leone (PPM SL) platform, a consortium of reputable Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), with proven commitment to the fight against corruption, has provided one-day training for Civil Society and Human Rights Activists, Heads of Schools and Pupils in Pujehun and Bonthe Districts on the “People Power (Non Violent) Approaches in holding Duty Bearers and State Functionaries accountable, and on Understanding the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Laws and the Work of the Commission’’
The trainings which were held on the 2nd and 4th May 2023, in Pujehun and Bonthe Districts respectively, were organized with the aim to establish Chapters of the PPM in both Districts, and as such provided enough capacity to participants to be able to take on accountability and service delivery issues through non-violent means.
The one-day training workshop in Pujehun and Bonthe Districts provided the opportunity for CSOs, Heads of Schools and pupils to understand non-violent civil actions and their importance in holding duty bearers accountable, power dynamics and pillars of support in promoting accountability in every sphere of development.
ACC’s Public Relations Officer, Sylvanus Blake, in his presentation, dilated on the work of the Commission, the concept of corruption and how it relates to the activities of the public, the negative effects of corruption, practices that constitute corruption offences as contained in the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, as amended in 2019, whistle blower and informant protection scheme and the need for all to resist, reject and report corruption, gains made so far in the fight against corruption in the past five years and challenges, the expected roles and responsibilities of CSOs and the public in the fight against corruption.
Mr. Blake underscored that, the ACC has as one of its core values, forging beneficial coalitions and partnerships with institutions and agencies. He further stated that, the ACC always relies on the unflinching support and unending collaboration with all partners, amongst which are CSOs, Media and the citizens as they are pivotal to the fight against corruption. He cautioned that the ACC will only work with partners who have proven dedication to the singular objective of fighting corruption sincerely and dispassionately.
Blake encouraged his audience to reenergize and distinguish themselves by ensuring that corruption and all forms of accountability, transparency and other vices have no place to hide in their respective districts. He stated that the geometric progress Sierra Leone was making at all fronts, nationally and internationally are due to the fact that the Government of Sierra Leone, under the distinguished Leadership of President, Brigadier Retired Dr. Julius Maada Wonnie Bio, continue to display unmatched Presidential and Political will in the fight against corruption.
ACC PRO, furthered that the strong leadership displayed by Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. and Augustine Foday Ngobie, propelled by the support of the President, partners and the people of Sierra Leone is huge. He called on his audience to recognize and treat corruption as the biggest threat to Nation’s survival, which has no regard for color, tribe, region, politics and creed.
Head of Programmes FoRUT, Alhassan Jalloh, in his presentation, acknowledged the roles of CSOs in seeking for and promoting the welfare of the masses, in the face of stack difficulties. He encouraged all present to treat the knowledge provided seriously, adding that it will be of immense importance to their day-to-day work as mouthpieces of the masses.
Mr. Jalloh explained the non-violent people power pillars of support and how they work. He encouraged his audience to leverage on the training packages and take civil activism one step forward by putting into practice knowledge gained to hold duty bearers accountable.
Key action points agreed on by the participants were, the formation of PPM structures in the respective districts for collective actions to hold Duty Bearers accountable for development outcomes in the districts, serve as animators to inspire the people to demand for accountability and transparency through non-violent people power approaches, spread anti-corruption messages, and report corruption using the ACC free toll lines. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions on when and how to report suspected acts of corruption.
It could be recalled that, PPM SL was formed in 2016. It is a movement of various Civil Society Activists that seeks to promote human rights and accountability through non violent activities in Sierra Leone. Its Secretariat is hosted by FoRUT Sierra Leone.