Major stakeholders of Peyah Community in Nimiyama chiefdom, Kono district have resolved to contribute to the fight against corruption in the country. The commitment was made during a sensitization outreach meeting organized by the Public Education and Outreach Unit of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) office in the district.
The activity answered to the Commission’s devotion to creating awareness on corruption among public actors and communities across the country with the hope that massive sensitization would trigger active public support to thwart the scourge, according to Edward N. Blake who served as Chair of the engagement.
Mr. Blake, who is also Public Education Officer attached to the ACC office in the district, said in his opening statement that every community in the country deserves to be fully informed about corruption. Emphasizing on the point that knowledge empowers, he encouraged the community stakeholders to grasp and accept the anti-corruption gospel for the good of all citizens and posterity. He outlined how corruption has devastated the country, giving crystal-clear illustrations that rural communities have borne the brunt much more. Blake however assured the community leaders that the ACC is “determined to subdue the corrupt and bring them to book in the interest of the people.”
Mr. Blake said that it was high time citizens held their public officers accountable. Nevertheless he lamented that, in most cases than not, rural community dwellers find difficulty asking about what is due them largely due to lack of knowledge and information. But he assuaged the fears of these local leaders by telling them that they bear responsibility to demand public officials in their community to work in their interest.
In order to effectively communicate the anti-corruption message, Aiah Sourie, Public Education Officer, preferred using the first language–Kono–of the stakeholders when he gave his contribution. He urged them to define corruption with examples. And the technique paid off well particularly for those who found Krio challenging.
Sourie took his audience through the achievements of the Commission and its dedication to seeking quality public service delivery to the citizens, irrespective of whether they live in urban or rural communities. He further said that a community is organic and should be seen to work as that particularly in fighting against corruption.
One way to battle corruption, Sourie advanced, is to resist, reject and report the social ill by using 515 on either Orange or Africell mobile networks. He guaranteed that the community would have its reports on corruption responded to and treated with high confidentiality. ‘You need to marshal the strength you have to help defeat corruption in your community and the country at large by reporting,’ he said.
Responding to the ACC, Chief Aiah Paul Mayamba, said on behalf of his people that, he appreciated the engagement mainly because the community had not been informed about corruption before. He pledged he would spread the message to the rest of the community to fight against corruption.
‘Public services are provided in your community, and it is important to let you know that you need not pay bribes to access them.’ This was stated by Patrick Hinga George, SSN District Monitor, who displayed and explained the meaning of the IEC materials as the engagement came to a close.