Home  >  Word of the Month  >  MAY 2016-YOU CAN FIGHT CORRUPTION NOW

stop corruption nowAfrica is a continent of contradictions. While it is clearly developing in leaps and bounds, others factors seem to be working to bring it to its knees. One of these factors is corruption-the worst disease in Africa. Poverty in Africa cannot ever be eradicated if corruption is still an everyday occurrence. In fact, besides poverty, corruption has caused so many ills; from lack of access to education, water, healthcare among other resources, corruption is the root cause of many challenges faced by Africa’s children today. Yet it is unconsciously accepted and tolerated. Eudiah Kamonjo explores ways children can fight corruption now.


90% of countries in Sub-Sahara Africa score below 50 out of 100 points (0 being the most corrupt) in Transparency International’s Corruption Index.

What is corruption?

Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. But there’s more to it than that. According to Robtel N. Pailey author of Gbagba, an anti-corruption book for children, “Corruption is not a timeless tango between the public and private sectors alone. It is also the little acts of trickery we engage in as a means of bypassing systems that we find cumbersome or problematic, no matter our station in life or where we live in the world.”

These ‘little acts of trickery’ include exam cheating in schools. This year, the Education Ministry in Kenya cancelled the 2015 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) results of 5,101 students, reporting a 70% rise in the number of exam cheating cases. Due to the increased advancement in technology, reports have also been made whereby students form Wassup groups where they circulate expected exam questions and answers in advance. Even school children copying each other’s homework answers and ‘passing them’ as their own is corruption. These are just a few examples of how the seeds of corruption start to grow.

The leaders of tomorrow

Since the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, these kinds of vices need to be eliminated if our continent is to grow out of its current quagmire. It is said that strong values are best implanted in the early years of life. This is further reinforced in Proverbs 22: 6 which says, “Train the child the way he should go and he will never depart from it when he grows old.” And this is precisely what Child Africa and BINGWA Magazine does; it turns its readers into champions (Bingwas in Swahili) who fight corruption wherever they are inorder to ensure a corrupt-free tomorrow. We all want to do good and be champions, right?

Many other organisations have recognized the need to nurture children with integrity. Transparency International have, for example, been running integrity clubs in schools to promote good values.

For corruption to end, we must all work together.

Kurt Cobain said ‘the duty of youth is to challenge corruption’. But do we (the children of Africa) know that we can contribute in the fight against this vice? That we can be that ideal generation that will not condone it? Well, it is up to each of us to understand corruption and equip ourselves (and others) for this seemingly arduous task.exam cheating

Some tips

Mr. Rino Solberg, who is also the author of ‘Put Integrity First (2007)’, a publication exploring ‘the right way to get success in Africa and fight poverty and corruption in the process’ shares some tips to help children contribute in this fight against corruption wherever they are :-

  • First, learn what honesty and integrity is. Understand that lying, cheating and stealing is not just bad, but dangerous for all.
  • Build a strong character early in life by clearly articulating what you like and don’t like. This will ensure you become successful in whatever you want now and in future. Remember that people, from all over the world, like to be with honest people not dishonest people, that is why the most honest people are successful and the most respected in the community.
  • In schools (or during community events), you can stage plays or use poetry, songs, dance and other dramas to show what happens to good children with integrity and what happens to bad children without integrity, so people can understand the difference and change.
  • Start correcting family, friends, teachers and others at home or in the community when they say or do the wrong things. Coming from you, this shame will remind them to do the right thing the next time because you are watching.
  • The best way to be happy is to be honest. Those who start thinking this way as children will always have a better and corruption-free life as adults. To prove that point, one of the wealthiest countries with the happiest people in the world is Norway. In Transparency International’s Corruption Index 2015, Norway is rated as the number five least corrupt country in the world.

Please note: Eliminating corruption means that all the children of Africa will have to fight corruption for the rest of their lives in order to leave this continent and the world at large a better corrupt-free place.

These are just a few examples of how you can contribute in fighting corruption, but there are so many more innovative ways you can come up with. Please share these with us or those around you.

DECEMBER 9: International Anti-corruption Day.

First published in BINGWA Magazine Issue 17 Term 2 May 2016