Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) is excited to contribute to the global commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day. Celebrated on the 9th of December, this year’s global theme is Break the Corruption Chain.
To celebrate, CCF hosted its inaugural Anti-Corruption Awareness Youth Workshop today (9/12) with more than 100 youth participants at the Ratu Kadavulevu School hall with the theme Stop Corruption, It’s our Duty addressing the worldwide need to put an end to corruption.
The trouble with corruption is that it spreads and changes form which makes it difficult to identify in a plain setting. It is a crime that is not only committed by people in a higher position or with power but also in the grassroots experienced in every country. This phenomenon is imbedded in principles of dishonesty and fraud and includes acts of bribery. Because it is so widespread, understanding the real effect of corruption on the social, political and economic life of a country is not as simple. It undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to government instability.
This is why we need to put a stop to this crime and to do this it starts with us. CCF believes that creating more awareness at the grassroots can greatly influence the rejection and reduction of corruption in Fiji.
“People need to understand the importance of not having corrupt practices in their community or in their country for that matter. We have chosen to work with youth groups as it can greatly contribute to building our future leaders who will continue to fight against corruption,” says Chief Executive Officer, Sara Bulutani Mataitawakilai.
To practice good governance means to practice a good decision making process which also means that leaders will need to be accountable and transparent.
Over the past decade, CCF’s Education Team conducted workshops in several provinces around Fiji on good governance, democracy and human rights. Their experience with communities revealed that there was much need for citizens to have meaningful participation in political affairs where people were more informed about government processes. There is a common understanding that to have a proper check and balance system all people must be aware of development or any sort of activity that is happening around them. There was also an expressed need to have leaders held accountable for decisions made and transparency within related processes. Since leaders are accountable to the people they are also responsible for the overall public good.
The release of the Auditor-General’s report this year after its eight year absence, showed positive signs to keep citizens informed about the use, expenditure and control of public monies and public properties. However, there is still room for improvement in making this information accessible to and simplified for all people to understand and participate.
CCF calls on the government, private sectors, civil society, media and the citizens of Fiji to join hands and fight corruption. Corruption is the absolute theft of democracy.