Anti-corruption: Hamzat Lawal “Follow The Money” founder to address African leaders

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Hamzat Lawal, founder, "Follow The Money"
Hamzat Lawal, founder, “Follow The Money”

Hamzat Lawal, founder, “Follow The Money”, one of the largest citizen’s movements on anti-corruption, is expected to address African leaders and government representatives at ongoing African Union high-level dialogue in Gaborone, Botswana.

The three day event which began on Nov. 28 with the theme “Winning The Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path To Africa’s Transformation” had Heads of State and government representatives, civil society groups, the media in attendance.

The event would be officiated by H.E Dr. Mogkweetsi E.K. Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana; H.E Dr. Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia; H.E Thabo Mbeki, Former President of the Republic of South Africa; H.E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of the Republic of Liberia; and H.E Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Former Finance Minister of Nigeria and Chair, African Risk Capacity.

Other dignitaries sceduled to speak include, Prime Minister of Lesotho, H.E Motsoahae Thomas Thabane; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; Mokgweetsi Masisi, President Hage Geingob of Namibia and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria; among other incumbent and former Heads of Government.

Lawal who is also the founder of Connected Development (CODE), would speak at the African Union – African Governance Architecture (AU-AGA) 2018 High-Level Dialogue (HLD) on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa.

He would also share his experiences and results leading the largest social accountability movement in Africa, using innovative “Follow The Money” methodology and work process.

“In many respects, the work we do is challenging and unique in the civic space, but because I am convinced that Africa may not escape poor governance and poverty without a citizens-response to the scourge of corruption, my team at CODE are emboldened and energized.

“I am proud that our efforts, contributions and commitments to a corrupt-free continent is gaining momentum and recognition and we have since put our theory of change and work process in public domain for adoption by young campaigners/activists across the continent, this meeting is one of such.

“In the HLD at Gaborone, Botswana, I am expected to provoke debate on the role of citizens, media, open-government and community-based organisations in sustaining anti-corruption efforts in the continent, drawing from Follow The Money initiative.

“Specifically, I will provide insights into our methodology; its impacts, challenges and prospects for mainstreaming transparency and accountability in government systems as it affect public spending on service delivery in rural grassroots communities,” Lawal was quoted as saying in a statement signed by Kolo Kenneth Kadiri, Communications Lead at CODE.

According to the statement, “Follow The Money” which was founded in 2012 had mobilised and empowered millions of Africans, especially in the grassroots, on holding public/elected officials accountable and answerable.

The African Union had during its 30th Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this year, declared 2018 as the African Anti-Corruption year.

To this end, the African Union mobilised resources, commitments and partnerships across stakeholders and actors, government and non-governmental organisations, to eliminate corruption as the regions pre-eminent obstacle to economic development and prosperity.

Lawal added that “Follow The Money” had tracked $164 million in expenditure over the past six years, with a promise to do more.

“Holding a base in Nigeria, the movement runs dynamic chapters in The Gambia and Kenya (East Africa); implementing life-transforming campaigns across rural communities in the continent.

“Notable amongst our successful campaigns includes #SaveBagega: remediation (environmental clean-up) of the lead poisoned Bagega – a population of about 7,535 where 1,500 children were victims of lead poisoning and who needed urgent medical intervention in Zamfara State.

“In total, we have tracked public expenditures to the tune of over NGN 50 billion (USD 164 million) in the last six years”.

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