Corruption has eaten up almost all the sectors and ministries in Uganda. The ones to report to are more culprits than the criminals themselves. The vice is everywhere in Uganda. Talk of the education sector. Final results are no longer genuine from the time a child starts school to when they graduate. The government schools and universities charge more than the privately-owned institutions with less to offer. 

The corruption journey
President Museveni giving his New Year Speech. A photo by Anne Nicole

Some Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and NIRA officers will work on an issue after one coughs up some dimes. The police and law firms take up cases if they have something to gain. They follow a famous saying that “A Poor Man does not win a case.” 

What is ridiculous, all these high places have a signpost stating, “Corruption Free Zone.” What about the health sector? The government hospitals charge as equivalent to or more than the private hospitals. Pensioners do not get their retirement funds, and some die trying to claim the retirement funds at the Public Affairs Office. If one gets his pension funds, they have to share it with the officer in charge of approving the release. 

Thank goodness, the government of Uganda finally implements online passport registration, issuing, and renewal. Internal Affairs was corrupt to the core. Nepotism and favoritism had worn its ugly head for many years in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The filth has stood in the way of service delivery in 2019 and the past years.

The Ironic side of Corruption

It’s hard to grasp the opinions of those who are corrupt. They probably consider themselves intelligent, correct, untouchable, and others dumb.  With an assumption that their fraudulent actions are not detected, this justifies their impunity. Besides, they see it reasonable to tilt their hands and be dishonest. Rampant corruption has desensitized people to the extent that they find it natural.

Many job seekers are inspired to apply where it is easy to steal and where they term corruption as ‘deals’. These days, young people don’t work where there are no ‘deals’. There is nothing to steal in inadequate districts, thus, unfilled positions. Several anti-corruption bodies confirms the ongoing fight against corruption.

Losing the fight could mean the corrupt have outwitted the combatants. It is also possible for some people to be compromised or dishonest in the fighting, which complicates war.

How far has President Museveni gone in the fight against Corruption?

President Yoweri Museveni said in his New Year’s speech: “The NRM has launched a war on corruption to overcome it. With evidence and fairness, we will not fail to bring down every corrupt individual. Stay tuned.”

The President took part in the walk-against-corruption last year, which became a topic of debate. The citizens believed, due to the widespread corruption, that he was not best suited to participate. Others argued it was a strong declaration against corruption. He also used the opportunity to tell the nation he was wealthy and not corrupt.

Other politicians and public servants are yet to come out with the same argument. The corrupt will be identified by their silence when this happens if they know that they are.

When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) took control in 1986, it was (and is) the 10-point plan, a clear reflective framework for fundamental change, which was the fight against corruption and misuse of power.

There were few stories on corruption in the early years of the NRM in power. Perhaps nothing was there to steal, or the journalists then were underreporting.

Corruption should be killed and buried.

As the stories rose, the government responded through anti-corruption initiatives. It included a fully-funded court to deal with related cases to improve the economy. The coincidence is the growing prudence of the media over time. Now it’s time to consider a conditional pardon for the guilty.

Armed rebels fighting to overthrow the government have been offered amnesty in the history of Uganda since 1986 by denouncing rebellion. The amnesty partly contributed to ending the insurgency in Uganda as the perpetrators found an escape, or landing ground. Similarly, pardoning the corrupt could cause a riot. That would involve a rule that prescribes repentance as a precondition for forgiveness.

Amnesty is for all who openly admit to stealing public funds, show how much, and how they took the money. As part of the amnesty, the state will confiscate property accumulated in dishonesty.

Should the Corrupt be granted Amnesty?

In almost every place of worship, preachers denounced corruption. In their New Year sermons, they called for war against the vice in 2020. Many anti-grafting agencies work, but the problem appears insurmountable.

Rebels end people’s lives, destroy property, and disrupt development. The fraudulent actions deny services to people that lead to poor health, deaths, and reduces growth.

Besides, confession and forgiveness could be another weapon to fight the evil. This can work if they inspect people’s property, confiscate it, and ask for immediate declarations . The war on corruption can be intensified and won with many anti-corruption agencies and different methods.  Many people are positive that corruption is evil, and everyone should be involved in the fight.



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