When the winners of fourth edition of Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award were honoured Monday in Kigali, the capital of the dynamic and vibrant African nation Rwanda, a new chapter got etched in golden letters in the annals of the fight against a global menace. It was a momentous occasion when His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Rwandan President Paul Kagame feted the winners. My heart was filled with pride as I attended the ceremony.
I understand it was His Highness the Amir’s idea to choose the African Continent and particularly Rwanda to host the latest edition of the award instituted by The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre (ROLACC), with HE Ali bin Fetais al-Marri at the helm who is an exemplary and outstanding representative of Qatar on the international arena. He is also the United Nations Special Advocate for the Prevention of Corruption.
The selection of Rwanda is highly significant. Rwanda and Qatar enjoy a very strong and deep relationship. President Kagame has been instrumental in ushering in political stability to one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies which witnessed a total turnaround, waking up from a devastating war and 1994 genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group that cost more than a million lives.
Among the highlights of the award event was the unveiling of a monument designed by Doha-based Iraqi contemporary artist and sculptor Ahmed Albahrani. Every nation which hosts the award gets this artwork, which symbolises transparency and the fight against corruption. As President Kagame said, the sculpture stands for both openness and the firm resolve needed to prevail in the fight against corruption. Rwanda has already started the anti-corruption journey, so this event will be an encouragement to end it, he stated.
Be it Arab Spring or the past turmoil in Sudan, if you dig deep, corruption will be discovered as the root cause of discontent. There are a number of countries which suffer due to corruption despite being rich in natural resources. It is in this context that Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award has been established as a beacon of hope and courage in the battle against a scourge and injustice.
The President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, who spoke at the award ceremony, recalled how an expose by Al Jazeera Channel led to five persons being jailed in a corruption case. FIFA President Gianni Infantino spoke about his fight against corruption within his organisation and went on to give a case study of the situation before he took office and what he has achieved. Undoubtedly, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award is scaling greater heights.