September 21, 2015 By: Magnus Bendu
The fight against corruption is a war. It is a battle against an enemy that is a serious force to reckon with. Corruption is not only an enemy to its victims but also to its perpetrators. Corruption affects both the public and those who practice it. As such, it is only a common strategy such as partnership that will effectively overcome it.
Partnership against corruption encapsulates the basic principles of collaboration; cooperation and collective action. It is the art of networking and coordinating concerted efforts geared toward the accomplishment of one purpose. In essence, the call for partnership in the fight against corruption is an attestation to the fact that, as Helen Keller puts it: “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” The strategy of partnership also reinforces the old saying by John Heywood that: “Many hands make light work.” An astute summation of the importance of effective partnership against corruption was recently rekindled by the Honorable Justice Reginald S. Fynn, Justice of the Appeal Court of Sierra Leone, who was until two weeks ago Director of Investigations and Prosecutions at the Anti-Corruption Commission, when he reiterated that: “The responsibility of fighting corruption is not one man’s business. It is all our business.”
In any fight, “…the art of networking and the strategy of partnership remain the hallmark of success”, an anonymous business guru commented. Entrepreneurs practicing the art of business success, this anonymous commentator further noted, know the power of networks. They take time to identify and build relationships with key peers, mentors, and advisors. This inner network provides support, direction, and an increased number of people to assist.
This concept of partnership through networking is not a new phenomenon to the ACC and has been outstanding in the numerous success stories of the Commission. As The Newly re-appointed Commissioner, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara declares at the launch of the maiden ‘Case Law Report’ in the Jurisdiction of Sierra Leone on the 26th September, 2015: “The successes of the ACC do not belong to the ACC alone, but reside in all of us,” (That is all Sierra Leoneans).
The impacts of partnership on the successes of ACC in the fight against corruption owe a lot to the Commission’s commitment to partnership as the common strategy. The ACC considers partnership as the premier strategy to win the war on corruption. This is because strategic partnerships have been one of the key contributing reasons for the increased sensitization efforts on the causes, effects and solutions to corruption. These sensitizations have led to increased knowledge about corruption and how to contribute in its fight. As Chinese legend Sun Tzu writes in his ‘Art of War’: “…know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.”
The Commission’s partnership with the media, Civil society Organizations, Youth Groups, children’s groups, Women’s groups, and MDAs, etc., shares the credit for the high level of trust on the ACC about the fight against corruption as evidenced in the National Corruption Perception Survey report of 2013.
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That report indicates that 76% of the respondents believe in the effectiveness of the ACC. This fact was also confirmed by the Transparency International Report of 2015 which shows that Sierra Leone has moved 23 spaces up in the fight against corruption. The credit to these achievements according to the Commissioner of the ACC, Mr. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara should be shared by all Sierra Leones who have contributed in various ways in partnership with the ACC to rid corruption out of Sierra Leone.