UGANDA'S corruption ranking has dropped significantly in the past one year, reports Anne Mugisa.
Uganda slipped from position 111 to 126 among 180 countries surveyed by Transparency International, an international corruption watchdog.
Its score on the scale of 10 dropped from 2.8 to 2.6. Uganda is at par with Eritrea, Ethiopia and Mozambique.
In the East African Community, Uganda falls behind Rwanda and Tanzania, which are at position 102. It is, however, ahead of Kenya â€“ which improved slightly from position 150 to 147 â€“ and Tanzania which dropped from position 131 to position 158.
The country perceived as the most corrupt in the world is Somalia, where dozens of aid workers, journalists and boat crew members have been kidnapped for ransom in the past year, followed by Myanmar (Burma) and Iraq.
Out of the 10 most corrupt countries in the world, six are in Africa. They include Sudan, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The countries perceived the least corrupt in the global ranking are Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden, which share position one with a score of 9.3. Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa â€“ it scored 5.8 and is at position 36 worldwide.
South Africa, on the other hand, dropped under the score of 5 and slipped from position 43 to position 54.
Asked for a reaction, ethic minister Nsaba Buturo, noted that the ranking was based on public perception and not a scientific way of determining corruption.
â€œOur target is to have no corruption at all and we are trying to achieve it,â€ Buturo said.
â€œWe are amending laws and we want to embark on a countrywide campaign against corruption. We are beefing up the Directorate of Public prosecution, the Judiciary and other organs.â€
â€œA combination of these will deliver our target, not what people up there want to say,â€ he added.
Transparency International chair Huguette Labelle called the high levels of corruption in low-income countries a â€œhumanitarian disasterâ€, which threatens to derail the global fight against poverty.
â€œStemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society,â€ Labelle said in a statement.
â€œWhen these institutions are weak, corruption spirals out of control with horrendous consequences for ordinary people, and for justice and equality in societies more broadly.â€
The Berlin-based watchdog said unchecked levels of corruption would add $50b, or nearly half of annual global aid, to the cost of achieving the UNâ€™s Millennium Development Goals.
It called for a more focused and coordinated donor approach aimed at strengthening institutions of governance and oversight in recipient countries.
It also singled out the performance of wealthy exporting countries, which saw their scores decline, saying continued evidence of foreign bribery scandals suggested a broader failure by the developed nations. It pointed out that statistics showed a significant decline in the UK, which saw its score dip to 7.7 from 8.4.
The watchdog said the UKâ€™s anti-corruption credentials had suffered a setback following the December 2006 decision to discontinue a criminal investigation of British defence firm BAE Systems over a contract in Saudi Arabia.