By Edward Blake, ACC
The scourge of corruption had wreaked havoc on every facet of society during and after the world wars coming down to the struggles for self-rule by Nations Due to its ferocious posture, corruption became a thorn in the flesh that big as well as smaller nations had to meet in New York in 2003 to lay bare the face of corruption for global action. Hence the adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) that same year.
Sierra Leone had already gone ahead to institute by an Act of Parliament in 2000, a Commission whose sole responsibility shall be to fight corruption. It later joined other nations on the 9th December 2005 to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day.
But out of the chauvinistic tendencies of men in our society, inundated descriptions has been attributed to the opposite sex for decades such as; ‘ women are weaker sex’, ‘ women are empty vessels’, ‘ women should be seen not heard’, etc.
These demeaning statements however have found a reclusive position in our national discourse and the world over since the adoption of the Universal Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against women in 1967.
Agitating women’s groups and campaigns have emerged across the world which has led to the enactment of laws or policies by Governments of different countries. Sierra Leone not an exception, has signed to International and Regional Treaties to ensure Women’s rights and inclusion are safe and secured. As recent as 2019, the Government of Sierra Leone enactment three gender laws which further guarantees women of a safer space and protection.
Women before this time in Sierra Leone has had little or no say in the political governance of the country except for few, more especially when it has to do with corruption. Is it because they (women) could be seen as perpetrators, collaborators, or end users of the proceeds of Corruption?
These and many more questions have generated debates and discussions. What definitely seems to be true is that ever since the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2000, only less than 20% of Sierra Leonean women has been found guilty of corruption.
As a way of enlisting the support of women but also putting them at the center stage in the prevention, prosecution and eradication of corrupt practices, the leadership and staff of the Anti-Corruption Commission in the commemoration of this Year’s International Anti-Corruption Day, has decided to call on all Sierra Leonean women to a National Conference and Panel Discussion on the topic; “Maximizing the Role of Women in the fight against Corruption in Sierra Leone: Opportunities and Challenges.”
Concomitant with the local theme which is “Women taking Center Stage in the Fight Against Corruption”, Sierra Leone will be joining the entire world to bring together women of high repute and recognition, such as; Nicky Spencer Koker, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, Madam Hawa Samai, and Hon. Veronica Sesay to do justice to the aforesaid topic.
Worthy of note is that, the Anti-Corruption Commission under the leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala Esq., had received a mass vote of confidence from the women of this country through his Meet the People Tour Campaign during Town Hall meetings in ever district and chiefdom head quarter towns.
Ever since his appointment as Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2018, he is known to be the first Commissioner that has promoted 80% of the female staff of the Commission as Senior Officers, Managers, Deputy Directors and Directors.