Wednesday, October 31, 2012
SURELY GIVEN THE EXPOSURE OF THE NRM CAN MUSEVENI COME AGAIN TO ASK REASONABLE UGANDANS FOR VOTES?
NRM while in the bush for the so-called liberation war looted banks to get finances for their liberation activities, and after that, it took 30% of people’s savings to pay war debts. Little did Ugandans know that the NRM was to turn into a big mafia it is today! Surely, there is no way donor funds can be abused as the regime looks on. I have for quite some time wondered how possible it was that the construction sector was growing so fast when other parts of the economy had practically stagnated. It is the stolen funds that individuals are using. Prior to the 2011 General Election, a 50 kg bag of cement was about shs 12,500, today, the same bag goes for 28,500! Surely, what stupid economy is Uganda. How foolish will Ugandans be, or even the NRM organ responsible to see a replacement of the Presidential candidate, if they don’t? There is no good for which President Museveni can stand infront of the people asking for votes any more. We have seen enough loot. Time and again the president says that he wants a person who will carry on his vision! What vision in a situation when donor funds are abused, the same goes for locally generated funds. At this time of the information age, the NRM should be ashamed of the rape to the economy. How can the administration go on unconcerned with the shame it has put to the people of Uganda. The other time the President was asking God to forgive the people of Uganda. Surely, the President requires better. The country cannot go on like this way. I gree with what Mr. Kofi Annan former Secretary General - United Nations said, "Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life, and allows organised crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish... Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately... by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a government's ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice, and discouraging foreign investment and aid. Corruption is a key element in economic under-performance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development." I at times get ashamed of being a Ugandan not that the country is not a Pearl of Africa, but that our leaders are a real shame to the country, they have looted the national resources, and people are looking to a savior but it is simply sad. To the NRM, can we see sense prevail in the administration of the country? We cannot go on the way things are. Recently, the CEO of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) came open when she said things would be better if there were National Identity Cards. The question is, if the cards were paid for, why don’t we have the cards? Surely, it is just madness, and when people get fed up of the situation, they may be in for a revolution. William Kituuka Forms and Extent of Corruption in Uganda By U4 Anti Corruption Extent of Corruption In 2006, President Yoweri Museveni announced a policy of zero-tolerance for corruption. However, at the beginning of Musevini’s third term following the first multi-party (but not entirely fair) elections, most governance indicators show that corruption is perceived as widespread and endemic at all levels of society. Global Integrity’s 2006 report on the country estimates that more than half the government’s annual budget is lost to corruption each year, amounting to USD 950 million. (http://www.globalintegrity.org/reports/2006/uganda/ind ex.cfm). Corruption scandals involving personalities close to those in power periodically hit the headlines. A former health minister and loyal supporter of the president, along with two deputies, have been charged with misappropriating USD 2 million from funds provided by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (GAVI) in 2005. (www.yigg.de/sonstiges/uganda-ex-ministers-arrestedin-corruption-scandal). More recently, in 2007, the government circumvented official procurement guidelines to contract an unknown company, Kenlloyd Logistics, to replenish Uganda’s fuel reserves. The company was being run by the sonin-law of the foreign minister, who is himself related to the president. (http://report.globalintegrity.org/Uganda/2008/notebook) Public confidence in government officials is severely affected by such scandals. A majority of citizens surveyed for the 2005 Afro barometer perceived corruption to be rampant. In addition, 36% of respondents to the survey believed that most or all government officials - whether at the central or at the local level - were involved in corruption. (http://www.afrobarometer.org/uganda.htm). Other empirical data corroborates this. The 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks Uganda at 126th place with a score of 2.6. Previous iterations of the index show that, despite slight improvements, the various sources of the CPI continue to perceive corruption as rampant and systemic in Uganda, with scores ranging from 2.1 to 2.8 between 2002 and 2007. (Please see: http://transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2008). The World Bank’s 2007 Worldwide Governance Indicators note that Uganda performed moderately in terms of regulatory quality (48.5) and government effectiveness (42.7), below average in terms of rule of law (37.6), and voice and accountability (33.2) and weakly in terms of control of corruption (24.6 compared to 26.2 in 2003) and political stability (13.9). (Please see: http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi2007/sc_chart.asp). Further surveys conducted in the past five years confirm these findings. The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report for 2008-09 identifies corruption as one of the major constraints for doing business in the country, after access to financing. (http://www.weforum.org/documents/GCR0809/index.ht ml).The World Bank Investment Climate Assessment undertaken in 2004, corroborates this finding with 46.3% of small firms and 56.5 % of middle size firms identifying corruption as a major or severe constraint to doing business in the country. (http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTAFRSUMAFTPS/Resources/note_11_screen.pdf). Forms of corruption Bureaucratic Corruption Bureaucratic and administrative forms of corruption are widespread in the Ugandan administration, with practices of bribery, nepotism, and misuse of official positions and resources. Government bureaucracy, complex regulatory procedures and red tape provide numerous opportunities for corruption and rent seeking. The 2006 World Bank-IFC Enterprise Survey indicates that more than half of firms expect to make informal payments to public officials to get things done. 80% of companies report paying bribes and make on average more than 30 unofficial payments per year. (http://www.enterprisesurveys.org/ExploreEconomies/?economyid=193&year=2006). Firms typically make facilitation payments to speed-up bureaucratic processes, especially to obtain licences, construction permits and/or customs clearance, or to connect to phone lines and electricity supplies. Large and foreign companies appear to be the most vulnerable targets for bribe solicitation, paying close to 4% of their revenue in informal payments. (http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTAFRSUMAFTP S/Resources/note_11_screen.pdf) Political Corruption Political patronage and favouritism further characterize the Ugandan administration, with NRM patronage systems reaching into the private sector. In local government bodies, giving jobs and contracts to relatives or supporters appears to be common practice. A 2006 Freedom House report denounces widespread patronage and corruption in government, with the exception of the public, health and education service commissions that are generally credited with making open, merit-based appointments. Even here, however, there have been recent cases of interference in the appointment of senior officials in the ministries of health and of education and sports. (http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=22&year=2008&country=7511). In terms of political finance, the Freedom House report notes that regulations controlling influence over campaigns are not enforced effectively, with many instances of economic privileges given to investors. Although the government allocates USD 25,000 for campaign expenses to each presidential candidate, the ruling NRM party appears to be one of the greatest beneficiaries of the system, receiving funds from both private and public sources. During the 2004 elections, 35% of respondents to the Afro Barometer reported having been offered food or a gift in return for their vote. (http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=363&year=2006&country=7080). Sectors Most Affected by Corruption Corruption in Public Procurement Public procurement is one of the sectors most affected by corruption in Uganda. According to the 2007 African Peer Review Mechanism Report, Uganda loses USD 258.6 million Annually through corruption and procurement malfeasance. The report further estimates that if the country could eliminate corruption in public procurement, it would save USD 15.2 million a year. In the assessment of the country’s Auditor General, procurement accounts for 70% of public spending, of which an estimated 20% is lost via corruption. In June 2008, a senior World Bank official stated that high level corruption in procurement deals had been responsible for a loss of USD 300 million since 2005. He added that 70% of government contracts were not awarded according to established procedures, while half of the national budget is spent on procurement deals. (Please see the 2008 Global Integrity report: http://report.globalintegrity.org/Uganda/2008). The US-Department of State Investment Climate Statements for 2009 also notes that government procurement is not transparent, particularly for defence items. In previous years, several high-profile government tenders for infrastructure projects were suspended due to allegations of corruption. (http://www.state.gov/e/eeb/rls/othr/ics/2009/index.htm). The 2006 World Bank-IFC survey indicates that close to half of the firms questioned expect to give a gift to secure a government contract. Companies further report the gift value to amount to approximately more than 5% of the contract value. A baseline survey of National Public Procurement Integrity conducted in 2006 by the Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA), the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) and USAID reports that illegal payments to secure government contract at both the local and the central levels are even higher, representing approximately 7 to 9% of the contract value. The survey further estimates that direct losses due to corruption in procurement - at both the central and the local levels – amounted to between USD 64-85 million in 2004-2005. The majority of respondents identified the secretary to the Tender Board and Tender Board members as being most corrupt. (http://www.ppda.go.ug/downloads/Integrity%20survey%20FINAL%20REPORT%202007.pdf). The PPDA, IGG and USAID survey identifies the lack of effective reporting systems, poor record management by state organs, the weakness of the judiciary, the poor investigation of corruption cases, and the lack of effective systems to punish corrupt officials, as majors factors contributing to the high prevalence of corruption in public procurement. Corruption in Tax Administration Uganda undertook a major reform of its tax administration system with the formation of a semiautonomous revenue authority, the Uganda Revenue Authority, in 1991. Surveys indicate that corruption is on the rise in the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), with instances of political interference, patronage and corruption at managerial level. There also seems to be an increase in the number of tax collectors openly demanding bribes in their dealings with tax payers. A 2005 CMI report on corruption in tax administration indicates that 43% of firms report occasionally or always paying bribes to tax officers. 84% of respondents to the 2005 Afro Barometer believe that tax officials are involved in corruption. In 2003, five senior officers attached to the Large Taxpayer Department were involved in a major corruption scandal. A Commission of Inquiry of Corruption in the URA was appointed by the government in the same year due to serious allegations of underestimated or misstated declarations in customs, as well as collaboration between tax payers and URA staff. The Commission released a much delayed and debated report two years later whose legality was questioned by Members of Parliament. The report was ultimately nullified by the High Court. (http://www.u4.no/pdf/?file=/helpdesk/helpdesk/queries/query147.pdf). Corruption in the Police The police are perceived as one of the most corrupt institutions in Uganda, particularly traffic police. 91% of respondents to the 2005 Afro Barometer believe that the police are involved in corruption, while 67% think that most or all police officials are involved in corruption. Few (about 17%) actually report having paid a bribe to avoid a problem with the police. According to the 2006 Global Integrity report mentioned above, political interference in police-work is commonplace, with high profile cases sometimes dropped following political pressure. Investigations of police corruption have increased under the leadership of a new police chief appointed in 2005. He has, however, faced internal criticism and has received several death threats. (http://www.business-anticorruption.com/en/country-profiles/sub-saharanafrica/uganda/background-information/). Judicial Corruption According to Freedom House 2006 and 2008, the executive does not guarantee the independence of the judiciary and there have been instances of intimidation of the judiciary. In 2005, heavily armed soldiers surrounded the High Court in an attempt to courtmartial civilians involved in allegations of treason. Concerns about judicial independence were reinforced by security forces’ intervention in a politically sensitive trial in 2007. Judges subsequently went on strike to protest against the invasion of the courts by security forces, and the East African Court of Justice found Uganda guilty of violating the rule of law and the rights of its citizens by allowing the military to repeatedly interfere with court processes. The Uganda Law Society noted that this episode reflected a broader problem of government officials refusing to comply with certain judicial actions. A Bertelsmann Foundation report from 2008 reveals that the upper levels of the judiciary demonstrate high standards of professionalism and independence. The administration of justice is undermined, however, by a lack of resources, skills and capacity at the lower levels of the judiciary. (http://www.bertelsmann-transformationindex.de/63.0.html?&L=1). According to the 2005 Afro Barometer, 73% of citizens think judges and magistrates are involved in corruption, while the vast majority of citizens believe high level officials are significantly less likely to be held accountable for serious crimes than ordinary members of the public. The US-Investment Climate Statement 2009 confirms these perceptions, reporting that several high-profile government corruption scandals have, in recent years, resulted in few or no sanctions against the officials involved. A significant number of the companies surveyed for the 2006 Word Bank and IFC Enterprise Survey do not believe Uganda’s courts to be fair, impartial and uncorrupted.