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CSOs form coalition to promote whistleblowing in ECOWAS countries

A group of civil society organisations has formed a coalition for the promotion of whistleblowing as a tool for fighting corruption and achieving transparency and good governance in ECOWAS member states.

The coalition – the Whistleblowing Advocacy Coalition of West Africa (WACOWA), was the outcome of a consultative meeting organized by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) and civil society partners.

This follows exploratory talks with the ECOWAS Commission and the Network of Anti-corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA) on strengthening the fight against corruption in West Africa.

The coalition identified corruption as one of the major challenges facing West African states since independence, and its pervasiveness in the sub-region makes it seem intractable.

It listed the many damaging impacts of corruption over the decades to include mass poverty, high level unemployment, disregard for law and order, lack of trust in government and rising political instability resulting in the destruction of lives and property.

Although most ECOWAS member states have passed anti-corruption laws, ratified international conventions against corruption and established special national anti-corruption institutions, a few others have yet to do so.

WACOWA reiterated commitment to the promotion of transparent and accountable governance in ECOWAS countries by advocating whistleblowing as a conscious and obligatory action of citizens as a way of reducing corruption and aiding development in their communities.

A key feature in the ECOWAS Commission’s protocol to combat corruption in the region is the ECOWAS Whistleblower Protection Strategy.

The Commission identifies whistleblowing as one of the most direct methods of exposing corrupt acts, which has the capacity to foster transparency and accountability in both the public and private sector administration.

The key objective of this strategy is to encourage member states to pass whistleblowing legislation that is safe for making disclosure of wrongdoing and ensuring protection against retaliation because of such disclosure.

WACOWA’s objective is to complement the Commission’s efforts in this regard by promoting whistleblowing as an accountability tool and strengthening commitment to the development of a whistleblower protection law in member states.

It will collate reported cases to aid the work of anti-corruption agencies, seek new partners that will participate in the objectives of the advocacy and create solutions that will serve the needs of the communities.

WACOWA reiterated commitment to the promotion of transparent and accountable governance in ECOWAS countries by advocating whistleblowing as a conscious and obligatory action of citizens as a way of reducing corruption and aiding development in their communities.

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