African MPs Unite against Corruption

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK A high-level delegation from the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC) recently paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the National Assembly Theo-Ben Gurirab to enlist support from MPs in the fight against graft. The three-member team headed by its chairperson Augustine Ruzindana said the network representatives stated that their objective was to coordinate and to strengthen the capacity of African parliamentarians to fight graft and promote good governance. The other two network members who met Gurirab were senior programme officer Charity Wakaba and APNAC representative for the Southern African Development Community Mozambican parliamentarian Eduardo Namburete. The general sentiment was that the network would like Namibia to come on board in the fight against corruption. “APNAC is about sensitising parliamentarians about how they can control and fight corruption. Most African parliaments don’t use good governance as a tool to fight corruption,” explained Ruzindana. The network was founded in Kampala, Uganda in 1999 during a regional seminar with the theme “Parliament and Good Governance Towards a New Agenda for Controlling Corruption in Africa.” It was then acknowledged that strengthening systems of accountability, transparency and public participation in the governance process of African nations could best control corruption. Ruzindana said it was only through information-sharing that Africa as a continent can fight the cancer of corruption, and Namibia was no exception. A recent study by the network revealed that in most African countries, there are deficiencies and loopholes in the legal framework when it comes to stamping out corruption. It was discovered there was no protection for whistleblowers. It was stated during the visit that there was a need for corruption impact studies in order to assess how pervasive this “cancer” is in the continent. In response, Speaker Gurirab commended APNAC for taking the bull by the horns and stressed the importance of fighting corruption collectively. “We must fight against corruption and learn from where progress has been made. Progress has however been slow in developing countries where some countries are affected by opportunistic self-enrichment,” stated Gurirab. He added that corruption was fast gaining momentum in the country and it was against this background that President Hifikepunye Pohamba had personally decided to lead the crusade against corruption. Namibia would consider APNAC’s proposal and the team was informed the issue would soon be referred to Cabinet for discussion. APNAC is currently governed by an elected gender exclusive executive council with 18 established national chapters (or branches) in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other countries that will come into the fold are South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Botswana.

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