The declaration of assets and code of conduct for political leaders have worked positively in the fight against Corruption in Rwanda, an East African country whose only source of income is tax.
This is according to the country’s Chief Ombudsman, Aloysie Cyanzayire.
Cyanzayire was speaking during an interview in her office in Kgali on Sunday this week.
“There is zero tolerance for corruption in Rwanda. What our President wants is a cabinet which is guided by ethics and is clear of corruption practices.
That is why we have a code of conduct for leaders and they all have to declare their assets once they get into office,” explained Cyanzayire.
Every leader is expected to annually declare his or her interest.
“The law is very clear. They have to declare the assets every 30th of June,” the Ombudsman further added.
She said since her office started operating in 2004, many political leaders have been charged, tried and convicted for corruption and the action has caused others to avoid committing the crime.
“People are afraid to be caught because they know that some former ministers are still serving prison terms for different types of corruption as we speak.
We have the right to go into a bank and tax records to access information,” she further stated.
Rwanda, which was among the world’s most corrupt country at number 102 of the 180 countries in 2008 has managed to reduce its corruption status many folds.
It dropped to number 89 in 2009, and then to number 66 the following year in 2010 and is still going down. According to the 2011 transparency international ratings, Rwanda was ranked number 49 in the world and the least corrupt country in East Africa.
“In promoting good governance, people have to be involved in the development of their country and what I can say to fellow African leaders is that their role in the fight against corruption have an impact in the economy of their respective countries.
They should fight corruption without fear because they are doing it for the interest of the nation,” she said.
And although Rwanda was plagued by genocide in the early 1990’s and was among the poorest country in the world, Cyanzayire contended that it managed to pull itself from the ruins and rise a united and less corrupt nation managing the little resources it had and guarded them against falling into corrupt hands.
“We realize that the government cannot fight corruption alone, so we are working with an anti corruption organization from local government level.
Each District has an anti corruption watch committee and they are doing very well as whistle blowers. We also work with the National Anti Corruption Council, the media and religious leaders,” she further stated.
She however fact said it was not impossible to eradicate corruption, as it was a matter of political will.
“We had genocide due to bad leadership.
The leaders divided the citizens, but the new leadership is emphasizing on the fact that we are all Rwandans, we are one people regardless of our tribal lines and that we have to look forward to what serves as the best interest of the country,’ She stated.
The interview was conducted just after the Rwandan national awards on anti corruption efforts made in different districts of the country.
It was at the same awards that three young people from Lesotho, Liberia and Madagascar were awarded the prizes for best essay competition on their perspective of corruption .