The often-criticised government effort to fight corruption has received a slight nod of approval from development partners.
Speaking at the launch of National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2014-19 at Hotel Africana yesterday, Geraldine O’Callaghan, the governance and security team leader, at the Department for International Development (DFID), said development partners are increasingly supporting government anti-corruption agencies but a lack of political will from government threatens to undermine it’s positive achievements.
She said: “What do we mean by government’s lack of political will? The government is not adequately using tools at its disposal to fight corruption by exposing, prosecuting and sanctioning corruption; it is about the government enabling the anti- corruption institutions to work properly…and not interfere with the due process.”
“This is a collective responsibility of all arms of the state; Parliament and Judiciary should show their commitment to the fight against corruption,” she said.
O’Callaghan added that for the three years she had stayed and worked in Uganda, there was a number of issues that have critically proved the government has showed some political will in fighting corruption; which include the setting up of anti-corruption agencies.
“The government has also increased funding to anti-corruption institutions, passed the Money Anti-Laundering Bill, and approved the Leadership Code Amendment Bill, these issues have been high on the agenda of government and development partners following the Office of the Prime Minister’s corruption case,” she said.
She said the Leadership Amendment Act would help restrain corrupt public officers and also push public officers to declare their assets and unexplained wealth. She said government needs to be commended for passing those laws.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the fight against corruption requires a collective effort from the public, private sector and the government.
“From the very beginning before the NRM government captured power in 1986, we have been fighting corruption, No. 7 of NRM’s 10-point programme is the fight against corruption. We have put in place institutions and leadership to fight the vice, we also realised that we had some legal weaknesses but we have worked on them,” he said.
Rev Fr Simon Lokodo, the minister of state for Ethics and Integrity, warned the public and development partners against what he termed as apportioning “blanket blame on government for lacking political will to fight corruption.”
“Let’s get another way of blaming government for corruption…if Lokodo is corrupt, let it be Lokodo but don’t blame everybody in government,” he said.