IT WAS A GREAT UN ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY
With Odongo Odoyo
It did not occur to me what was yesterday represented in the UN world calendar until a long time professional colleague called me from a neighbouring country to remind me that one of the top man in that nation was nabbed while on the run. He was driving far away from his official jurisdiction after being accused of graft. My friend reminded me that it was the world’s Anti-Corruption Day. He reminded me that December 9th was set aside by the UN to create awareness on corruption and outline ways to combat it. The day has been observed annually since 2003. According to the UN, over ten trillion US dollars is paid in bribes and more than 20 trillion USD is stolen through corruption every year in the world. In the developing countries the UN Development Programme funds lost through corruption are estimated at ten times the official development assistance which is USD 153 bn. The statistics made available by my far-fetched friend indicates that most governments do not have the best interests of their citizens hence the prevalence of the graft. In the country of my friend, the situation is not any different. A report by Transparency International titled Corruption index 2018 released earlier this year, the country is among the most corrupt in the world. They were ranked on a scale of zero (most corrupt) to 100 (clean) which means the lower the score the more a country is perceived to be corrupt. Out of 180 countries this one tied up with another country from West Africa at 144 on a score of 27. I was getting bored with figures and these corruption take. It is for all of us to be responsible and know what our situation demand or dictate without sinking the boat in the sea. It cannot be discussed and talked without getting possible and permanent remedy. Corruption is a disease that should be fought at all levels and all costs without blinking an eye. This is how corruption and corrupt practices can be brought to a halt or manageable level because it is impossible to up-root it in the midst of the public altogether. No single country in the world can claim to be corruption-free but what matters is the degree and the application of doing so. That which brings down a country and institutions are those which directly affect the common man. Some people who are claiming to be so clean are themselves not clean even those shouting at the top of their voices through the national and international institutions. To protect the interests of the majority should take the centre stage and lead a country to ensure resources that are meant for public were not diverted for personal interests or use. A country and its leadership should and must strive to beat all odds to serve the citizens. A country can only stand firm a foundation when all its population without applied categories are treated equally, mostly in service delivery. This is possible where soberness and rule of the laws are applied. It is possible where order and sanity takes the lead. Let the UN Anti-Corruption Day remind us of our obligations to service delivery to the citizens.