The blackmail in the fight against corruption 

By George Mubiru

Corruption simply means the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain, stretching beyond financial gain to non-financial advantages. It is evident that Corruption has continued to be so endemic in Uganda, and has now become an accepted norm in society, that when someone is appointed or elected to a public office, they think it is their turn to steal. 

The lack of civic competence has made the situation worse. About 85% of the “Wanainch” mostly from rural areas presume that the provision of services to them is a gift or favor from the government. Few of them see it as their right and therefore settle for anything. 

About 97% don’t know how much money is sent to their local governments for health, infrastructure, and education among others. Even if shoddy work is done they remain thankful because they never expected it.

From the grassroots to the top. From large international businesses, corporations, government agencies and arms to district and local governments, stealing remains a thorn in the feet of our government.

People pay bribes to procure contracts for the supply of goods and services. District service commissions are rotten with stinking bribery where the highest bidders take the jobs. Senior government officials and politicians serve their personal interests to the detriment of the economic and social development of our country. Greed is the epitome of their work.

government officials involved in perpetuating corruption are very influential senior officers. It should be noted that large-scale corruption has taken place in government departments and the perpetrators have manipulated the law to be exonerated. This has tended to send a wrong signal that the Government lacks the political will to punish corrupt officials. 

A question lingers in the heads of concerned citizens. 1. Is there political will and commitment at all levels of government; from the Head of State and Parliament to the local government leaders to genuinely end corruption? 

President Museveni has always been committed to fighting corruption. To my disappointment, the opposition has used it as a shield to malign him that he has done nothing to fight corruption and has always portrayed him as the harbour of thieves. 

When they talk, you may assume that Uganda is the most corrupt country in the world yet it doesn’t even rank among the top ten corrupt countries in Africa. The top ten corrupt countries in Africa include; Somalia, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Sudan, DRC, Comoros, Chad, Burundi & Eritrea in that order.

This is wrong. Fighting corruption was part of the NRM’s key 10-point program of rebuilding Uganda and indeed the president has tried much but only frustrated by the loopholes in the legal framework. 

After restoring democracy and building institutions, to exercise good governance, H.E. the president has to respect the rule of law. He can’t act as a CID police officer, DPP and a judge.

Since NRM came to power in 1986, Uganda has also had tangible progress in establishing legal and institutional frameworks to counter this corruption. This effort has been downplayed by the opposition who do not seem to appreciate it but instead use it as a sword to blackmail the most successful president and government in the history of Uganda. 

Anti-corruption legislations have been put in place to curb the vice-like the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Penal Code Act, the IGG Act 2002, the Public Finance and Accountability Act (PFAA) 2003, the Leadership Code Act 2002, Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (PPDA) 2003, the Director of public prosecution DPP, Inspectorate of Government, Auditor General and the Inter-Agency Forum though with limited results. He has also created several State House anti-corruption units including the most recent to deal with theft in URA.

Under NRM, some government officials have been apprehended and some convicted on corruption counts. The likes of Hon Gilbert Bukenya, the former vice president, Hon Captain Mike Mukula etc as well as other government officials like Kazinda, Chandy Jamwa, etc.

The president has gone ahead to enhance the salaries of personnel in the judiciary in a bid to fight graft in the institution such that it bites. After identifying more weaknesses in the anti corruption bodies, the president, as the father of the nation, has come out to reinforce it’s capacity to bite properly.

He has fully facilitated the investigation departments to ensure that enough evidence is collected against the thieves who have been manipulating the law.

He has also promised to use the rebel tricks to clear the vice. I believe part of the trick is the recent appointment of Assistant RCCs/RDCs to beef up the presidential office at the district and wipe out the stinking corruption at that level which has derailed service delivery to the wanainch. 

Let’s rally behind the president and kick out these thieves who are a danger to economic development and great obstacles to service delivery to the Wanainchi.

President Museveni and NRM are here to stay. There are people naturally above certain forces, principalities, or powers. No matter what you do, the aura behind them will always protect them and that’s Gen. Museveni.

The writer, George Mubiru, is the Assistant RCC for Jinja City.

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