The African Union (AU) has identified corruption as the factor for retardation of development and loss of confidence in government on the continent.
The message was contained in a statement delivered on behalf of AU Chairperson, Moussa Faki by Ambassador Ibrahim M. Kamara, who represents the organization in Liberia in commemoration of AU (formerly Organization of African Unity, OAU) on May 25.)
May 25 each year is celebrated as African Day, because it was on this day that African leaders converged in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1963 and formed the OAU highlighting unity.
Faki through Amb. Kamara emphasized that corruption destroys the lives of ordinary people and undermines trust in their leaders.
Therefore, the AU Ambassador on behalf of the Chairperson, said African leaders should collaborate in a concerted effort to fight the battle against corruption, because without such a stance, progress Africans have made will be undermined.
In January this year, African leaders signed a protocol aimed at fighting corruption and eradicating it. They then set July 11 each of every year as Anti-Corruption Day.
The African Union according to Chairperson Faki’s statement has made some significant gains and continues to make strides in bringing Africans together for economic growth and development, security and reconciliation amidst challenges.
One of those challenges the statement underscored is corruption, which accordingly, remains responsible for insecurity in most parts of the continent.
Currently, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Cameroon, Nigeria and Libya have political and social instabilities arising from civil conflict and terrorism; all boiling down to corruption as the root cause.
Amb. Kamara statement also outlined some achievements his organization has made in recent years.
Among them are the launching of a single air transportation market, signing of the continental free trade, free movement of Africans and the African Passport, and deployment of AU troops in troubled zones, including Somalia for peacekeeping.
Amb. Kamara noted that democracy and human rights are taking root on the continent despite challenges, and urged all African leaders to take pride in the achievements and be conscious of preserving them and having in mind that more still needs to be done.
The mission of then OAU (AU) as read out by its Kamara was to liberate African countries and people from colonial domination and racial discrimination, promoting self-reliance and combating underdevelopment, advancement of African integration, unity and solidarity.
The day was characterized by a number of events, including panel discussions wherein Cameroon Ambassador Beng’Yela Augustine Gang, Vanapalan Punjanathan Moodley of South Africa and Dr. Augustine Konneh, former Director General of the Foreign Service Institute of Liberia participated.
Each speaker gave his view on the need for African togetherness and pointed out some challenges still confronting African unity, peace and security; one of which is corruption that is the central theme for this year’s celebration.
The theme, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation,” was touched by nearly all speakers on undermining factor of Africa, peace, growth and development.
Customarily Africans were expected to be in the African attire, but not many could dress in their real African attire except the Cameroonians, who glittered as the only Africans with the best attire.