Mochudi — When President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi ascended to the presidency about 17 months ago, among his promises to Batswana was to fight corruption with everything at his disposal.
And as the President looks to nipping corruption in the bud, the nation has to ask what it needs to do to help him win the fight against the ill that poses a threat to the country's economy.
BOPA spoke to a local author, popular life coach and motivational speaker, Ms Ashley Thaba, about her thoughts on the issue.
According to her, there are many ways to fight corruption, but teaching people about integrity is key.
She has been hosting and facilitating workshops on integrity for young people in Gaborone and Moshupa as well as writing columns for various private newspapers.
"My prayer is that people who are participating or contemplating corruption would read these articles.
I try to explain why I believe it is to their personal benefit and to the nation's benefit to turn from the life of deception and corruption," she said.
She further said most people go not know what it takes to live with integrity.
"Every day we are faced with the temptation to do good or bad. In a hurry at the traffic lights, we have to choose whether to sit in the queue and patiently wait our turn or cut people off and run the red light. When a tender is advertised, we have to choose whether to make a deal under the table or not," she added.
She said there are many choices that one has to make on a daily basis like whether to steal, lie, bribe, cheat, have extra-marital affairs, etcetera.
"We all know about these temptations because every single one of us thinks about giving into these everyday if we are honest. What stops some people from succumbing? Integrity," she said.
She described integrity as 'a mental choice to do the right thing when no one else is watching, even if no one will ever find out'.
Explaining further, she said a person with such trait would show three characteristics, among them empathy, which she defined as 'an intentional decision to put yourself into someone else's shoes'.
A person with empathy, she said, would know exactly what to do in a situation they were tempted to do in a wrong way, giving an example where someone working for the health ministry was of a mind to dip into the funds meant to buy new equipment for the hospital.
"Millions have been allocated. What does it matter if you give the tender to a friend and you make enough to go on that exotic vacation you have long dreamed of? Here is what empathy does.
You begin to think of the mother who has three children who has been diagnosed with cancer and now won't be able to be treated because the radiation therapy machine is not working," she said.
Further, she said empathy allowed one to see past themselves and their pocket to the devastating effects their corrupt act would have on others.
Secondly, she said a person with integrity would be trustworthy.
"Do you have a helper in your home that you can trust? I mean you could leave P1 000 pula beside the bed and you know that she would not take it? Or maybe you have a driver who you know won't take advantage of the car and use it for personal use?"
She said not many were blessed to have met people like that, "but if you are one of these who has met someone like that, you can testify what a peace of mind it gives you to know that person is trustworthy. Imagine how efficient our country would be if employees operated with trustworthiness."
One last trait of a person with integrity, she said would be love.
"Has anyone ever told you to go the extra mile to help your child do well in school, to make sure she is warm at night, or to cook a nice meal for your husband? No! You did that because you love that person," she said.
She said loving others would allow one to put the needs of others above their own and act selflessly because they cared about the well-being of other people.
"Imagine if this was applied in every decision of our lives. Corruption would cease and integrity would prevail if we chose to love one another and treat others the way we would want to be treated," she said.
All such qualities, she said were ideal even though it was not easy, and maybe even impossible, to display them in one's day to day life.
However, she advised that people should always strive to 'die to self' and seek to live by the word of God which is the truth.
"Honestly, I am a selfish person. That is the natural way I think. I am so thankful that God's Spirit within me gives me a power I could never have to deny my fleshly desires to make my life all about me," she said.
In the quest to help fight corruption in the country and strive to live lives of integrity, she said her desire was to see people choose to live and do things the right way.
"My prayer is that people would choose to do things God's way, so they can be trusted with the country's resources and where they truly act in love towards others and love for the future generation who will have to live with the world we are creating for them by the choices we make and the way we treat people today," she said.
Source : BOPA