Spread the love

Faith Nyasuguta

Every year on July 11th, African Anti-Corruption Day calls us to reflect on the pervasive issue of corruption that undermines efforts to eradicate poverty, provide essential services, and foster development across the continent. 

It is also a day to honor the courageous individuals who risk their lives to expose corrupt practices and strive for a just society. This year’s theme, “Effective Whistle-blowers Protection Mechanism: A Critical Tool in the Fight Against Corruption,” highlights the pivotal role of whistle-blowers. These brave individuals play a crucial part in uncovering corruption and holding those in power accountable. However, the lack of adequate protection for whistle-blowers remains a significant challenge.

Whistle-blowers are essential in the fight against corruption. They expose wrongdoing and ethical violations by those in positions of power, often facing significant personal and professional risks. Despite their critical role, many whistle-blowers across Africa operate without sufficient legal protections, leaving them vulnerable to retaliation. 


The case of Babita Deokaran, a former acting chief financial officer at the Gauteng Department of Health in South Africa, highlights this issue. Deokaran, who was assassinated after exposing corruption, exemplifies the dangers faced by whistle-blowers and the urgent need for robust protection mechanisms.

The current legal frameworks in many African countries are inadequate to protect whistle-blowers effectively. This lack of protection not only discourages individuals from coming forward but also allows corruption to flourish unchecked. 

As whistle-blower Edward Snowden aptly put it, “the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the ‘consent of the governed’ is meaningless.” In addressing this issue, we must look beyond traditional methods. 

Advocate Paul Hoffman, director of Accountability Now, suggests the establishment of a new institution with comprehensive powers to combat corruption. This proposed body, with preventative, investigative, prosecutorial, and educative functions, could serve as a formidable tool in the fight against corruption.

Creating an accountable and ethical society requires a collective effort. Corruption undermines the democratic principles, rule of law, and foundational values that are essential for sustainable development and economic growth. 


As South Africa’s Constitutional Court noted in 2011, corruption “threatens to fell at the knees virtually everything we hold dear and precious in our hard-won constitutional order.” The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu highlighted the pervasive nature of corruption and its devastating impact on society. 

He called for action to turn back the tide of corruption and build a future grounded in morality, equity, and social sustainability. This call to action is as relevant today as it was then.

Citizens have a crucial role to play in combating corruption. While governments and institutions must establish robust anti-corruption measures, the active participation of citizens is equally important. Citizens must demand accountability, support whistle-blowers, and advocate for stronger legal protections. 

Kenya provides a stark example of the challenges and opportunities in this battle. The phrase “our turn to eat” has become synonymous with the entitlement culture that fuels corruption in Kenya. This mentality, where political power is seen as a ticket to wealth, perpetuates corruption and erodes public trust.


To break this cycle, we need targeted interventions and a collective commitment to integrity and ethical behavior. Hoffman argues that more than internal integrity committees are needed; there must be a constitutional Integrity Commission with broad powers to address public maladministration and corruption.

On African Anti-Corruption Day, we must renew our commitment to fighting corruption. This involves not only protecting whistle-blowers but also creating institutions that can effectively prevent, investigate, and prosecute corruption. By doing so, we can ensure that resources intended to address poverty, inequality, and unemployment are used for their rightful purpose. 

Corruption in the public sector is, in essence, theft from the poor. The funds that should be used to improve living conditions are instead diverted into the pockets of the corrupt, exacerbating poverty and inequality. It is imperative that we protect those who expose corruption and hold wrongdoers accountable.

As we reflect on African Anti-Corruption Day, let us honor the whistle-blowers who have paid the ultimate price for their courage. Their sacrifices have paved the way for greater transparency and accountability. They remind us that the fight against corruption is not just a legal or political battle but a moral imperative.

As PLO Lumumba aptly puts it, “The day we begin to fight corruption with the same determination and vigour with which we fight terrorism, will be the day we win the battle.” He continues to stress the importance of integrity in leadership, stating, “When we have leaders who are willing to lead by example, we will see the transformation we desire in our societies.”


In conclusion, combating corruption requires a multifaceted approach that includes robust legal protections for whistle-blowers, the establishment of comprehensive anti-corruption institutions, and the active participation of citizens. 

By taking these steps, we can create a more just and equitable society where resources are used for the common good. On this day, and every day, let us commit to making our communities and countries better places for all.

About Author

Faith Nyasuguta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *