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Do not kill the IGG, make it impartial

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th April 2009 03:00 AM

THE institution of the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) is in turmoil. IGG bashers who are mostly the corrupt — especially the Movement cronies, may see nothing good in the institution and its current leadership. It will be another clash of Movement lea

THE institution of the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) is in turmoil. IGG bashers who are mostly the corrupt — especially the Movement cronies, may see nothing good in the institution and its current leadership. It will be another clash of Movement lea

By Moses Asasira

THE institution of the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) is in turmoil. IGG bashers who are mostly the corrupt — especially the Movement cronies, may see nothing good in the institution and its current leadership. It will be another clash of Movement leaders who are scrambling for the attention of the President on the fate of the current IGG.

The critics of Justice Faith Mwondha, who is currently fighting hard to retain her job and her method of work, are not just the usual suspects like Mike Mukula, Jim Muhwezi and Ken Lukyamuzi.

So hostile is Uganda’s political establishment to the IGG in recent months that politicians try to outbid each other in their anti-IGG rhetoric.

For a country whose war on corruption has its last hopes headquartered at Jubilee Insurance Centre, the anti-IGG noise, especially from the would-be re-enforcing and friendly Parliament, reminds us how much we miss the House that had Winnie Byanyima, Norbert Mao, James Wapakabulo, Ken Lukyamuzi, Miria Matembe and Cecilia Ogwal as its members.

If our politicians acted more rationally, they should have known that the existence of the IGG has been of immense gain for Uganda in terms of how we judge our government’s effort in the fight against corruption. Justice Faith Mwondha has been fighting a lonely battle in an era when looting the state is no longer fatal. Currently that is the safest way to material success. How much institutional evidence will remain if the IGG is brought to its knees? The critics of the IGG also include opposition politicians like Ken Lukyamuzi and journalists like Andrew Mwenda, whose gripe against the IGG and Faith Mwondha in particular, is equally de-legitimising of the institution.

It is frustrating that the IGG is not living up to its noble purposes of fighting corruption and cleaning up the Government. But does this mean the IGG is useless? It is not. The IGG remains the most important local institution that should lead the fight against corruption, of course, not forgetting the fact that political will must be increased.

The IGG is the ultimate court for the anti-corruption crusade in Uganda. That is why there are no serious challenges against its work apart from one complaint — selective justice. This applies to both the NRM and opposition politicians.

Did you read Parliament Speaker Edward Ssekandi’s opinion on Faith Mwondha in the press? It was evidence of how Ssekandi and other committee members are not amused by the little success Mwondha has achieved in her first-term of office.

The conduct of our MPs towards the IGG is evidence of the mixture of bluster and reluctant plea for help from the same Movement cadres that seem to have lost the moral authority in the anti-corruption crusade.

The fact that we are not having even the Minister of Ethics and Integrity coming out to comment on the mess of the IGG shows the huge tragedy the Government is in.

Most Parliamentarians have betrayed our trust, claiming they want a new IGG who will give them some breathing space. And even in that, they want to keep control of the approval of appointment and re- appointment. The current indifference of the parliamentarians, especially the NRM, is symbolic. There is no political clapping from our ruling party for the IGG.

This speaks volumes. The NRM may think it owns Uganda and can do as it pleases, but quietly, the rest of the country is watching and some of us who air out our views are showing that our MPs are not acting in our names.

We may not be able to stop a Parliament dominated by the NRM from destroying the Inspectorate of Government, but while it will have its way, we have our say. As Mahatma Ghandi would have said: “You may kill me, you will have my dead body, but not my obedience”.

These words must be echoing in Faith Mwondha’s mind. All predictions of the death of her tenure will prove to be highly exaggerated because with all the limitations and frustrations, she remains our last hope in the fight against corruption. For the civil society, the IGG should be the apex forum where they can find a partner.

They may not win the war on corruption, but they can establish a moral hegemony. Anti-Mwondha individuals may ignore the path of common sense with impunity, but they must also care what the rest of us think of them.

Therefore, it is not the ending of the Inspectorate of Government that is desired, but how to make it more impartial in fighting corruption and aligning this fight to the will of the people of Uganda.

The Inspectorate of Government needs to pursue all those implicated in corruption and abuse of office, whether big or small, rich or poor. This will require fundamental reform in a number of areas.

The chief among these is guaranteeing the security of tenure for the holders of office of the Inspector General of Government.


The writer works with REEV consults

Do not kill the IGG, make it impartial

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