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Patronaging civil service cannot cure corruption

H.E Yoweri Museveni delivers the State of Nation address last week at Kololo. (Photo courtesy of the Observer)

Last week on Friday, while delivering the speech on the state of the nation address, President Museveni said that,

Corruption has become a real enemy. It starts in Finance where projects are designed with supernumerary elements (extras); these bloated projects go to Ministries, then to Committees of Parliament, and, then, to the Auditor-General, where there is collusion all the way.”

President Yoweri Museveni’s statement is indeed valid and points to the fact that corruption in Uganda today is planned, budgeted, appropriated, and executed. Uganda is experiencing what is known as Systemic capture−this is a type of political corruption in which private interests significantly influence the entire system of the institution’s decision-making processes to their advantage.

ACFIM’s study on commercialized politics and captivity of state institutions in Uganda points out that systemic capture is the handwork out of elites who include political leaders, high ranking government officials or interest groups, and large private firms that capture a government department (local capture) or capture government departments (global capture).

It must be noted that President Museveni has on several occasions complained about corrupt government officials whom he also labeled as “parasites or weevils” because of their actions of subverting the functionality of state institutions for their personal gains.

Though President Museveni has always bemoaned corruption, fewer efforts have been seen when it comes to the apprehending of the “parasites or weevils”. The best-case scenario was in Uganda Revenue Authority where the President claimed to have chased away the “parasites or weevils” but were not apprehended. It is high time the government of Uganda puts in place stringent measures to fight corruption and the measures must be effectively enforced.

Museveni’s Plan on Fighting Corruption

President Museveni while delivering the state of nation address informed Ugandans that his next approach to the fight against corruption will be by recruiting affluent descendants of the National Resistance Army to take forward the aspiration of their father.

“I have been discussing with my children, who are now senior adults, the timeliness of creating the DRA (the Descendants’ Resistance Army I) to take forward the work of the original NRA of their parents. This fraternity recently recommended to me one of their group. These are people who work for passion, not money. Against resistance, I put one of them, Ms. Irene Kaggwa, to manage Uganda Communication Commission (UCC).”−said Museveni.

SecretsKnown has discovered that President Museveni’s plan of recruiting affluent children of the National Resistance Army cadres into government as a way of fighting corruption is not in any way different from a spoil system where the government gives civil service jobs to its supporters, friends (cronyism), and relatives (nepotism) as a reward for working towards victory, and as an incentive to keep the party in power.

If President Museveni pursues such an approach of recruiting descendants of the NRA into Civil Service, then there is a likelihood of the country transcending into a state of despair because those that will be left out will feel discriminated against and may decide to fight the system.

It’s important for us to understand that corruption is a morality issue, a person whether wealthy or poor can still engage in corruption as long as he/she is not morally upright. Therefore, it will be wrong for us to believe that all the affluent descendants of NRA are morally upright and cannot be corrupt.

Moving forward, the government of Uganda must stick to meritocratic recruitment of persons into civil service.

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