Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Professor Ezra Suruma, the Chancellor of Makerere University has expressed worries over the deteriorating levels of integrity in the country and the rampant corruption.
Suruma made the remarks on Friday while presiding over the fourth session of the 70th graduation ceremony of Makerere University.
The Chancellor emphasized integrity as an important quality for a holistic graduate. The fourth and last session of Makerere’s week-long graduation ceremony presented close to 4,000 graduands from the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT); the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS); and the School of Law.
These are part of the overall total of 13,510 students that were conferred upon degrees and awarded diplomas of Makerere University in various disciplines this week.
According to Professor Suruma, education without compassion and integrity is not enough. He urged the graduands and citizens to start instilling values right from homes if they want a clean and fair society.
“Education without morality cannot bring happiness and prosperity to Uganda. Without integrity, our future will certainly get worse. And when our enemies realize our internal weaknesses, that we are corrupting and rotting from inside, it will not take them long to destroy us,” Professor Suruma.
He further urges that it is a duty of every citizen to support the strength and integrity of Uganda and stop blame games.
Professor Suruma argues that the integrity and morals of Ugandans have drastically declined with several administering and stealing examinations, selling bad food and expired medicines and forging books of accounts.
Reacting to Professor Suruma’s remarks, Dr Benson Tusasirwe, a Makerere law don who also graduated with a Law PhD said while corruption is a huge problem Uganda faces, it has been worsened by the state of indifference who feel frustrated by the status quo.
Dr Tusasirwe says there is no way Ugandans can be convinced to be patriotic when the ruling government does not respect and love its citizens.
Kansiimemukama Taremwa, a Bachelor of Law graduand and former Makerere Law Society President says corruption has been able to thrive due to unnecessary bureaucracies put in place to ensure everybody in the chain gets some benefit.
“Even simple things like procurement of gowns becomes an issue of corruption at least from the stories we have read surrounding the deals,” Taremwa argues.
He adds that whereas Professor Suruma’s concerns are genuine, there is absolute abdication of responsibility where nobody wants to take a blame of the corrupt society.
Lillian Arinda a graduand says corruption has and is still here because of family breakdown. She contends that family as a unit of society no longer plays its role of socialization and that the societal norms have been watered down.
Uganda is ranked 149th out of 180 and scored 26 points out of 100 on the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Index in Uganda averaged 24.96 Points from 1996 until 2018 reaching an all-time high of 29 Points in 2012 and a record low of 19 Points in 2001.
In December last year, President Kaguta Museveni rallied leaders to deepen efforts in the fight against corruption. Museveni said the vice is a moral, spiritual and material problem.
This is after he led citizens in a three-and-a-half-kilometre anti-corruption walk to Kololo from the Constitutional Square in Kampala. According to Museveni, corrupt people were parasites since they get wealth they do not earn.