‘African leaders need Western support against corruption’

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Former President Banda

Former Malawian President Joyce Banda has urged the international community and foreign partners to support and motivate African leaders, who are fighting against corruption in their respective countries.

She said leaders fighting corruption should be treated like victors not victims, adding that when they are perceived as losers, other leaders would be discouraged from initiating anti-corruption moves.

The former Malawian President, who was delivering the 4th John Evans Atta Mills Commemorative Lecture, at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), said “I say this because I know it is not easy to fight corruption, as when you square up against powerful people, they will fight you back. They would bring you down …”

The former Malawian President Banda commended governments of Western countries for providing resources and technical assistance towards the fight against corruption in Africa.

She, however, said the continent needed their moral support because they allow leaders who steal from the continent to invest in their banks and acquire property in their countries.

Former President Banda stressed “I ask that they too be on the look out because sometimes it looks hypocritical that the criticisms come from there, but moneys meant for our medicine, education, eradication of poverty, construction of schools, are hidden there as well”.

Former President Banda was speaking on the topic “Redefining leadership, moral and ethical leadership, a must in Africa; a case of President Atta Mills”.

Organised by the John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library, UCC, in partnership with the Centre for Law and Governance at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) last Monday, the lecture was dubbed “Atta Mills the servant leader”.

The former President said Africa could now boast of new crop of leaders committed to fighting corruption.

She, however, urged Africans to ask questions when their presidents, leave office and start buying mansions in foreign countries and making investments because such leaders might use stolen money, although it was possible it was their hard earned money.

Former President Banda noted that the late President Atta Mills was determined to fight corruption, saying, he “detested corruption and was committed and determined to rid Ghana of the vice,” making him one of the few leaders who had earnestly dared to walk that route and tackled corruption head-on.

Former President Banda said this feat had made late President Mills a source of inspiration and motivation for many people that it was possible to fight and eradicate corruption, and urged African leaders to emulate the late President Mills

Former President Banda also recounted that through forensic audit into allegations of corruption during her administration 72 officials, including two of cabinet ministers were arrested, while some were still standing trail in court, and some in prison.

She said although she was confronted with threats on her life, blackmail, and risked losing the next election, which she eventually did, she was determined to put the country first and deal with corruption once and for all.

The late President Mills, Ghana’s first sitting president to have died while in office, passed away on July 24, 2012, three days after his 68th Birthday.

From Jonathan Donkor, Cape Coast

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