By Sulaiman B. Sowa
Harnessing the power of communities against corruption is crucial in preventing corruption. In many communities, citizens lack the courage to call out the corrupt or raise corruption-related issues of same in their communities.
As part of its mandate, the Eastern Region office of the Anti-Corruption (ACC) has engaged chiefdom authorities and community people in Levuma town, Kandu Leppiama Chiefdom, Kenema District, on community mobilization against corruption. The engagement took place at the community court barray in Levuma.
ACC’s Senior Public Education Officer, Sulaiman B. Sowa, said that social accountability empowers citizens to detect corruption and counter same in the provision of service delivery to the public.
He said that communities can use their collective action capacities to promote transparency and accountability in projects and programs intended to benefit their communities. He encouraged the people to participate in developmental programs in their communities and own them to prevent corruption, noting that corruption hampers development and the provision of social services.
Mr. Sowa dilated on citizens’ voice as a central component of social accountability. He said when citizens speak out on corruption issues, others are afraid to indulge in same for fear of community reprisal against them. He urged people to do social audits by monitoring community projects for the benefit of their community.
The Senior Public Education Officer said that the bottom-top-approach in the fight against corruption in the community is pivotal in ensuring that leaders judiciously use the resources entrusted to them for community development. He concluded by soliciting community support in the fight against corruption.
Responding on behalf of the Paramount Chief of Kandu Leppiama chiefdom, Micheal K. Gbondo, Chiefdom Speaker, said the engagement was educative and informative in equal measure.
He said community people are central to local development initiatives and can be agents in the fight against corruption. He said in spite of the low revenue generation in the chiefdom due to intra-town disputes, they are using the little funds generated to facilitate developments programs for the benefit of the community. He urged citizens to speak out against issues of corruption in their communities.
Councillor of Ward 30 in Kandu Leppiama chiefdom, Vandi Musa said that as local authorities, it is their duty to facilitate community development and be held accountable to the people. He urged all to mobilise as a community against corruption for local development.