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Has corruption become the glue for regime survival in Uganda?

President Museveni and IGG Beti Kamya during the launch of the Life Style Audit Campaign at Kololo last Thursday (Photo Courtesy of Daily Express)

Last week during the commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day at Kololo Independence Grounds, President Yoweri Museveni warned the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms. Beti Olive Kamya, to go slow on the planned lifestyle audit.

The lifestyle audit is an accountability tool that seeks to catch corrupt government officials and their agents. Such audits are typically conducted when the visible lifestyle or standard of living of an individual appears to exceed their known income level. The detection of such discrepancies can raise red flags warranting closer inspection.

Although the President endorsed Ms. Kamya’s anti-corruption strategy, he warned that her planned lifestyle audit might force the corrupt people to hide stolen funds abroad saying;

“The lifestyle audit is good but be careful because we are still lucky that our corrupt people are corrupt here. But if they realize that their lifestyle is being audited, they will instead take what they stole abroad and it will be hard to track them,” Mr. Museveni said.

The statement made by the president was not taken lightly by anti-corruption activists of whom some think the President is aware of the thieves but isn’t willing to see them arrested so long as they invest in Uganda. 

Some activists also do argue that when you remove corruption from the picture, then the survival of the regime in power will be threatened. Why? Because some activists believe that corruption is the glue that is keeping the current regime in power. Therefore, the statements from the President don’t come as a surprise.

Irrespective of the fact that Uganda ratified the UN Convention against Corruption and established robust legal, institutional, policy, managerial framework to fight the vice, many Ugandans still remain deeply concerned that the incidence and levels of corruption in the country have continued to escalate.

The recent Afrobarometer special democracy summit survey on Africa indicates that 63% of Ugandans share a perception that corruption has increased a lot in the previous 12 months and believe it is getting worse. The recent findings from the Inspectorate of Government office point out that Uganda annually loses approximately UGX 10 trillion ($2.8 billion) to corruption, and currently, Uganda’s national budget for FY 2021/22 is UGX 44 trillion ($12.3 bliion).

This kind of endemic corruption in Uganda is robbing the taxpayers of getting quality social services in return for the taxes they pay. The citizens are now increasingly growing dissatisfied with their own country due to corruption.

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