Communities in Zomba have been asked to report any suspected acts of corruption within their communities.
The call has been made by National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) who invaded Zomba on Thursday to educate people about corruption.
Speaking on during a community interface meeting with leaders and members of Kuntumanji Citizen Forum in Traditional Authority (TA) Kumtumanji, NICE District Civic Education Assistant Officer for Zomba, Madalitso Zimba, said there were many corrupt practices happening in rural communities that are not reported for possible action.
Zimba said corruption derails development initiatives and that for a long time, those in authority keep on abusing their powers thereby denying communities the much needed development.
He said NICE Trust as a body mandated by government to transform and empower the masses through information would scale up its awareness initiatives and ensure community members take a lead and start reporting corrupt practices.
âThis meeting follows a request by the Kumtumanji Forum who expressed worry over how some office bearers in their area were abusing their power and were engaged in corrupt practices,â he said.
âInitially what they wanted were means on how they can report such acts to relevant authorities and further actions to be taken to have the malpractice arrested. NICE felt obliged to the call; hence, the interface,â added Zimba.
Zimba said gone are the days when people opted to be quite when office bearers abuse their power and inflict pain on people they serve, saying: âYou have the right to flash out bad ideas and bad conduct and you are empowered to report any wrong-doing happening in your area.â
ACB Senior Education Officer for Zomba, Andrew Usi, said as a graft-busting body, the bureau always relies on information people provide to the institution for it to take necessary action.
Usi, therefore, appealed to people of Zomba and Kuntumanji, in particular, to fear no one but instead come forward and report corrupt practices to ACB.
âCorruption is evil and if left unchecked could derail development. People in rural communities have the power to stop corruption by reporting those involved to ACB or any relevant offices.
âACB will continue doing its work of investigating and arresting anyone suspected to have been involved in corrupt activities,â he said.
Usi, however, commended people of Kumtumanji for coming forward to seek ways on how they could curb corruption in their area.
Chairperson for Kumtumanji Citizen Forum which was solely formed to monitor development and other important matters in the area, Selemani Namtodwa, hailed NICE and ACB for the eye opening session, saying it has empowered them to guard against evil doings in the area.
Namtodwa said a lot has been happening in the area but citizens kept quiet as everyone who tried to report such matters were threatened of possible eviction from their area or risk facing unspecified penalties.
âWe were engulfed with fear and did not have the courage to report the cases. Today we have been empowered and we will fear no one. We are tired of corruption in our village,â he said.
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