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Can MPs really stop corruption?

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th November 2009 03:00 AM

Tension is high in Parliament as investigations into the 2007 CHOGM expenditures have started. Battle lines have already been drawn in the Public Accounts Committee.

Tension is high in Parliament as investigations into the 2007 CHOGM expenditures have started. Battle lines have already been drawn in the Public Accounts Committee.

The clash in the committee on Thursday suggests that some MPs are not interested in reducing corruption in the country.

For instance, why are some MPs blocking submission of information vital for the committee’s investigations? Do some MPs have vested interests in some personalities or companies being investigated or is it party politics at play?

By trying to stop the probe, what signals are the MPs sending to Ugandans who have entrusted them with oversight functions?

MPs should clearly be building alliances for anti-corruption. Strong leadership at all levels is critical for anti-corruption efforts.

MPs should support initiatives that bolster transparency and accountability. They should help to improve budget processes, public financial management and procurement systems to make corrupt activities difficult to undertake.

Fighting corruption requires timely investigations and prosecution of corrupt behaviour by all relevant institutions. It should not be seen as a fight between the opposition and the ruling party.

Besides, MPs have an obligation to the Ugandan tax payers to ensure that their money is used efficiently and in the public’s interest.

All the audit reports on the CHOGM funds have shown glaring irregularities in the procurement processes.

The challenge is for MPs to recognize that corruption is damaging many development projects and denying Ugandans much needed social services like access to clean water, health care, education and employment.

By covering up obvious irregularities, MPs risk being seen as practicing “money politics,” representing vested interests and being bankrolled by those under investigations.

By doing so, they not only damage the public trust but also weaken the legitimacy of the state. Can our MPs really become agents of change in the fight against corruption? The coming days will tell.

Can MPs really stop corruption?

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