The Walk for integrity! Your right your role : Say No to Corruption International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) Commemorations 2021
The International Anti-corruption Day is observed globally on December 9 to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (2003)- in combating and preventing it. Corruption can be defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain which eventually hurts everyone who depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.. The 2021 commemorations were themed, “Your right, your role: say no to corruption.”
Why the Commemorations?
The world over, combatting corruption is no easy task. Corruption by its nature increases inequality, decreases popular accountability and political responsiveness, and thus produces rising frustration and hardship among citizens.
The world thus comes together to raise awareness of the strategic importance of tackling corruption; and to draw attention to the adverse impact of corruption on sustainable development, peace, security and human rights, nationally, regionally and internationally. Preventing corruption promotes progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, it helps create jobs, achieve gender equality, secure wider access to health, education, justice, digitalization and public spaces.
Covid 19 has created new and more opportunities for corruption to thrive. This has exacerbated the socio-economic inequalities, disproportionately affecting women, youth, poor and marginalised groups, and stealing valuable resources at a time when they are most needed. To respond to this crisis and its impact on social and economic development, the United Nations encourages the inclusion of anti-corruption measures in all Covid 19 response plans aimed at strengthening and creating a culture of integrity, fairness and accountability.
IACD Commemorations in Harare
The International Anti-corruption Day is commemorated on the 9th of December every year according to the United Nations calendar. On the same day, the Zimbabwe Anti- Corruption Commission (ZACC) convened a Press Conference on the National State of Corruption and TI Z made a solidarity statement on the same. A call was made that there continue to be need to keep fighting corruption in both private and public sectors in the country.
The ‘Walk Against Corruption’ – commemorations for the IACD was then held on Saturday 11th of December 2020. The rationale of having the commemorations on a weekend day was to enable members of the public to take part in the commemorations, since the majority will not be at their usual work spaces. Participants from all walks of life were invited, to include the youths, people with disabilities and women.
The day was packed with diverse activities, it had to be exciting, entertaining and at the same time sending out the anti-corruption message to the public. The lined-up activities included a walkathon, a Zumba session, legal aid clinics, live radio broadcast, solidarity messages, a drama, and community roadshows. In all these interactions, adherence to the Covid 19 Protocols was made.
By 06:00Hrs on the 11th of December 2021, people were already gathered at the ZACC Herbert Chitepo offices and ready to start the walk against corruption. Ninety five students from Goromomzi High schools led the walkathon. These were joined by other invited guests from Government, the Civil Society and the public at large. The route for the walkathon, was from the ZACC Chitepo Office, turning into second street and getting into George Silundika, ending at First Street. As people were having the “walk against corruption”, they were holding placards with different messaging against corruption and at the same time a Road show van was playing anti corruption music and communicating the messages on corruption. At the finishing point, a Fitness trainer was waiting for the participants to facilitate a Zumba session, to flex the muscles, and of course spicing up the event. This was indeed killing “two with one”- campaigning against corruption and at the same time ensuring physical well-being through exercising! All the students that participated in the walkathon, were presented with medals. This instilled excitement in the pupils and they confessed that they will be looking forward to commemorating the anti-corruption day every year, and they pledged to work in their spaces, within their capacities to fight corrupt. Such a gesture and commitment is positive step towards building a generation with a difference- free from corruption.
There was a live radio broadcast by Capitalk FM which was covering the proceedings at First street. Anti-corruption messages were made live on Radio by the different stakeholders that were present. Simultaneously, legal aid clinics were running, being offered by colleagues in the civil society. A total of 14 cases were recorded and the clients were provided with the relevant legal support. Edutainment rich in anti corruption messaging was provided in the form of drama and poems, by a professional theatre group.
On the other end , Chitungwiza and Epworth communities were a hive of activities. Mobile community roadshows were being conducted concurrently with the first street activities. The interface with community members was done at different shopping centers around the communities, and there was great turn out of people to hear and learn about corruption. Quiz session were conducted during road shows, with prizes being won.
The 2021 Anti-Corruption Day Commemorations were quite a memorable event. The key message that came out of the 2021 IACD Commemorations was that everyone had a role to play in the fight against corruption. There was general consensus that corruption was a cancer still existing in the country from the lowest to the highest levels of society., hence the need for everyone in their individual capacity to fight corruption. One of the major take-aways was the participation of the young generation in the fight against corruption. Their excitement in all the processes, including their pledge to contribute in the fight against corruption, cannot go unmentioned. It can only leave one with the hope and faith that indeed, it is possible to raise a corruption-free generation