Corruption
Corruption

The Ugandan government’s latest anti-corruption drive by creating a new unit has received mixed reactions from the civil society.

President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday announced that he has formed a new unit in his office to fight corruption up to the district level. Museveni urged the public to report any suspicious cases to the unit.

“The only enemy we need to fight is corruption and poor implementation of government programs. Report any corruption you come across to this unit,” Museveni said in his State of the Nation address.

Museveni expressed frustration about the Office of the Inspector General of Government (IGG), which is mandated to fight the vice, arguing that it was not generating results leading to what he called public irritation.

In reaction to Museveni’s concern, Justice Mulyagonja of the IGG said corrupt officials are powerful and use their political connections to defeat or escape justice.

Figures from her office show that they recovered 2 billion shillings (540,540 U.S. dollars) from government thieves in 2015/16 financial year and 1.6 billion shillings in 2016/2017. The office said it also saved the government a loss of 76 billion shillings by launching investigations into reported corruption cases over the same period.

Civil society organizations argue that formation of a parallel unit will instead stifle the fight against corruption. They noted that there will be duplication of work and also possible clashes between the IGG and the new unit.

“It won’t solve a thing, its duplication of work and wastage of resources that should have been given to the IGG’s office that has consistently been asking for more resources,” Cissy Kagaba, Executive Director of Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, a non-governmental organization, told Xinhua in an interview on Saturday.

“The unit is instead perceived as a job creation venture for the committee members,” Kagaba said.

Livingstone Sewanyana, executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, said there needs to be political will to fight graft instead of having a multiplicity of institutions.

“The leadership has to demonstrate equality of opportunity and a commitment to spend public resources according to national priorities, or else no significant progress can be made to fight graft in Uganda,” Sewanyana said.

Kagaba said the IGG now needs to reduce the case backlog and expeditiously handle complaints from the public.

Experts argue that Uganda has one of the best legal and policy frameworks to fight the vice but the challenge lies in the implementation. Enditem

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