Opinion
Over reliance on legal means crippling fight against corruption
Publish Date: Feb 12, 2014
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By Innocent Ddamulira

By July 2013, the corruption rankings by transparency international a global coalition against corruption indicated that Uganda corruption index continued to soar.

By then, the global corruption barometer indicated that among the 95 countries surveyed, Uganda was listed among the 17 most corrupt in the world. With a score of 61%, Uganda became the most corrupt country in East Africa after Kenya at 70%.

Rwanda turned out to be the least corrupt in the region. Transparence International insists that understanding corruption is key to fighting it and thus provides a working definition simply as “abuse of entrusted power for private gain”.

Corruption is not a local issue, It is a global threat and all reports continue to emphasize that the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery ravage societies around the world.
 

Numerous, close to infinity writers and analysts have looked at corruption in terms of its index and consequences. This discussion seeks to center on management of the vice, offer an analysis of the success of legalistic measures visa vie administrative techniques with a comparative approach, in light of Uganda’s peculiar circumstances.
 

It is disturbing but not surprising that a spectrum of civil society have released reports and some of them launched by government officials but we continue to see a catalogue of corruption scandals.

Scholars have of course argued that the government doesn’t have the political will to fight corruption. While I do not wholly dismiss the reverse as a complete solution, I find difficulty in accepting that argument “mirror image” in the circumstances.

My view is informed by specific cases where the Government has shown its most available effort and goodwill while prosecuting cases of corruption but similar graft is repeated in the same offices or related organizations.

While Teddy Seezi Cheeye may still be rotting in prison on a 28 year sentence for his role in Global fund, his counterparts in similar offices continue to swindle public funds.

While Geofrey Kazinda serves his sentence for his guilt for the 29 counts of fraud committed at the popular office of the Prime Minister (OPM), his counterparts have not refrained from the same!
 

This trend indicates the peculiar circumstances in Uganda and suggests that the same measures may do less to fight the vice. We must emulate tactics of countries with pleasant corruption indexes.

Currently, Denmark remains the most corrupt free country in the world followed by Newzealand and Finland according to the corruption perceptions index 2013.

In the region Rwanda ranks high while Uganda remains on the bottom. The question here is whether it is not just logical to study the approaches employed by these countries and apply the same to Uganda’s circumstances.
 

Corruption experts have proposed a twofold approach; Administrative measures and a name and shame strategy.

Proponents of this approach argue that while prosecution has great respect for the rule of law, corruption cases are extremely complex to prosecute and gain a conviction.

This is largely because of the nature of evidence required to be adduced to cause a possible conviction. Often times the corrupt make it difficult to access any incriminating documents.

On the other hand, administrative measures especially in Government bodies are swift means to curb the vice. I am not proposing to hang the corrupt approach like it is done in Singapore, I am simply proposing that we should fire the corrupt and make it difficult for them to access employment elsewhere.

The practice of firing an officer in one organization and appointing the same officer in another in no time is counterproductive.

Two days ego the head of Italian space resigned on a mere allegation of corruption but the peculiar nature of our people is that they never resign so they should be forced to resign.

In addition name and shame those implicated and those alleged.
 

It is only a fool who uses the same approach and expects different results! If we have used legal means and have made no significant shift, it’s high time we employed new administrative and strenuous measures to fight the vice.

 

The writer is a Makerere University law student

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