The need for a national strategy to fight corruption [Archives:2008/1150/Opinion]

April 28 2008

Abdurrahman Saif Ismail
The talk about administrative and financial corruption usually associates with another talk about the administrative and financial reform project. In fact, there is notable relation and overlapping between both subjects. As long as there is corruption, we usually realize that there are reform programs that are intended to fight the rampant corruption spreading in the various government offices and agencies.

Every time, the reform programs face difficulties and challenges that usually deter any efforts aimed at fighting or reducing corruption in the various institutions. In the meantime, such programs fail to achieve their sough-after objectives due to the lack of a clear reform vision, as well as ineligibility and weakness of the tools being used to fight corruption. Therefore, the job in this regard becomes more complicated and very difficult.

As a result, eliminating corruption remains a social and political right, thus requiring involvement of all the political and social parties that have close relation with the community, mainly as there is a popular consensus regarding corruption and the required reforms. This means that the process needs a broad popular alignment, plus a strong front to resist the phenomenon that is threatening our lives and the future of our children.

Although there is a consensus with regard to this issue, the position toward reform and resisting corruption has not yet crystallized as a cultural or intellectual concept necessitating a social revolution against the destructive phenomenon by all means available. Like terrorism, corruption remains without a definition and identity, nor is there a clear strategy to eliminate either phenomenon despite their worldwide background.

A comprehensive national strategy is needed to resist corruption, and such a strategy should have society as its wider frame. In addition, all the official and popular capacities need to incorporate on the basis of decentralization in order to show more flexibility and transparency in this respect.

To overcome corruption, there should be a balanced process to mobilize and activate the various relevant legal institutions. Reform is not a temporary or intangible process. Instead, it is a reality-based process that also necessitates increased awareness of people and interaction between the different social and political agencies. It is an intentional change process that has to be dealt with according to the principle of decentralization, as said earlier, because corruption has expanded horizontally and vertically. And the local authority is a modern national institution that works on incorporating all the popular and official efforts and unifying all the development partners in this regard. This authority is also qualified to play an integral role in fighting corruption, particularly if the state succeeds in reforming its flaws and rebuild it on the basis of national and democratic principles, as part of local governance project with broad powers.

In order to attain successful results in fighting corruption, Yemen should have a local governance based on flexibility, transparency, collective vision and full social partnership, as well as electing governors, local councilors and executive officials in direct free and democratic votes. The executive officials have to be real and actual representatives for the local community and not for the central authority.

Sincere efforts are need to activate role of the executive offices to become more able to achieve reforms and prevent corruption that has turned to be a horrible ghost threatening the country with further waste and destruction.

Source: Al-Thawra State-run Daily