The Accountability Lab Liberia, a non-governmental institution keeping watch on activities of people in the public and private sectors, has announced its 2021 Integrity Icon Award to name Liberia’s most honest public servants who have served with integrity.
The launch is aimed at establishing an eight-month campaign process which is expected to begin with the nomination of public servants across Liberia through a rigorous and thorough vetting process. It will involve a panel of three judges to narrow the nominees to the best five winners. The vetting process enable the Accountability Lab to certify that the winner embody the values of integrity, transparency and acceptability.
The Integrity Icon is an annual campaign that has existed for the last seven years in Liberia and has proven extremely popular, especially in a post midterm election when the citizens are thinking about the importance of integrity within government.
It has over the years recognized and celebrated 30 icons from several government ministries, agencies, and commissions including Education, Health, Rule of Law, Liberia National Drug Enforcement Agency, Liberia Revenue Authority, Public Procurement and Concession Commission, Gender Children and Social Protection, and Agriculture ministry respectively.
Accountability Lab, during the nomination process, will have video recordings of all the winners at their places of work, homes and communities regarding how they demonstrate integrity. All of the episodes that will be collected will be aired on television with a voice component extrapolated for radio including online publication through social media and the institution’s (Accountability Lab) official website.
The process allows Liberians to vote for their Integrity Icon that allows the overall winner with the highest votes, who is announced at the national celebration ceremony and crowned Liberia’s Icon for the year.
Patricia Togba, 2018 Integrity Icon finalist in a keynote address said integrity is not a strange word but at times when it is spoken about, people doubt if people of said character still exist. She, however, stressed that “Interestingly, there are people of such a wonderful character in our country that can help improve society.”
She said integrity is not something that can be taught, but it is more of a virtue that begins within a person.
“Integrity is something one needs to be proud of because it is a valuable possession that no one can take away. It is the important quality that we as civil servants need to have because it gives our employers the feeling of trust in us, increases our work productivity, and helps in maintaining a productive environment,” Togba said.
Togba said many public servants believe that corruption is all about taking money from the country’s account for personal use, but it also involves the time spent at work.
Challenging her colleagues, she said: “Wear your armor of integrity; take your full measure of its weight, find comfort in its protection, and do not become careless. When you want to keep our integrity, You need not bribe or be bribed, bought, swayed, coerced, or made to do something that does not adhere to the highest moral standards.”
Togba said the government will be measured by the history of its words and actions; therefore, civil servants’ works are very important in ensuring that the government succeeds.
W. Lawrence Yealue, II. Accountability Lab Country Director called on citizens to get involved in the nomination process to help select people who are doing the right thing when they think no one is looking at them because it is time to name and fame honest public servants.
He said there are lots of good people in Liberia who need to be recognized and appreciated for following the right path, while at the same time naming and shaming corrupt officials.
“We are highly delighted to promote integrity and honesty in government through the Integrity Icon campaign. It is critical that we create a positive conversation around issues of integrity in this country. Too often we focus on the problems. This campaign is about identifying role models who are setting the basis for solutions to the challenges we face as a nation,” Yealue said.