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I miscalculated on corruption fight — Museveni

By Pascal Kwesiga

Added 6th December 2018 10:25 AM

Museveni said he would launch a new effort against corruption on December 10.

President 703x422

Museveni said he would launch a new effort against corruption on December 10.

PIC: President Museveni receives an award for his fight against corruption from Della Ferreira in Kampala. (Photo by Miriam Namutebi)

CRIME

KAMPALA - President Yoweri Museveni has said he miscalculated when he introduced political positions in district local governments under the impression that the move would curb corruption in the public service.

He told anti-corruption activists that Uganda had been plagued by six major problems when he came to power in 1986.

These are extrajudicial murders, lack of democracy, collapse of the economy, collapse of infrastructure, poaching and corruption.

In an attempt to combat corruption, Museveni said the Government introduced the positions of the district LC5, LC3 chairpersons and councillors to keep tabs on the activities of the civil servants.

However, that decision, he added, has not yielded the expected results, and corruption has escalated.

“I made a miscalculation when I trusted the elected people to fight corruption.We thought there was corruption because civil servants were not elected. We decided to elect leaders from among the people, and we thought they would not be the same,” Museveni said.

He was speaking during the 25th anniversary of Transparency International, a global coalition set up to promote transparency and accountability.

The event was held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday.

The corrupt civil servants, he explained, threatened to blackmail the Government among the population whenever there were attempts to move against them.

“Then we decided to get leaders directly from the population. After that, we worked on the laws and institutions, but corruption is still there.

The population is fed up of the corrupt civil servants.

We have given them time to expose themselves and they cannot blackmail us. We also have many graduates to replace them,” Museveni added.


Weevils in BOU, URA


The President said he does not buy the justification that low salaries are the major causes of corruption in the public service.

He said institutions which remunerate their employees handsomely such as Bank of Uganda (BOU), Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) have gradually been infiltrated by ‘bean weevils’ (the corrupt).

“Initially, URA was good and tax collections increased, but, then, gradually, bean weevils emanating from the closure of seven commercial banks. When he seized the reins of power after a guerilla war, Museveni said, he restructured the army, but left the civil service intact mainly for political reasons.

“So corruption remained in the public service. We could not destroy the public service because we would get serious political problems. We would get isolated and people would think these people have their own agenda,” he said.


Civil society wants more

Earlier, before the President arrived, activists said corruption continues to thrive because there is no political will to fight it.

They argued that people are no longer interested in reporting graft due to impunity and inaction.

State minister for ethics and integrity Simon Lukodo

 

However, the ethics state minister, Simon Lokodo, said there is political will to fight corruption. He explained that it was the reason a robust institutional and legal framework has been established to deal with the vice.

However, the head of the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, Cissy Kagaba and the Transparency International chairperson, Delia Ferreira Rubio, said laws should be followed by action — investigations, prosecutions and sanctions — against the corrupt to deter others from engaging in similar schemes.

The co-ordinator of the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy, Crispin Kaheeru, proposed what he called national civic values training as one of the ways of fighting corruption and planting seeds of patriotism in the population.

“Even if you make billions of laws without instilling values in the population we will not achieve much,” he added.

When Lokodo informed Museveni that the activists said his government lacks political will to defeat corruption, the President said they should check into Butabika mental hospital.

“I cannot prosecute people without following the law. People think we should do it and it is easy. The country does not need a frightened public service. What it needs is a confident public service,” he said.

Museveni said he would launch a new effort against corruption on December 10.

 

The President said he does not buy the justification that low salaries are the major causes of corruption in the public service Cause-effect came in, yet they are paid good salaries.

"Then, Bank of Uganda and KCCA; people there are paid highly for sweeping where Jennifer Musisi (the executive director) has stepped, but they are corrupt. So, remuneration is not the cure; it is patriotism,” Museveni said.

BOU officials are currently under investigations by the parliamentary committee on commissions, statutory authorities and state enterprises (COSASE) over fraud allegations.

Former Director Supervision Commercial banks Justine Bagyenda answers audit queries on bank closure as other BOU officials listen before COSASE on Tuesday

 

 

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