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Uganda improves in corruption ranking– Global report

FILE PHOTO: President Museveni Anti-corruption walk

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda has moved at least 12 places in the corruption index, an indication that country is progressing in fighting the scourge.

The 2019 Transparency International corruption perception index ranks Uganda at 137th out of 180 countries. This is down from the 149th position the country was ranked in 2018.

The country’s score moved at least two points from 26 per cent last year to 28 percent this year.

In the region, Rwanda remains the least corrupt country in position 51 after scoring 53% followed by Tanzania in the 96th position with a score of 37 while Kenya and Uganda are tied together.

Burundi at 165 and South Sudan 179 remain the most corrupt countries in the region.

For Uganda, the improvement can be attributed to the aggressiveness that the president has taken against corruption.

Frustrated with how the Inspectorate of Government has been able to net thieves, President Museveni created a State House anti-corruption unit and appointed Lt Col Edith Nakalema to head. Since the start of 2019, she has made on spot arrests of officials thought to be engaged in corruption.

Last year, also, the president led a walk against corruption in Kampala, although some Ugandans scoffed it off as a mockery.

The report indicates that elections are a big area where public money is swindled. It shows corruption is frequent in countries where big money can flow into electoral campaigns without regulation and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.

“Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems,” says Delia Ferreira Rubio, the head of Transparency International.

This is a view shared by Peter Wandera, the executive director of transparency international Uganda, arguing control over political finance was needed.

In general, according to the report, Sub-Saharan Africa ranks as the lowest-scoring region on the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), with an average score of 32.

To end corruption and restore trust in politics, Transparency International says there is need to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems.

The global body has recommended governments to reduce the risk of conflict of interest, enforce campaign finance regulations in order to prevent excessive money and influence in politics, and strengthen election integrity by preventing and sanctioning vote-buying and misinformation campaigns.

It also recommends governments to regulate lobbying activities by promoting open and meaningful access to decision-making and consult a wider range of groups, beyond well-resourced lobbyists and a few private interests, empower citizens by protect civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of speech, expression and association, tackle preferential treatment as well as reinforce checks and balances.

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