By Joan Akello
Since the first Anti-Corruption Convention in 2011, the Ugandan National Non Government Organisation Forum (UNNGOF) and other activists against corruption said Uganda has lost not less than 1.3 trillion shillings to corruption.
They cited deplorable health services across the country, ill facilitated educational infrastructure, spiraling poverty levels, growing unemployment, ethnic tensions, land grabbing, declining fortunes of agriculture, environmental degradation as some of the effects of corruption.
UUNGOF executive director, Richard Ssewakiryanga, said fighting theft does not depend on the amount stolen. It is rather to deter and make the public see to it that the culprits are punished.
Most of the speakers condemned corruption and suggested that the culprits should be named, shamed and isolated to make the vice expensive.
Other alternatives would include economic boycott of establishments owned by the corrupt, develop appropriate mechanism of investing aid within the context of corruption regimes; lobby Parliament to fast –track the enactment of the Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill in order to engender punitive measures and enforcement of current laws; promote a strict separation of powers by the 1995 Constitution of Uganda to engender democracy and forestall executive dictatorship and lack of accountability.
Betti Kamya, Uganda Federo Alliance Party president said, “we must redo the constitution through a national referendum and trim the powers of the president. Human rights abuses, corruption and patronage are just consequences of bad governance. “
Retired assistant bishop of Kampala diocese Dr, Zac Niringiye said the thieves are our relatives who we should not ostracize, isolate or hide. In addition he said that the political leadership has failed because it has the authority to manage public space and resources. He added that the civil society and other anticorruption activists should begin discussing how to remove the current president peacefully.
“The president is the head of state, head of government, commander-in – chief and fountain of honour… I love President Museveni . But my own president is failing my nation.”Niringiye said.
However, Vision Group CEO, Robert Kabushenga said using an evangelical approach to fight corruption may lead to crucifixion of the innocent.
He told the Chairman National Economy, Biraahwa Mukitale Stephen also the Buliisa County MP to tell fellow MPS to stop appropriating the work of Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Mukitale told conveners that corruption suspects should be taken as guilty till proven innocent especially those in grand graft cases.
IGG Justice Irene Mulyagonja, the chief guest said the inspectorate is unveiling a data tracking system to detect performance in government departments and ministries.