By Mary Mutesi

It is undeniable that Uganda has had some tangible milestones in the fight against corruption especially in enactment of the legal framework and putting in place the institutional structures.

But if successes in the fight against corruption was on the basis of the presence of institutions and legal frameworks, Uganda would be ranked number one success worldwide due to the proliferation of institutions and laws against corruption.

There is however a conformist question that; despite all these efforts, why does the fight against corruption continue being a paradox?

Over the years, Uganda has been ranked among the most corrupt countries, at both regional and international level. Uganda’s global rankings as well as the local corruption surveys have shown a persistent poor performance of the country’s anti-corruption drive with most Uganda’s systematic corruption increases.

Transparent international’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) lists Uganda below average rank, masking the country as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

As Uganda commemorated the anti-corruption day this month, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) once again unveiled a new policy to help wipe out corruption in the country code named the lifestyle audit.

It suffices to mention that proliferation of efforts, institutions, laws, policies may not serve the purpose until a total system overhaul takes place. We need to totally overhaul the culture and national values.

Uganda’s moral fabric needs a truth telling approach if we are to step up our efforts.One mystery with corruption is that it presents a reciprocal benefit face, yet deeply disastrous in the long run to the broader society fabric. It takes two to tangle.

When a corrupt officer tangles with a corrupt client, there is a mutual benefit seemingly and in the long run, it is very difficult to find evidence and or a whistle blower.

Secondly, the laws in place specifically the leadership code act, places more hunt down on government officers of a certain rank living out many other lower rank officers, this presents a contradiction in the anti-corruption efforts.

When corruption is prescribed to a segregated section of society, and or public office, it brings an imbalance in the law and leaves others at large because they fall not in the definition of the law.

More so, it appears that the mind of the legislation was to crack down on corruption in public offices, but the perception of public is an inaccuracy. It my proposal that; let corruption crackdown be extended to include non-government organisations and the private sector.

Focusing on the public government officers of a certain rank only is a misnomer on the side of the legislators.

In reality there is more corruption in the NGO world than it is in any government office.

The private sector presents more corruption, mistaken as normal business practices of for example kickbacks, commissions etc than a public office that has even official systems of operation and known procedures.

An estimate by the World Bank (2013) puts the total amount of bribes paid in both developing and developed countries in 2001/2002 at 1 trillion dollars, about 3 % of world GDP at the time.

What seems normal business practice paralyses economic flow systems that would otherwise be less tedious and or expensive and hence reflects in the broader sense to exorbitant prices on certain items in the business sector, this in the long run drives a salary earner to find means of affording such items like land, properties through an extortionist maneuver, etc.

Corruption is a cycle that leaves out no business/ private sector at all.Its fight must be multi-sectoral, all inclusive and systematic if the country is to emerge out of the fix.

Therefore, it may be right to submit that the unending poor ranking of Uganda in the corruption perception index is due to undetected corruption variants in the private sector.

Other African countries seem to be getting to the crux of it all. A case in point is Malawi. The Malawian parliamentary monitoring committee started the process of reviewing the Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests Act of 2013 to extend the crackdown on corruption tendencies on all public servants to business persons and managers of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

This Act shares similarities in many aspects as the leadership code Act of Uganda.

A benchmarking exercise on practices by other Countries by the agencies concerned would help solve the legal misnomer, before rushing to introduce yet another policy that is likely to have very glaring challenges in its execution.

It may be very appropriate for the IGG to push for a review of the leadership code act first before she can lioness(ly) raise public hope in the lifestyle audit, which in itself has many shortcomings as cautioned by His Excellence the president of Uganda at the its launch at kololo independence grounds; the mention of which shall not be part of this article, rather in subsequent articles.

Director International Relations and Communications at the Afro Arab Youth Council under President Office.

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