A flag-raising ceremony was held in Accra Friday to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the formation of the African Union (AU), with a call on individuals and institutions to rise up and be counted in the fight against corruption in the country and the continent at large.
Making that call after hoisting the flag of Ghana at the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mrs Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, reiterated the government’s commitment to tackle the menace holistically.
“The government will continue to fight against corruption with all the legal weapons available until victory is won because the menace is a major obstacle to socio-economic development,” she stressed.
The colourful event, which was held at the forecourt of the State House, was on the theme: “Winning the fight against corruption: a sustainable path to Africa’s transformation.”
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It was attended by state officials, officers from the security agencies, members of the diplomatic corps, religious leaders and students drawn from selected second cycle institutions.
Key among the personalities at the ceremony included the Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul, and the acting Dean of the diplomatic corps and Ivorian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Bernard Ehui-Koutoua.
Mrs Botchway hoisted the flag of Ghana, while Mr Ehui-Koutoua also raised that of the AU, to symbolically awaken the spirit of solidarity and unflinching march towards an emancipated Africa.
The Foreign Affairs minister urged African countries to strengthen internal mechanisms to tackle corruption and give real meaning to the AU Commission’s declaration of 2018 as the African anti-corruption year.
She indicated that the theme of the AU Day ought to be a constant reminder to all individuals, state and non-state actors, as well as countries on the continent to be firm in the war against corruption and impunity to ensure sustainable development.
She observed that the adoption of the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) in 2003 and the AU Advisory Board on Corruption in 2009 showed that there were systems in place to deal with the canker.
However, she noted that internal mechanisms ought to be strengthened in member countries to boost the fight against the menace, citing the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the National Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP) in Ghana to support her call.
For his part, Mr Ehui-Koutoua lauded President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for taking the bold step to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor and urged other leaders in the continent to take a cue from that initiative.
“Corruption hampers efforts to promote socio-economic development, peace and security in the continent so all member states must take strategic measures to tackle it,” he said.
He urged all individuals and countries to see the AU Day as an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to carry on with the vision and foresight of the founding fathers in respective member states.
About AU Day
Until 2002 when the name was changed, the AU Day, an annual event, was referred to variously as Africa Day, African Freedom Day and the African Liberation Day when it was commemorated during the period of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
It is marked on May 25, the day on which the OAU was born in Addis Ababa in 1963.
The AU Day is commemorated to promote solidarity among African states, throw light on the need to improve the quality of life for Africans, accentuate the eradication of colonialism in its entirety and defend the sovereignty of member countries.