Fast tracking Uganda’s efforts in the fight against corruption.
As the world commemorates the International Anti-Corruption Day tomorrow, 9th December, the fact that Uganda loses approximately Ugx 20 trillion ($5.3 billion) to corruption annually should not go unheeded. This is almost half of Uganda’s current National budget that stands at Ugx 48.1307 trillion National Budget. 80% of this enormous sum lost to corruption is through public procurement, one of the commonest forms of corruption in Uganda.
The endemic corruption in Uganda keeps worsening in the midst of the country’s skyrocketing public debt that recently hit the Ugx 80 trillion mark. This dreadful vice has for so long robbed Ugandan tax payers of getting quality social services in return to the taxes they pay. It has also been one of the major setbacks that has failed previous poverty alleviation initiatives for example the famous Entandikwa scheme, Operation Wealth Creation, Emyooga and most recently the ongoing Parish Development Model that has already registered quite a number of corruption scandals.
According to a scorecard released by government mid this week, Ugx 240 billion has been recovered by the various anti-corruption agencies in the country between July, 2020 to date. This scorecard ranked the office of the Auditor General at the top for recovering Ugx 175 billion lost to public officials through theft. The State House Anti-Corruption Unit came second on the scorecard for recovering Ugx 35.5 billion and were followed by the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) that recovered Ugx 30 billion. The Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) recovered Ugx 10billion, Ugx 6.4 billion and Ugx 615 billion respectively.
Irrespective of the fact that Uganda ratified the UN Convention against Corruption and established a robust legal, institutional, policy, managerial framework to fight the vice, Ugandans still remain deeply concerned that the incidence and levels of corruption in the country have continued to escalate.
SecretsKnown also evidently observes that several of these anti-corruption agencies in the country that have been executing their mandate over the years have narrowed the application of their mandate of combating corruption to other forms of corruption other than political corruption.
The SecretKnown is that corruption in Uganda has become the glue for regime survival. Recall during the commemoration of last year’s International Anti-Corruption Day at Kololo Independence Grounds where President Yoweri Museveni warned the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Olive Kamya, to go slow on the planned lifestyle audit.
The president’s statements did not come as a surprise to many because when you remove corruption from the picture, then the survival of the regime in power will be threatened. Political corruption thrives when people in power use their positions or office for self-gain. They exploit the powers and authority that come with the position, engage in bribery, embezzlement, extortion, influence peddling and practice cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage.
The observational trend is that majority of these institutions have for long preferred to play safe and steer clear of handling political corruption because political corruption involves powerful individuals and mafia networks whose influence and connections extend to the highest office -the executive. These mafia networks operate informally but within formal structures making political corruption more perverse, lethal and out of reach for the institutions. The architects of political corruption are more powerful than the institutions.
ACFIM has previously plausibly made arguments backed by research that there is a nexus between commercial electoral politics and political corruption, and until the significance of legislating campaign financing is appreciated as an antidote to unregulated use of money in electoral politics, this disastrous vice may never cease.