Fighting Corruption Through Citizen Legal Action
The objective of this pilot project is to empower citizens to actively fight against corruption, creating a tool for the victims of corruption, to open court cases against corrupt officials and set precedence creating deterrence.
Cameroon was perceived as the most corrupt country in the world in the years 1998 and 1999 (TI corruption index). Corruption in all levels has been denounced by social, religious and political leaders as the primary obstacle for development in Cameroon. The government of Cameroon hence declared its commitment to the fight against corruption. Despite the declared political will for the fight against corruption, little has changed in any tangible manner. As an example, the report Global Corruption Barometer released in December 2007 by Transparency International highlights Cameroon as the country with the worst results with 79% of Cameroonians admitting to have paid a bribe for services in the last year.
This project is based on the view that lack of knowledge is not the main obstacle to the fight against corruption in Cameroon. Sensitisation of the public that corruption exists and needs to be fought has little value if the public is not empowered to take any action against it. The use of the media in naming and shaming technique, as well, has limited value. As limited, in fact, as the power of public opinion inside the country. Corruption in Cameroon relies not much on the inability to know as on the inability to act. The project is therefore trying to empower citizens to actively fight against corruption, creating a tool for the victims of corruption, to open court cases against corrupt officials and set precedence creating deterrence. This is an enormous challenge as the justice system itself is plagued with corruption. It requires innovation and experience in getting law applied in a corrupt environment.