Two communities from the Western Area Rural, Wilberforce and Sorie Town were targeted. The CGG says they want to aid participants to bridge the information gap between the government and citizens; in order to bring about better service delivery and explain the role of the open government initiative.
The organizers said many people are aware of the fact that corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit which may include many activities including bribery and embezzlement, though it may also involve practices that are legal in many countries.
Government, or ‘political’, corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain and Sierra Leone has considered one of the worst corrupted countries Africa.
The participants examined various forms in which corruption takes place at community level.
Corruption is considered and can occur on different scales such as small favors between a small number of people (petty corruption), corruption that affects the government on a large scale (grand corruption), and corruption that is so prevalent that it is part of the everyday structure of society, including corruption as one of the symptoms of organized crime.
Recent reforms within the Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone have extended the Commission’s powers and significantly contributed to improving its capacity to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
Emerging civil society activism, an outspoken media and the support of the international community, the organizers suggest, are promising factors accompanying this positive trend as almost 10 years after the end of the civil war, Sierra Leone continues to face major challenges of weak governance, widespread poverty and systemic corruption. The CGG noted that anti-corruption institutions lack resources, staff and expertise.
Corruption in Africa streams up from the street sweepers, office messengers to the top. Sierra Leone like many of the African countries, the participants noted, continues to reap the bad effects of corruption; rebel war, ethno-religious violence, election rigging, political assassinations, economic sabotage, brain drain, etc.
The prime question still remains – where do we go from here? The CGG suggests that empowering citizens as watchdogs can help immensely in the fight against corruption.
Founded in 1996, the CGG is a local non-governmental organization formed to increase citizens’ participation in governance through advocacy, capacity building and civic education; in order to build a more informed civil populace and a democratic State.