Published by Patra K on

Does the answer to fighting corruption lie in the affluent offspring of NRM historicals?

Last year in January, Transparency International Uganda launched the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2020 which painted a grim picture of corruption worldwide. CPI uses a scale of 0 to 100 to rate corruption, where 0 represents highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. According to Corruption Perceptions Index 2020, Uganda scored 27/100 in terms of corruption. This is an indication that Uganda is ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world. In terms of ranking by country, Uganda was 142 out of 180 countries. 

Uganda’s ranking by CPI does not come as a surprise because even President Yoweri Museveni has on several occasions come out to bemoan the high level of corruption in the country, recently during his address to the nation, he 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.” 

Though the president has continuously talked and cautioned public servants to stop their corrupt tendencies, including being the chief walker during an ‘anti-corruption walk’, most Ugandans believe that just talking without action cannot address corruption in Uganda. 

Prof. Mwambustya Ndebesa, Political Historian Don from Makerere University who was hosted last week on ACFIMTALKS to discuss corruption in Uganda said that corruption has become endemic and its forms have been broadened henceforth Uganda is experiencing political corruption, economic corruption, moral corruption, grand corruption, petty corruption, patronage, discriminatory corruption among others.

He did further say that the biggest form of corruption eating up Uganda is Patronage manifesting in form of political appointments and the creation of districts, constituencies, and cities for regime entrenchment. According to the university Don, Uganda does not need to have a bloated cabinet and parliament because they have proved not to be effective as such trimming the size of the executive and legislature is appropriate to save the country from huge public expenditure. 

In response to President Museveni’s plans of appointing affluent children of National Resistance Army (NRA) cadres to civil service as a panacea to corruption, Prof. Mwambustya castigated the idea saying he does not see any logic in appointing only children of “historicals” to government positions. He argued that the proposal in itself is would propagate discrimination and contrary to Article 21 (2) of 1995 Uganda’s constitution which stipulates that “…a person shall not be discriminated against on the ground of sex, race, color, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability”.

Prof. Mwambustya Ndebessa suggested that if the government of Uganda wants to address corruption, there must be a deliberate effort of fighting all the informalities existing in the governance system because it’s the informal way of governing our society that encourages corruption. He emphasized the need for a formal governance system that operates in an open, transparent, fair, and accountable manner for the greater good of the citizens. 

He further warned that as long as nepotism, tribalism, patronage, clientelism, commercialization of elective politics, bureaucratic corruption, influence peddling, and discrimination continue to blossom, Uganda can’t attain the middle-income status.

Prof. Mwambustya Ndebesa despite admitting that corruption has become sophisticated and systemic in nature, he challenges President Museveni’s administration to come up with tougher and effective measures to address corruption mainly perpetuated by unpatriotic vultures.

We wait to see if the affluent offspring of the historical NRM cadres will be the answer to corruption in Uganda whom the President has started appointing to civil service. 

In case you missed last week’s episode, click the link below to watch it:

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