AS UGANDA MARKED THE ANTI CORRUPTION DAY 9th DECEMBER, WE ARE PROUD OF REBEL MPs AND THEIR LIKES
Some of us will remain zero tolerant as regards corruption. Uganda would by now be a donor country had it not been the messes and patronage of NRM leadership, lack of planning to mention a few which are responsible for taking the country backward. It is no surprise that we have people who have gone to school and would best understand the ills to society instead giving corruption a chance and calling those who are open about anti - corruption as rebels. This is the bankruptcy of our compromised leadership. if only once these people sat and seriously thought about those who don't get services they would otherwise get, the debt we are accumulating where the corrupt are eating a bigger piece, they would be positive about the bad of corruption and we would join hands to fight the monster which has finished off Uganda.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
THE CHANGING FACES OF CORRUPTION
By Timothy Kalyegira
Posted Sunday, December 11 2011 at 00:00
The rampant corruption in government and public life is no longer about accountability, moral failings and greed. It is all these, of course, but it is starting to point to something more serious.
Corruption, when it goes from small figures and occasional breaches of the law to becoming runaway and pervasive all over the country is proof that President Museveni is not as in control of events in Uganda as has always been widely believed.
The reason it is believed there has not been a military coup in Uganda for more than 26 years is because Museveni was thought to be in total control of the army, police and intelligence services. No mutineer or coup plotter in any square kilometer of Ugandan territory or even abroad could sit down and plan a coup without it somehow leaking to intelligence or being crushed by the army.
No politician could stand up to Museveni for the same reason, it was assumed. This image of a president who knows where every soldier from every unit is every morning in radio calls with his headquarters and field commanders became a deterrent against a coup.
For this same reason, corruption as a national way of life was not much heard of before 1990. Civil servants and government ministers, fearing this recently victorious guerrilla leader would arrest them if they dared embezzle public funds, if they were corrupt did so as discreetly as possible.
Today, corruption has become “Proudly Ugandan”, proudly and defiantly unashamed of what it is. Ministers accused of embezzling Global Fund money, ministers named in oil bribery scandals, publicly assert their innocence, insist they will not step down; they appear at church services and fundraisings, and social gatherings.
The corrupt now enjoy high job security and confidence that by and large they will get away with their deeds. This leads us to the next question: If the head of state is not in firm control and every Ugandan, it now seems can be bribed or can steal, how secure in power is the NRM government? If bribery and large-scale corruption are now a national way of life, who is to say where this will stop?
If Presidential Guard Brigade soldiers are reported several times in the media to have made off with substantial sums of money and somehow life goes on, what will happen the day a foreign government hostile to Museveni decides to place soldiers of the PGB on a secret payroll?
Can Museveni’s guards be bribed to turn their guns on him? Can arms be secretly smuggled onto his helicopter or jet to be used on him? Even if there are a few among Museveni’s innermost circles who are still loyal to him, what guarantee is there that they can resist the bribes and mass theft that the President’s own Cabinet ministers casually engage in?
For Museveni to remain safe, he must now have a select group of people, both civilian and military, who are loyal to the end if need be. But those same loyalists also must be above moral reproach. They must be the type to whom $700,000 is offered but they politely turn it down.
Then, on top of these rare traits, they must be trained and precise in their knowledge and skills, in electronics, bomb disposal, crowd control and other security basics.
How many Ugandans are there left who can be totally loyal to Museveni, who also are not corrupt and who have the necessary technical skills to thwart any danger?
When we see this rampant corruption, we cannot rule out that the sums of money are more than an individual needs, even for luxurious living. Under the guise of grabbing whatever can be grabbed, might some of this money be going to prepare for a war or some kind of insurrection? Two weeks ago, a former UNLA soldier told me the full story of the July 1985 military coup that ousted President Milton Obote.
The political climate was strikingly like what we see in Uganda today, except for the corruption. There was intrigue in the army and within the ruling UPC party; intrigue between the Langi and Acholi in the UNLA army; intrigue between the Catholic Acholi and the Protestant Acholi in the army. The centre just fell to pieces.
Right now, the younger NRM MPs have taken on such a vigorous public crusade against corruption that they have ended up doing even better than the opposition DP and FDC MPs in this regard
Friday, 09 December 2011
IF the negative impact of corruption is universally pervasive, its consequences in the underdeveloped world, stalling development and making life dreary, are worrying. Although the technologically advanced world may have strong structures and institutions to withstand and mitigate the deleterious onslaught of corruption in public life, the underdeveloped world on the contrary is still vulnerable to its destructive and virulent tendencies.
IN many African countries, corruption has become the norm in their post-colonial experiences. The ruling elite in most of these countries have gone further to entrench corruption as the moral code of public life. Even moral capitals like the churches and mosques have not been insulated from corrupt influences.
NIGERIA is a good example. At the return to civilian administration in 1999, not a few patriots were disturbed by the attempt then to erect the democratic tradition on the twin stilts of poverty and corruption. Their fear then was that the socio-economic atmosphere was not ideal because the voters were as susceptible to the lure of lucre just as the politicians were desperate to seek public office by all means. At the end of the day, Nigeria easily became a spectacle in corruption as Transparency International (TI) in its indices rated The Nigeria Police and the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) as the most corrupt public institutions in the country. If the country’s security agency and the parastatal agency in charge of power are fingered as the most corrupt in the country, there can only be little doubt about the direction the country is headed. The bitter truth is that life in both public and private transactions in Nigeria has been sullied so much by the poison of corruption, such that the mutual trust between the government and the citizens, so much taken for granted elsewhere, has to a large extent been non-existent and the society is only held together incredibly by the tenuous strands of forlorn hope in future possibilities.
IT is not as if the establishment is oblivious of these realities. Between 1999 and now, there have been feeble attempts to stamp out corruption. Both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) were established as a response to the need to fight corruption to a standstill. However, fighting corruption is beyond setting up bodies that could eventually be attacked by corruption as the case of Nigeria has proven to be.
THE appointments of the helmsmen at these anti-graft agencies even spoke eloquently about the insincerity of the government in the fight against corruption. The pioneer chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, was appointed against the spirit of the Act establishing the commission and in order to make him fit the bill, he was given an undue accelerated promotion, a veritably corrupt move to all intents and purposes. Expectedly, his tenure at the helm ended in a fiasco which cast a pall on the essence of the commission. His successor, Mrs Farida Waziri, fared worse. Not only was she rumoured to have been sponsored by a former governor of oil-rich Delta State, who had been allegedly adroit at attacking the public till, and who had been on the commission’s wanted list, her fight against corruption was at best futile. The EFCC during her tenure made a sham of the arrest and prosecution of the ex-governor in question. The fight against corruption was held in contempt and derision by the public and Mrs Hilary Clinton’s scathing observations were so apt that not a few people thought that these comments presaged Waziri’s eventual sack.
THE ICPC, another anti-graft agency, is even believed to have a more serious problem of credibility arising from the Act establishing it. Until it gets a petition from a complainant, it cannot on its own begin investigation, let alone initiate the prosecution of corrupt people whether in public or private life. Both anti-graft agencies may have made some arrests and successfully prosecuted a few people, but such have not been enough to drive fear into the hearts of potential felons to deter them. Apart from this, the view that corruption is only about stealing from the public till is totally misleading. There are corrupt transactions which may not necessarily involve money, either remotely or immediately. As a matter of fact, stealing public funds is only a manifestation of a more fundamental process of repudiation of the society’s mores by the individuals.
WE are persuaded that corruption thrives and flourishes in the underdeveloped world because of their lack of requisite will to punish it adequately.
TODAY, Nigeria is rated as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. But that is not even the tragedy. The tragedy is that the country is not sincere about its fight against it. Can the beneficiaries of corruption be expected to wage a sincere and desperate war against it? The theme of this year’s International anti-corruption day, “ACT — Against Corruption Today” is apposite.