The Inspectorate of Government has dismissed the recent Transparency International findings that suggested corruption in Uganda was on the rise.
Munira Ali, the spokeswoman of the inspectorate, says perceptions cannot be used to evaluate Uganda’s status because the TI report compared countries without considering the different environments, particularly the history, culture and constraints in the fight against corruption.
“The IG is fighting corruption in Uganda...not engaging in a competition with other countries about successes or failures of its efforts,” Ali said in an email to The Observer.
Late last month, Transparency International released its annual corruption perceptions index report, where Uganda, with a score of 25 per cent, dropped 12 places to the 151st position out of 176 countries surveyed. These scores put Uganda behind East African counterparts Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya.
Transparency reported that a vicious cycle of corruption and unequal distribution of wealth and power in society make it easy for the rich to exploit the country’s financial system.
But Ali argued that as an institution that deals with corruption and maladministration in the public sector, the IG is aware that many people understand maladministration to be corruption.
Therefore, perceptions of citizens, Ali said, cannot be relied on to determine whether corruption in any country is increasing or decreasing. During the launch of the report in Kampala last month, John Mary Oday, the Transparency International Uganda chairman, blamed the spike in corrupt tendencies on populist politicians who loudly talk against corruption but practically do little to fight the vice.
Weak laws, breached contracts on public works, poor anti-corruption structures and a lack of accountability by various government entities were also blamed for this spike.
“We have seen the country having various commissions of inquiry into different corruption issues like Unra and others in parliament. These commissions, after investigation, always give recommendations but we are not sure whether these are taken seriously or acted upon,” said Patrick Kayemba, the former TI Uganda chairperson.
The report recommended strengthening several anti-corruption legislations.
With urgency, the report said, deep-rooted systematic reforms to balance power and wealth should also be established by empowering citizens to stop the widespread impunity and corruption by holding people accountable and having a real say in the decisions that affect their daily lives.