ACB courts faith based groups in corruption drive

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) yesterday worked to chart a new direction in the fight against corruption through the full engagement of the faith based organisations (FBOs) in Malawi.

During the meeting that took place at the Crossroads Hotel, ACB’s officials led by a Mrs. Mary Phombeya who is the graft body’s chief corruption prevention and public education officer, said they want to create a new strategy in using the men and women of the clothe in uprooting corruption, which has risen in all sectors of its eight pillars.

Jimmy Mtafya, presenting his paper, said despite that a number of strategic interventions were carried out using the FBO pillar, which is part of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) alongside the executive, legislature, civil society, media, private sector, traditional leaders, and the judiciary, there was need to create a special committee that would consolidate matters in the FBOs as far as corruption fight is concerned.

Phombeya: ACB chief public education officer

“We have carried out briefing sessions with the Christian and Muslim mother bodies, conducted trainer of trainers workshops for faith youths groups, conducted sensitization meetings and even conducted the National Anti-Corruption Day led by FBOs complete with printed anti-graft messages, but we feel this is not enough.

“The ACB suggests that we engage FBOs deeper through the creation of the Faith Based Integrity Committee (FBIC). It is our hope that once put in place, the technocrats from the faith community representative of all the six mother bodies in Malawi will bring in new vigor and required impact,” he said, in the company of George Makande.

The mother bodies, including the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM), the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM), the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), and the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) were all represented. The Quadria Muslim Association of Malawi (QMAM) was absent but sent blessings to the deliberations.

The FBO representatives embraced the FBIC initiative, but warned that they would not live a stone unturned.

“We would start within our own ranks. Corruption is everywhere. We want the ACB also to know that issues of its integrity matter a lot. We do not want to talk one thing and do another where the bureau will be seen to defend some quotas, particularly politicians,” said a participant.

Mtafya assured that the FBIC will be an important block strategy, and that it shall work as a secretariat to support all the initiatives suggested under it.

In a separate interview, M’theto Lungu who represented the MCC, said the FBIC is a vital tool that will not only concentrate ideals as stipulated in the NACS under the FBOs, but that shall provide a sure
and vibrant platform for concerted and coordinated faith-based efforts.

“I can comfortably say that the FBIC will also bridge the communication flow of relevant messages on corruption from the bureau itself to the FBOs, and then all the way trickling down to their membership. With this, there shall be one voice, one movement and one goal,” said the body’s Public Relations Officer.

Once instituted, the indaba agreed, the FBIC will consist of at least two representatives from each FBO and engage the ACB through already established structures and programmes, such as the Da’wah, YCA, SCOM, Adventist Women’s Organisation (AWO), the Pastors Fraternal and other faith-based group structures, among many others.

It will report up to the National Integrity Committee (NIC) which is made up of sector heads ovberseeing the implementation of the NACS.

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