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All Must Follow This good Example

Sep 4, 2008, 5:05 AM

Well done to President Ernest Bai Koroma who has become the first head of state in Sierra Leone to declare his assets to the country's Anti-Corruption Commission. Under a new law, the president and other public officials must declare their assets and update them annually, and when they leave office. This new law and the adherence of the president to it, are signs of great political maturity and should be emulated by all African leaders. For too long politics on this great continent has been blighted by the shadow of corruption. If laws of this kind are brought into force then we could find ourselves on the cusp of a new era in African politics. "What we are doing today is unique not only within this whole region but even in Africa," Mr Koroma said. He told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that his assets included properties, vehicles, interest on shares, and a few other items. Asked to estimate their worth, the president only indicated his assets would be valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars - not millions. It is imperative that all politicians declare their personal assets so that they can be above suspicion. Money and politics mix all too often with negative consequences for the ordinary man and woman on the street and the country as a whole. We must follow the example set in Sierra Leone and pass a law that ensures all Gambian leaders and legislators must declare their assets to the public who elected them. If this brave step is taken then we will enjoy a new era of transparency in our politics as it will benefit not only the general public but the politicians themselves who could hold their heads high and be free from any slanders that anyone might make against them.

We urge our lawmakers to immediately pass this important law and emulate the courageous decision of our neighbours in Sierra Leone for the sake of all Gambians.

"A few honest men are better than numbers."

Oliver Cromwell