Corruption is all too evident in PNG today but young people can combat it by being involved and advocating for transparency and justice.
PNG is one of the most corrupt countries in the world (Unicef- 2015). Every day on various forms of mass media, I hear and read constant reports about alleged corruption, misappropriation of funds and resources and failing governments.
So I decided to discuss and ask some of my colleagues what they thought about corruption.
One of my colleagues revealed the following synonyms for corruption: white collar crime, cheating, bribery, a dishonest politician or, nepotism, unfair employment and favouritism.
His opinion echoed in the definition offered by Dr Elaine Byrne in her book, Political Corruption in Ireland.
She states that “the challenge is to distinguish between systemic and individual corruption, petty and grand corruption, moral and legal corruption; and rumours and reality of corruption”. This definition clearly highlights the complexity of the term used daily. Corruption seems to be intentional but there are numerous solutions which young people of today can use to address this problem in our country.
Systemic corruption prevails when devious acts saturate the economic, political and social system of a country. This is one of the hardest types of corruption to counter.
However, firstly we must be aware of the rules, laws and regulations in our country and exercise our political rights and responsibilities to combat the immorality.
Then existing structures must be used as checks and balances to address the situations.
There are many tribunals and commission surfacing daily to address all these issues. However, we must become active members of our institutions that reinforce principles of democracy, fairness and justice in the country.
Most of our politicians, who are our leaders and supposedly exemplars, are the ones perpetrate corrupt acts daily. Their individual influence cannot be underestimated and the culprits’ ultimate aim is to destroy many people’s lives while achieving their selfish gains.
On the other hand, within our institutions, we can position ourselves to agitate and apply positive peer pressure in these negative situations.
We can use social media and innovation to sensitise the public and embarrass the wrong doers if traditional channels of protest, the police or the judicial system fail, (but this doesn’t really stop corruption in PNG).
Often corruption is delineated by the semantics of big lie and small, white lie syndrome, which parallels the concepts of petty and grand corruption. We should be impartial and protest against all forms of corruption. They should acquire the skills to discern corrupt acts.
Ultimately, if one condones a small corrupt event such as wrongly awarding a student as valedictorian of a school’s graduation as opposed to a larger issue such as one’s appointment to a commission based on nepotism rather than merit, how can one protest?
We must always advocate for transparency and justice through the moral values that are instilled in us. By rejection of any corrupt act whether big or small, it will reduce corruption within the society.
We must elevate to more leadership roles locally, regionally and internationally and continue to advocate for transparency, peace, equity and justice for all.
As future leaders, we should avail ourselves of information and training that allows us to become responsible leaders and advocators of the truth in spite of the consequences. Corruption should not become a norm in today’s society.
Let us, as young people of today, stand up for what is right to ensure we have a successful future.