|Al. Hussein Fadiga|
While reflecting on some of the reasons corruption is so prevalent in Liberia, several facts came to mind. Corruption, nepotism, tribalism, and all it isms that has encumbered our growth and development are nothing new to Liberia and the world at large. Like any other killer disease out there, corruption needs to be fully diagnosed before it can be treated. I have been trying to run a couple of tests on some of the symptoms of corruption in Liberia in order to find a permanent cure for this pandemic. During my research to find a cure for this deadly disease, one of the issues that kept coming up as a major reason why our officials embezzle public funds is the lack of safety-net to protect them once they leave or are booted out of office. Having spoken to several unsuspecting officials on this issue, I quickly discovered a consensus that most corruption is driven by fear of not been able to sustain their spendthrift lifestyle after they leave public office.
It is an open secret that most Liberians are very extravagant and irresponsible when it comes to managing their finances. Promiscuity and alcoholism remains the top reasons our officials are gone bankrupt less than a year after they leave office. We tend to spend more than we make without thinking about the future. Sadly, this has been a tradition in Liberia and the foundation for corruption. As we rage war against corruption and the "isms" that are destroying our nation, we need to take an all of the above reproach in order for this to work. Shouting out change and using all the political rhetoric has not and will not solve this problem. There is no quick fix to corruption in Liberia; therefore to tackle such cancerous issue, we will need to remove those things that trigger corruption surgically.
One simple method is by creating a safety net for all employees both public and private. It will take strong leadership in order to achieve this. We could incorporate a short and long term disability system through the Social Security administration or a new or private firm that will pay officials or those in the private sector in case they lose their job. We can also institute policies that will make it mandatory for people to save. Another method could be the use of several different saving options like the IRA, 403b, 401k and other savings used in the US. The government could provide incentives like tax breaks to individuals and business that take advantage of this saving. Another way to eliminating our corruption triggers could be, making people make payments to banks rather than to individuals or digitizing payments and eliminating the usage of physical cash). Our options are infinite but will need a leader with the will to lead in this issue. (President Sirleaf is in the best position to engrave this in her legacy).
Like I said earlier, there are no quick fixes to our problems; however, we will need to use whatever mean necessary to fight this disease, no matter how weak it might seem. Rather than only going after the problem (corruption), we need to start attacking some of those things that initiates corruption. There is no single solution to eradicating this problem from Liberia. Corruption in Liberia is a generational problem that needs a generational change of perception to eradicate or minimize this from our system. A combination of all these method will not only bring accountability but also reduce corruption in our nation. HAVE YOUR SAY…