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Corruption is now Uganda’s Aids, says US envoy

Scott DeLisi, the American ambassador to Uganda, has urged the ruling NRM government to crack down hard on public sector corruption because it is turning away foreign investment.

Speaking at the first ever ‘Buy America expo’ at Sheraton hotel recently, DeLisi described corruption as the new “slim” (HIV/Aids) threatening Uganda’s future. He said corruption was already reducing the country’s international competitiveness, eroding trust and sullying corporate images.

Some 50 American companies showcased their products at the expo organised by the US embassy and the American Chamber of Commerce.

“Twenty years ago, the government of Uganda saw [the] ‘slim’ disease, which we now know as HIV/Aids, as an existential threat to Uganda’s future.  Corruption is now the new slim,” DeLisi said. “We need to treat corruption as the pervasive and destructive evil and abuse of power and trust that it is, rather than allowing it to hide behind far less damning terms like ‘rent seeking’.”

He added that the country needed visible and resolute leadership from government to champion honest and transparent investments and to expose corrupt practices.

In the recent Transparency International’s index on corruption, Uganda ranked 140th out of 177 countries worldwide surveyed (with the 177th country being the most corrupt).

ninsiima@observer.ug

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