Let’s Walk the Talk

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Pohamba Urges Putting Words into Action By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK President Hifikepunye Pohamba has called on all Namibians to move a step further from voicing their support for combating corruption to actually bringing about change in behavior so that ethical living does not remain rhetoric but becomes second nature to all people. The Head of State urged citizens to promote the values of honesty, transparency and accountability in order to mould a nation and create a society free from the evils of greed, corruption and waste of the already limited national resources. Minister of Presidential Affairs, Dr Albert Kawana, who spoke on behalf of Pohamba during the official launch of the “Save Our Nation Anti-Corruption Project” song contest last Friday evening said that the historical mission of the Namibian people has always been to create a just society underpinned by the values of social justice, peace and security. Support from the masses for this cause has been evident since the launch of the Anti-Corruption Commission in February this year. “Thousands of people from across the length and breadth of our country have voiced their support for the efforts of government to root out corruption. We will have achieved our goals if the practice of honesty, transparency and accountability become the rule rather than the exception among all our people,” said Pohamba. The President said the duty of promoting good governance in Namibia is a shared responsibility. As such, efforts rendered by the private sector in fighting this social evil should be appreciated. He commended the Women’s Action for Development (WAD) for engaging in activities aimed at sensitizing and raising awareness among people of the pitfalls of dishonest behavior, misappropriation of public properties for self-enrichment and other forms of greed. Pohamba urged Namibians not to be afraid to “call a spade, a spade”, adding that the first major step that people need to take in tackling this problem is to acknowledge that corruption has reared its ugly head in the Namibian society. The undeniable fact is that corruption has a corrosive effect on society. Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Paulus Noa, at the same platform revealed that the 2005 Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index showed Namibia scoring 4.3. This makes Namibia one of the 113 countries which scored less than five out of a clean score of 10. According to Noa, if Namibia has to succeed in its quest to keep corruption under constant limit, people should focus on national strategies that put emphasis on prevention. “The public needs to be informed that they are partners in the fight against corruption. The public needs to know that they are the ultimate victims of the evil of corruption and therefore it is important that they report corruption,” he said. The ACC, Noa assured, will not discriminate against anyone, neither will it be used as a witch-hunt against innocent persons. “We investigate all complaints which are within our mandate and grind only when there is evidence to substantiate the allegations.” Noa appealed to the public to provide information that could lead to the tracing of relevant evidence. Besides, he urged the public to educate one another on the abuse of power, mismanagement of office, embezzlement of public funds and the giving or acceptance of gratification. One aspect that makes Namibia vulnerable to corrupt practices is its attitude towards access to information. “We seem to have a tendency to term every document a confidential document even when the making public of such information does not pose any threat to national security.” Noa said that when commissions of inquiry are appointed to look into certain alleged irregularities, in many instances reports are not made public, putting the citizenry at liberty to make conclusions that perhaps certain officials are being protected. Noa reminded all Namibians to contribute positively to the fight against corruption for the benefit of all.