Collective commitment against corruption
Citizen campaign to make Makwanpur an ideal district against corruption has been set in motion. With the slogan of "I will not take bribe nor will I let others", the citizens pledged their commitment for anti-corruption movement by signing on a banner after the rally around Hetauda Bazaar, which was led by civil society on 8th September 2017.
The rally and signing program was organized in joint collaboration of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Makwanpur Chapter, Federation of Non-government organizations, Community forest consumer association and Dalit women association. Development Communication Society (SODEC) Nepal also actively participated in the program.
Other attendees of the program were chief or representatives from various government agencies, newly elected local representatives, civil society leaders, students, security personnel, human rights activists, journalists and media persons. A total of 150 people participated in the rally against corruption. The participants agreed that the rampant culture of giving and receiving bribe is to blame for the overall corruption increment.
While the rally was organized in the morning, the same day in the afternoon, SODEC-Nepal organized a district civic interaction where the participants emphasized on the importance of such discussions. The interaction program was focused on citizen engagement to promote good governance and anti-corruption.
During the interaction program Makwanpur Chief District Officer (CDO) Mr Chakra Bahadur Budha expressed his commitment to word towards fostering the environment of good governance and anti-corruption in the district. "Apart from delays due to policy or while following due process, if the service providers seem hesitant towards their job the citizens may directly contact me. I promise that I will take action against such irregularities." He added that the public should take interest in the activities of government agencies regarding their transparency and accountability while media's role also remains significant.
Adding to the CDO's points, CIAA Investigation Officer Mr Tirtha Upadhyay also stated that citizen engagement is the key to discourage corruption and irregularities. "CIAA is people's friend and it needs support from the people as well," he said.
Mr Hari Humagain, Chaiperson of FNJ Makwanpur Chapter emphasized that media has also playing a significant role in exposing cases of corruption and irregularities in the district. According to him, the journalists have been exclusively covering the cases of public interest and the local media has been promoting such stories to create awareness amongst the public and influence the public discourse.
The interaction program was attended by more than 50 participants, which included representatives from district state agencies, representatives from NGOs, local businesspersons, transporters, health personnel, security personnel, lawyers, students and journalists. All the participants unanimously agreed that active public participation is the core to the fight against corruption and promotion of good governance. They also praised the effort made by SODEC-Nepal for initiating the dialogue and discussion on citizen engagement.