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CSO’s cast doubt on zero tolerance to corruption policy

Cissy Kagaba, Executive Director, Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Anti-corruption Civil Society Organizations (CSO) have cast doubt on the zero tolerance to corruption policy passed by cabinet last week. The policy is envisaged to re-invigorate the government resolve and commitment to fight corruption.

Its key action points include strengthening partnerships, coordination and synergies among all the anti-corruption stakeholders and enhancing the capacity of anti-corruption institutions. The policy further aims to inculcate a culture of integrity, accountability and patriotism at all levels of society.

State Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Fr. Simon Lokodo delving into details of the policy on Tuesday at Media Centre said anti-corruption units will be established in government ministries, departments and agencies.

But Cissy Kagaba, the Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), told Uganda Radio Network that the policy is just a paper that comes on the pile of already existing anti-corruption laws and policies.

“We have many laws which have not been implemented or have been implemented selectively. So I don’t know how different this one is going to be,” she said.

Kagaba argues that the strategy is inconceivable in the presence of unpatriotic politicians and public servants. “If you have guys who only think about themselves, it becomes ironical when they are the same people teaching other Ugandans patriotism,” she said.

Kagaba adds that the integrity and independence of anti-corruption agencies have been soiled by corruption allegations within these institutions.

Kagaba said it’s not a question of how many laws, policies or institutions are set up to fight corruption but the will and commitment to uproot the vice which has eaten up society.

Julius Mukunda, the Executive Director of Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) said the spirit of the policy is welcome but the implementation strategy is wrong. He argues that the government should not be setting up anti-corruption units as envisaged in the policy.

“We wouldn’t want the current zeal to overshadow the ongoing efforts to fight corruption. Look at the IGG, for instance, it’s the lead institution in fighting corruption. You create new units to share money that IGG has been getting, this will derail anti-corruption drive in the country,” he said.

Mukunda further argued that government should not be setting up new anti-corruption units at the same time when it’s preaching rationalization of agencies.

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