“The laws are there, the institutions are there, but the personnel handling them are the problem. I don’t need a frightened civil service."
KAMPALA - President Yoweri Museveni has assured Ugandans that the problem of corruption is still defeatable and that the country now has the manpower to handle the issue more firmly.
The President was speaking during celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of Transparency International Uganda (TIU) at Imperial Royale Hotel in the capital Kampala, where a national anti-corruption dialogue was held on Tuesday.
‘Citizen's participation in the fight against corruption: A Sustainable Path to Uganda's Transformation' was the theme for the event.
Museveni, the chief guest, congratulated TIU on its anniversary and informed the people that the government has given enough time for corrupt civil servants to expose themselves and that their time was up.
In the early years of 1986, he said, the NRM government was not able to restructure the civil service like it had done for the army because it did not have the manpower and would have created political problems.
"Even if we had the capacity to change civil servants, we would have been isolated. In terms of fairness, it was good to give people a chance. We now have manpower to select people to work, but we need to be sure about the integrity of the new ones we select."
'Uganda needs confident leaders'
The President said while Ugandans were complaining of officials suspected of corruption not being put in jail, it is within the law that they have to be prosecuted first.
Nonetheless, he noted that while the government had put in place laws to protect public servants, there was now need for quicker methods of demanding accountability.
"The laws are there, the institutions are there, but the personnel handling them are the problem. I don't need a frightened civil service. The country needs confident and able leaders who know what is right and do what is right."
Museveni re-echoed the people's views that increment in the remuneration of salaries of public servants was not the cure to corruption because public servants in government institutions such as Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Bank of Uganda and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) were still corrupt despite the high pay.
Meanwhile, Bank of Uganda is under investigation by the Parliament Committee on Commissions, Statutory authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) over fraudulent dealings.
Former Director Supervision Commercial banks Justine Bagyenda answers audit queries on bank closure as other BOU officials listen before COSASE on Tuesday
Patriotism the cure
Previously, the President has accused officials in the finance ministry and the URA of corruption.
He said that patriotism is the cure to corruption and that he would talk more on the government's new efforts to curb corruption in Kololo next week Monday (December 10).
Crispin Kaheru of Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (centre) attended the dialogue
The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Fr. Simon Lokodo, thanked President Museveni for putting in place legal frameworks to fight corruption.
Government, he said, had gone into partnerships with international agencies whose main goal and focus was to fight corruption and demand accountability, which government could not do alone.
Dr. Delia Ferreira Rubio, the chairperson of Transparency International Uganda, thanked the President for honouring their invitation and said that it was a citizen's role to participate in the fight to end corruption.
The President presented awards to outstanding members in the fight against corruption. They were: Wafula Oguttu, Lady Justice Nakamya Elizabeth and Augustine Ruzindana.
He also received an award in recognition for his efforts in curbing corruption through setting an anti-corruption office, setting up legal frameworks to fight corruption and constantly denouncing corruption.
Dr. Delia Ferreira Rubio, the chair of Transparency International Uganda, presented President Museveni with an award for his role in the fight against corruption
President Museveni and Wafula Oguttu in a firm handshake. Oguttu and others received awards for their efforts in the fight against corruption
There was a moment for a group photo