from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa & SAVIOUS KWINIKA in Pretoria
ADDIS ABABA, PRETORIA (CAJ News) – CHAIRPERSON of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has challenged leaders and citizens to fight rampant corruption in the continent which is stalling development.
Presiding over the Africa Day commemorations, held under the theme, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” in the bloc’s headquarters – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he denounced corruption as among the leading obstacles threatening to derail progress made since the launch of the organisation in 1992.
It was renamed from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), founded in 1963 on May 25.
“Corruption destroys the lives of ordinary people and undermines their trust in their leaders and public institutions,” Mahamat said in Addis Ababa.
He lamented that resources needed for development and the delivery of services – such as electricity, education, healthcare, sanitation and clean water – were diverted by a few, thus depriving the majority of the people from access to these critical services.
“I want to challenge all of us, leaders and Africans from all walks of life, to firmly deal with this scourge,” Mahamat said in his address.
African leaders have declared the 11th of July every year as the African Anti-Corruption Day.
They declared 2018 as the Year for Combating Corruption.
During their Summit in January of this year, the African leaders also adopted a Call to Action to fight against corruption and eradicate it.
Mahamat meanwhile said despite the global downturn, several African countries were among the world’s fastest growing economies.
He said the fight against climate change had been raised to new heights while food production, the judicious use of natural resources and industrialization were also receiving serious attention.
The AU Commission chairperson said robust efforts were made to create opportunities for the youth and gender equality and women empowerment were also a central element of AU efforts.
His address also mentioned progress in tackling disease, continental integration and AU institutional reforms.
Meanwhile, South Africa, hailed as a model of democracy in Africa, celebrated the day with President Cyril Ramaphosa hosting the Diplomatic Corps in Pretoria.
South Africa is celebrating the Africa Day under the theme: “A year of Nelson Mandela – Building a Better Africa and a Better World”.
“Africa Day presents an opportunity to promote African unity, ensure deeper regional integration and recommit Africa to a common destiny,” read a statement from Ramaphosa.
The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters questioned why May 25 was not a public holiday in South Africa.
“This is the day that we should be a holiday so that proper reflections are made, to teach the young ones about these days, to teach each other about who we are. We must ask ourselves why Africa Day is not a Public Holiday in South Africa when we have useless days like the Day of Reconciliation,” leader of the party, Julius Malema, said in Pretoria.
– CAJ News