Professor Patrick Lock Otiento Lumumba, a renowned anti-corruption activist from Kenya, has advised that the country’s graft busting body should be operating in a free, fair and credible manner if corruption is to be eliminated.
Lumumba, who is Director at Kenya School of Law and once served as director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission before he was removed under controversial circumstances, was speaking in Lilongwe on Thursday as a panellist during the National Anti-Corruption Conference.
He said corruption should be fought “from the top” and bringing to justice all those named in corruption reports to deter other would be offenders.
In his presentation on ‘Corruption: the bane of Africa’, Lumumba said corruption stifle development and that is one of the key drivers of under development in all societies and it has also been responsible for the breakdown of society’s moral fibre destroying all sectors on its path.
“In the countries where there is political will there is also lack of institutional strength. The most important thing about fighting corruption is to have leadership from the top. The tone must be set by the President,” he said.
“Then it is set by leaders of institutions such as the Judiciary, the Legislature and all the leaders and all the institutions,” added Lumumba.
The Kenyan said all citizens have a role to play in the fight against corruption.
Lumumba said he told President Peter Mutharika to be in the lead to fight corruption and that “he must be a crusader.”
He proposed the establishment of a special corruption court to speed up prosecution and disposal of graft cases.
Lumumba also said education can be used “to redeem the upcoming generation that 18 years from today there will be a generation which does not indulge in corruption.”
The National conference has been organized by government to seek views from all stakeholders on how corruption can be eradicated.
But critics say “it’s too little too tale.”
In an editorial comment of leading daily newspaper, The Nation, the paper said the conference does not look like the tool that will provide the pathway to tame corruption which is endemic in the country.
The paper also backs the idea of an independent Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) which is “under the armpits of the Executive, which is itself perceived as ill-equipped to fight the vice going by the country’s standing on the perception index internationally.”
It pointed out that the theme of the conference ‘Corruption in Malawi: Freality or perception’ is a misnomer.
“With the high levels of corruption domiciled in the country, especially in public institutions, we should not be wasting our few resources debating whether the vice exists in the country,” said the editorial comment.
It stated that corruption in Malawi “stinks”.
“We long put on the shelf to gather dust the Corrupt Practices Act and the National Anti Corruption Strategy – the two key tool we should have ably used to deal with corruption if there was a strong political will to do so,” reads the comment.
And the paper reported the findings of the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs that most Malawians see the fight against corruption as lacking action because not much is being done to investigate suspected corrupt individuals in corridors of power.
In the paper, ‘The Fight Against Corruption in Malawi’, the ministry said it discovered that Malawians also feel that politicians use the fight against corruption as a tool to victimise opponents.
It also revealed that political parties’ funding is a fertile ground for condoning and promoting corrupt practices.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu speaking at the conference on Thursday said his ministry has been carrying out consultations on how the country can fight corruption and this afford an opportunity for stakeholders to voice out their views and input in the fight.
The Minister said Conference; the first of its kind in the country symbolizes government’s commitment to ensuring that there is a corruption free society.
ACB Director Lucas Kondowe said much as the Bureau has operational independence, it lacks financial independence making it one of the major challenges in the fight against corruption.
Lumumba said he “sympathies” with ACB boss, saying the graft-busting body “can only be the lead agency, not the resolver of all problems.”
He said the role of ACB is “prevention, investigation and prosecution” but that is as far as their powers go.
However, Lumumba said “corruption must be fought on the basis of sound laws and sound institutions.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :