PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has repeated the Governmentâ€™s commitment to fight corruption. Museveni, during his state-of-the nation address in Parliament yesterday launched a passionate appeal to MPs and other leaders to â€œmobilise the population to join in the war against corruption.â€
and Felix Osike
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has repeated the Governmentâ€™s commitment to fight corruption.
â€œOnce again I wish to reiterate the Governmentâ€™s commitment to Zero Tolerance to Corruption as spelt out in the NRM manifesto 2006,â€ Museveni said during his state-of-the nation address in Parliament yesterday.
He launched a passionate appeal to MPs and other leaders to â€œmobilise the population to join in the war against corruption.â€
â€œLet every leader ask himself or herself what contribution he or she has made towards the fight against corruption, including corruption in elections,â€ Museveni said, evoking laughter.
He recalled an incident during the election campaign in Bugishu last year when some people drinking alcohol stopped him, asking for money. â€œI said: why should I give you money? I am the one working for you. In fact you should be the one to give me money!â€
He also cited a request of some young people during the recent campaign in Kamuli. â€œMzee, we have worked for the Movement for a long time but now we want to eat,â€ he quoted them as saying.
â€œI told them: this is illegal. You could be arrested if somebody heard you,â€ the President recalled.
He said he advised them to ask for development instead of money â€œwhich is also an insult, sh500 for five years, what is that?â€
He said he reported the incident to the Inspector General of Police who sent his people there to advise them.
â€œWhen I went back to celebrate, I stopped and said: now we can talk about development,â€ the President added.
He pleaded with the MPs to stop dishing out money for political purposes. â€œReally, I ask you, honourable members, letâ€™s all stop giving money to anybody for political purposes,â€ he said to applause, adding: â€œI can see one group which is not clapping.â€
He noted that the political leaders were putting themselves in a lot of unnecessary financial hardships. â€œUse public resources through government programmes to develop these people. You donâ€™t have to use your money from your pocket,â€ he advised them.
What people needed from their leaders was guidance, he stressed. â€œA leader does not carry the people he leads on his head. A leader shows them the way. You donâ€™t have to use your pocket to run a constituency. You shouldnâ€™t. Stop the practice of promoting corruption in the population!â€
Earlier, Museveni dismissed as â€œpersistent baseless accusationsâ€ claims that the Government was not serious about the fight against corruption.
â€œThose making such accusations have always cited the reports of the various Judicial Commissions of Inquiry. I would like to inform the nation that there is no Commission of Inquiry report on which the Government has taken no action,â€ he emphasised.
He explained that when the Government receives such reports, the findings and recommendations are studied and a White Paper is produced, indicating how the Government should act. However, he noted, action can sometimes be delayed when funds are not available.
He cited the Commission of Inquiry on corruption in the Police where most recommendations had been implemented, except for the construction of Police barracks and a dramatic salary increase, which needed resources not provided for in the budget.
â€œThere are also instances where the recommendation is to conduct further investigations on some specific areas. In such cases, since we champion the rule of law, we cannot proceed to condemn the person without conducting such further investigations.â€
He gave the example of the Global Fund commission.
â€œThere are at least 60 areas which were recommended for further investigation mainly by the CID and the DPP. The Government has given those further investigations a maximum of six months and a budget line has been identified.â€
The President referred to the IGG findings of mismanagement of the Immunisation Funds, or GAVI, as an example of action being taken on corruption.
â€œIt is now common knowledge that some persons implicated as a result of the investigations took court action to challenge the report,â€ Museveni said.
â€œSince we respect the rule of law, no one can be stopped from going to court if he or she feels aggrieved.â€
Nevertheless, he stressed that the IGG has powers to prosecute cases investigated by the Inspectorate of Government under the Constitution.
On alleged corruption in the Uganda Revenue Authority, he recalled that the report had been dismissed by the court, while the report on abuse of office in the Land Registry was on the table of the lands minister for further action.
Museveni listed several measures to strengthen the institutions for fighting corruption.
Three bills would be presented to the Cabinet soon, he noted. These are a bill for strengthening the Office of the Auditor General by granting it autonomy, a Bill to repeal the outdated Prevention of Corruption Act, and the Whistle Blowers Bill for the protection of informers of corruption cases.
â€œThe above illustrations are a clear testimony that Government does not and will not tolerate corruption,â€ the President concluded.
I wonâ€™t tolerate corruption - Museveni