President of Republic of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, says it is within the powers of African leaders to end corruption in the continent.
Kagame made this known at a National Democracy Day Anti-Corruption Summit in Abuja on Tuesday.
The summit, organised by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has “Curbing Electoral Spending: A panacea to Public Corruption” as theme.
Kagame said that the war against corruption was a campaign fight that could be won, and that tolerating the vice was a choice and not an inevitability.
“It is within our power to end it; that is the most important starting point, otherwise, it will be a waste of time for us to keep talking about it,” he said.
He said that the primary responsibility of tackling the scourge laid with leaders at every level, where corruption “has become the norm, a way of life because leaders have made it acceptable and made it that way”.
The Rwandan president said that corruption needed to be tackled from ‘top to down’, adding that it was one of the freest approaches and one of the most effective.
“This is because it empowers the public to join in the fight and hold leaders accountable through elections and other means.
“Corruption is a universal weakness and not an African one. It is not part of our destiny as a continent.
“Indeed, research has shown that some of the biggest sources and beneficiaries of corruption, are outside of Africa,” he stated.
But, he insisted that the scourge could definitely be reduced to the barest minimum if stakeholders worked collectively.
Kagame listed culture, responsibility, accountability and effectiveness as keys to overcoming corruption, adding that it was time to redefine transparency as a global objective requiring leaders to collaborate to curb corruption.
“Corruption does not take decades to eradicate. We have to set our sights high; it is not enough to fight corruption just as merely fighting poverty.
“It is too small an ambition for Africa. We want to create value, we want to create wealth, not merely fighting corruption,” he said.
Kagame congratulated Buhari on his re-election, saying “I wish to give you our very warm congratulations on your re-election and best wishes for the entire Nigerian people on the role ahead.
“President Buhari is African Union’s (AU) champion, in the fight against corruption.”
Edited by Olabisi Akinbode and Olisa Ifeajika