MONROVIA-The Liberia CSOs Anti-corruption Coalition, a conglomeration of various civil society organizations working on issues of governance and public accountability have lauded the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) for adopting a pro-citizens and positive civil society disposition in the last few weeks.
Speaking at the launch of the Citizens Voices Anti-Corruption Forum (C-VAC Forum) initiative at the Friends of Friends Haitai Center on Carey Street on Thursday, March 18, Mr. James Koryor who is the Coordinator of the Coalition intimated that in times past the LACC had not engaged much with civil society interventions but that seems to be rapidly changing for good under Cllr. Kanio Bai Gbala’s leadership of the LACC. He further intimated that for the LACC to fully achieve its mandate, it was necessary for its leadership to build sustainable partnerships with local civil society actors who are the actual representatives of ordinary people.
According to Mr. Koryor, the Citizen Voices Anti Corruption Forum is an initiative aimed at fostering and promoting open discussion on corruption and integrity issues among citizens and disseminating information on what individuals and groups can do to curb corruption. The Forum seeks to make space for concerned and marginalized groups especially youths to voice their opinion and put forward solutions on issues that promote transparency, accountability and good governance. The Forum’s focus is on awareness and understanding of today’s most pressing local and international corruption issues.
For his part, speaking when he formally launched the campaign, Cllr. Gbala thanked the Coalition for undertaking the initiative and emphasized that it was indeed important for ordinary citizens to own the debate about corruption. He stressed that without citizen. participation, anticorruption efforts would struggle to gain traction and produce the needed results. But he then cautioned citizens to not forget the principles of innocence until proof of guilt and unproven allegations when advocating as these possess the power to ruin reputations and create instability.
Also making remarks at the event, the Executive Director of Integrity Watch Liberia, Mr. Harold Aidoo welcome the initiative and committed that his institution will fully keep engage with the other CSOs as well as support the work of the LACC and talk about the using technology to fight corruption a platform his organization will implore to fight against corruption in Liberia.
The Country Representative of Accountability, Mr. Lawrence Yealue also welcomes the Citizen Voices initiative that will enable ordinary citizens to voice out their opinion on corruption related issues.
For his part, the Vice President of the Press Union of Liberia, Mr. Daniel Nyakonah stressed that the media will remain a major partner in the fight against corruption and that the Citizen Voices Anti-Corruption Forum is very vital and critical to the fight against corruption in Liberia. He commended the Liberia CSOs Anti-Corruption Coalition for the initiative and pledged the PUL fullest support.
The Citizens Voice and Action against Corruption campaign (CVAC) is intended to be a regular program of the Coalition where all citizens irrespective of status or education would be provided the opportunity to lend their voices to transparency efforts in the country. The Liberia CSOs Anticorruption Coalition was established thru the support from the Liberia Professional Legal Development Anti-corruption Program (LPAC), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).