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Technology can solve ghost public servants

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th May 2009 03:00 AM

THE problem of ghost soldiers, teachers, students, paymasters involved in corruption scandals can be solved using technology. Organisations that employ many people, like the army, schools and hospitals can computerise their information handling processes

THE problem of ghost soldiers, teachers, students, paymasters involved in corruption scandals can be solved using technology. Organisations that employ many people, like the army, schools and hospitals can computerise their information handling processes

Frank Birondwa

THE problem of ghost soldiers, teachers, students, paymasters involved in corruption scandals can be solved using technology. Organisations that employ many people, like the army, schools and hospitals can computerise their information handling processes to curb these kinds of crime.

Digitalising the processes involved in handling information will deal a blow to the corrupt in the system because it enables logic software functions to be embedded in every process as checks and balances and secure every step, taking it out of the hands of the ‘ghosts’.

So how do you computerise? First, you must have computers in the organisation, some of them connected to the Internet. The plan is to have all working data captured electronically and stored in a corporate database.

When you have all the working data, you can leverage many controls — on who accesses the data, when, how and for what specific purpose. This can enforce accountability — There is no denying altering information when you are the only person with security clearance to a particular database. Top level management can have control over information.

The objective is to stop anyone from doing anything without being monitored. Even when data one illegally changed, the evidence will be there logged somewhere, as to who, how and what time the data were changed, even listing the new data. It can even be designed to trigger off e-mail alert messages to the concerned authority or sending them an instant message on mobile phones.

Once the organisation has this kind of information infrastructure, it can set the template for other organisations with which it transacts business — to share information electronically across a broad spectrum of systems.

Computerising information processes gives organisations the power to work faster and perform better. It also quickens implementing changes that would normally take centuries.

A careful investment in technology infrastructure and systems can erase Uganda’s history of ‘ghosts’ and bring a breakthrough in the fight against corruption.

The writer works for the
Faculty of Computing & IT, Makerere University

Technology can solve ghost public servants

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