Activists call for unity in fight against corruption

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By Omar Bah

As the world commemorates International Anti-Corruption Day, the Gambia Participates and African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC) – The Gambia Chapter have issued statements calling for unity against corruption.

The Gambia was ranked 102 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International

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In a statement shared with The Standard, Gambia Participates executive director, Marr Nyang, said: “On International Anti-Corruption Day, we would like to reiterate the slow anti-corruption efforts in The Gambia. One of the key missing puzzles in the country’s transitional justice process is anti-corruption legislation and government-led action efforts to prevent, detect and sanction corruption acts.”

Mr Nyang said democracy building goes in parallel with anti-corruption measures because corruption undermines and weakens democratic institutions, corruption is anti-economic growth and human development, and lack of measures widens avenues for grand corruption in government with impunity.  

“We are in an emergency of corruption that requires urgent political will and legislative action to address the grand and systemic corruption in the country. The fight against corruption in the Gambia must not continue to be just rhetoric, it requires political will and action,” he added.

In a special plea to the executive and legislators, Mr Nyang noted that the country has achieved a lot in building a democratic state in the past five years, but these achievements are gradually deteriorating due to the absence of anti-corruption efforts.

“For there to be meaningful anti-corruption efforts, the establishment of a strong and independent anti-corruption commission should be given urgent attention,” he added.

For their part, the African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption said The Gambia is not spared from the menace of corruption.

“It has negatively impacted our society and grossly undermined our social and economic development as a nation. As leaders, our constituents continue to wallow in abject poverty and struggle to receive basic services from the government while they continue to pay tax,” APNAC said.

According to the continental body, the legal and institutional frameworks are grossly inadequate to support like-minded individuals and institutions that seek to fight against “this anomaly”.

“We implore the duty-bearers to do the needful in order to bring back the most talked about Anti-corruption Bill 2020 for enactment by the Assembly. As part of the least-developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, we must do whatever it takes to change the status-quo. We cannot attain our national development targets and the Sustainable Development Goals without preventing corruption, promoting transparency and strengthening our institutions.

“We feel the plight of the underprivileged who are denied access to their fundamental rights to education, health care and social protection due to corruption and siphoning of our meagre resources to individual gains against our collective interest,” the statement added.