By Minttu-Maaria Partanen
Corruption reduces overall wealth in Namibia and affects the poorest of the poor. This message was repeatedly heard yesterday at a one-day church leaders’ seminar.
The church leaders’ seminar was held in Windhoek by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in conjunction with the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) and the Association of Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches in Namibia (ACPCN).
“The spiritual consequence of corruption is that if we allow it to go unchecked, moral law disappears,” said Reverend Phillip Strydom addressing the seminar.
“There is a danger that people will be without conscience, ” stated Strydom who added that the church needs to clean first its’ own house. According to him, the church is often guilty of compromising itself. It should play the role of watchdog and speak out clearly towards the restoration of morals, he stated.
Reverend Jan Gaweseb stressed that the Government or church cannot fight corruption alone. “As a nation and country, we have to unite against the evils of corruption,” he said.
“Only those who can bribe can benefit from corruption,” said Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Raphael Dinyando, in his opening speech.
He said the Government has taken several steps in the fight against corruption.
The actions include the ratification of the United Nation’s Convention Against Corruption and the South African Development Community (SADC) Protocol Against Corruption.
Dinyando said institutions such as the ACC cannot succeed in their work without cooperation from other stakeholders.
And civil society could be central in bringing forward reforms in society and hold governments accountable.
Dinyando noted that many public institution leaders are members of the church. That is why the church is an important agent in the fight against
“The church, being closer to the people, especially the poor, is well positioned to speak against corruption and disseminate information on corruption.” He appealed to church leaders, reminding them of their responsibility to reshape attitudes towards corruption.