Local National

 OPINION: Corruption, a fight for us all!

By Hason Mutunzi Bwambale 

Corruption is a form of dishonesty or a criminal offense which is undertaken by a person or an organization which is entrusted with a position of authority, in order to acquire illicit benefits or abuse power for one’s personal gain.

Corruption in Uganda is characterized by grand-scale theft of public funds and petty corruption involving public officials at all levels of society as well as widespread political patronage systems. Elite corruption in Uganda is through a patronage system which has been exacerbated by foreign aid. These corruption tendencies are also exhibited in the private sector. 

H.E Yoweri Museveni while addressing members of our August house asserted that corruption was failing the country’s development agenda. “Am told there is corruption even in parliament. How can this be?  I am going to crash corruption and whoever is involved in corruption is going to face my full force,” President Museveni warned. 

Earlier this week, Anti- Corruption Unit State House came to Kasese. The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) is a one-stop-centre specialized office under State House whose function is to receive corruption information from Ugandan citizens over a secure and confidential online platform.

Since the creation of State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) in December 2018 by His Excellency, The President of Uganda, Gen. Yoweri Museveni acting under Article 99 (4) of the Constitution, the Unit has in liaison with the Criminal Investigations Department of Uganda Police acting under Article 120 (3) (a) and other constitutionally mandated agencies carried out several anti-corruption investigations and caused the charging of several persons before the Courts of Law. 

The Anti-Corruption Unit in liaison with Police Uganda arrested 4 Kasese District Local Govt officials for alleged mismanagement of public funds & district assets. They are the Chief Finance Officer, Muhindo Margret, former Town Clerk Mubuku TC & his former Treasurer, plus the Senior Asst. District Engineer. On Thursday, May 12, 2022, the number of those detained rose to 6. This was after the arrest of Alice Bwambale, the Town Clerk of Mpondwe Lhubiriha Town council, Kasese District and the Senior Treasurer, MLTC Baluku Pascal. Analysts say that the unit came at an invitation of unknown whistle blowers at the district. 

Corruption hinders economic, political, and social development, especially in less-developed countries, and has a disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable, increasing costs and reducing access to services, including health, education, and justice. Corruption worsens poverty and aggravates inequality as resources meant for the poor and the underprivileged are diverted to line the pockets of the corrupt. 

The IGG Hon. Betty Kamya has always said it is her attempt at catching the big people involved in corruption. “People have been telling us we want the big people charged with corruption. People are saying we are tired of the “mukene’ being arrested for corruption. We want the big fish,” she said.

Each year, anti-corruption agencies come up with anti-graft slogans. Some these slogans and campaigns include, “Ending corruption starts with me”, Promoting Social Accountability through active Citizenry”, “Expose the Corrupt”, “Stop corruption”, “End corruption”, Anti-corruption run”, etc. Most of these slogans and campaigns are driven by donors who inject funds into anti-corruption institutions with the aim of raising awareness in fighting corruption. 

In spite of these campaigns, over the years, corruption indices have put Uganda among the 30 most corrupt countries in the world with its anticorruption performance averaging 20 on a scale where 0 is the worst and 100 is the best. 

This is in spite of enacting a plethora of laws, policies and institutions that fight corruption. As a show of force in the fight against corruption, Uganda established the Inspectorate of Government (IG) in 1988. Other organisations involved in the anti-corruption fight include the Office of Auditor General, Financial Intelligence Authority, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, State House Anti-Corruption Unit, the police, etc. These are backed by a host of anti-corruption laws. Yet the vice of corruption appears to spread more. 

Article 17 (1) (i) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995, provides that it is a duty of a citizen ‘’to combat corruption and misuse or wastage of public property’’. It is from this context that I call up upon all countrymen and country women to be steadfast on the fight against corruption. It is for us all to fight . 

EDITOR’S OPINION

Fighting Corruption is Dangerous, but Necessary

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