KAMPALA, UGANDA: Uganda has remained among the most corrupt countries in the world over the last year, with global indices showing not much change from recent years.
According to Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index for 2021, Uganda scored 27 out of 100, which is below the Sub-Saharan average of 33 points, and below the global average of 43 points.
The study that used information from 13 global sources, targeted a total of 189 countries 49 of them in Africa. In Africa, Seychelles, Cape Verde and Botswana performed the best scoring between 55 and 70, while South Sudan, Somalia and Equatorial Guinea scored the lowest, between 11 and 17.
In East Africa, South Sudan and Burundi were the worst performers followed by Uganda and Kenya, while Tanzania and Rwanda came top of the EAC countries. In terms of raking, Uganda moved down two places to 144th from the 2020 ranking.
The Executive Director of Transparency International Uganda, Peter Wandera encourages efforts targeting younger people and those still in school to embrace transparency at a young age, as one way of tackling mindset change. He also calls for openness in government departments and the public sector as a whole but also urges that anti-corruption agencies be given their independence.
The government of Uganda and departments or sectors named as the most corrupt in Uganda have always dismissed the corruption or transparency reports as mere perspectives not showing the true image. The Executive Director however says that this study is a compilation of data from different local and international reports and surveys on a country, and is globally accepted. He says even the study done by the Inspectorate of Government (IG) corroborates the data always presented by the Corruption Perception Index.
Uganda is also named among the top countries with heavy investment in the fight against corruption despite its low ranking. This is shown in the number of anti-corruption agencies including those departments in the police, army and the judiciary, as well as statutory bodies like the Inspectorate of Government, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, among others, the Auditor General and the Directorates of Economic Monitoring and Ethics and Integrity.
Explaining why all these have not managed to bring down corruption levels in Uganda, Wandera says the cost of corruption in Uganda is very low, while the evil is gratified by the public. He adds that the slow judicial process that can last more than five years of one case, as well as the low funding to the transparency agencies, are some of the reasons corruption persists.
The Vice-Chairman of the board, Geoffrey Kiirya, says the fight against corruption must be everyone’s fight because the government alone cannot manage it. He says the system in place must be supported by committed people, otherwise, the fight fails.
Worldwide, the corruption perception remained largely unchanged too, while in Africa, a few countries made good gains, but the average performance was pulled back by the majority, 80 per cent, which made little or no progress in the last 10-years.
Western European countries top the index, taking eight out of the 10 best performer spots, with New Zealand and Singapore as the only non-European countries featuring on the list with scores of more than 80. According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic also affected transparency, just as conflict in some countries.
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