Corrupt goes back to the Latin roots cor−, “altogether,” and rumpere, “break” it breaks your trustworthiness, your good reputation with others…The term corruption covers a broad range of human actions; cheating, fraud, extortion, embezzlement, theft, misappropriation, bribery, graft, dishonesty, unscrupulousness, deceit, duplicity, double dealing, law breaking, profiteering, subordination, nepotism, favoritism, sectarianism, conflict of interest among others.
An ideal understanding of corruption does not really give a specific definition to it, for its identity varies from person to person or /and society to society. However can be generally understood as; the behavior of a person who derails another one from his/her way, customs or duties, through the promise of money, honors or security.
There are various scales including; systemic, individual, political, grand, petty, legal and moral corruption.
Corruption prone institutions may include among others; the police, the judiciary, land services, tax services, registry and licensing services, city and local councils, medical services and educational institutions.
Statistics: Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (TI) 2014, puts Uganda at number 140 with 26% out of 177 countries and territories. (New Vision, Publish Date: Dec 03, 2014). The Global Integrity Report estimated loses to corruption at USD 400million (Social watch, 2013/1/30)
Why it has thrived in Uganda.
Poor working conditions. Poor planning by the government stakeholders precedes a manipulated process of prioritization that caters for several preferred sectors at the expense of the indispensable ones. Budget allocations are not satisfactorily carried out. For instance the education and health sectors have been overridden by others that are relatively unimportant. Teachers and health workers whose role in society is surely not underestimated are carelessly remunerated. They have cried foul but all in vain. The police, judiciary …whose salaries are equally a meager suffer a similar plight. These and many workers serving under poor conditions are the likely predisposed individuals to temptations of corruption; teachers withholding curriculum to conduct private coaching, government health workers sneaking out drugs for sale, police soliciting bribes to offer get passes or settling disputes in discretion. This is routine corruption which unfortunately is an appreciated norm that motivates the workers in Uganda today.
Terms of service in public offices. I believe many are not disillusioned when overstay in office is zeroed in on as a firm foundation of various scales of corruption. In itself, long term service is not a danger to society but only when excessively long might be.
Office bearers who keep long are apt to establish an underground network that perpetuates corruption in ways that are inconspicuous to the public and more so leaving implicated individuals successfully at large.
Conflict of Interest. If having a caring uncle that endorses your promotion or a distant auntie that recommends you for a scholarship at the expense of others is surely corruption, then there is as much as the uncles and the aunties reigning in public offices.
Mitigating the scourge of corruption in Uganda.
Instilling Patriotism. Patriotism is a feeling of love, respect and duty towards your country. This is a learned virtue which apparently won’t be achieved instantly. It will come gradually through informal and formal education and this is an achievement only when our children are taught morals and values of corruption free society from the moment they set their eyes on the world and throughout their institutions of learning. Inclusion of a subject like patriotism into our curriculum is long overdue. It is a necessary virtue that surely leads to a yielding fight.
Good leadership and planning. Good leadership is a monumental pillar without which corruption sprouts a midst a wreckage of good morals. The strategy here, is to embrace term limits of office service in political power. When this is achieved, it serves as a primary strategy that will subsequently be a stepping stone on which other strategies can thrive. Planning and passing satisfying budgets while putting into account corruption prone institutions, prioritization of indispensable sectors without forgetting boosting the welfare of human resource will typify good leadership in the context of corruption. Potentially, good planning focuses on exploration into the diversity of routes especially electronic pathways that encompass a great deal of cyber corruption. A lot more can be done if good leadership and planning is in place; enforcing the whistle blower protection act and objectively and effectively dealing with officials implicated in the vice.
To conclude: In Uganda corruption has reached unprecedented dimensions! Unlike in the past when it used to be a taboo, nowadays it is a luring business worth venturing for one who stumbles on a chance! The notion of “corruption a prerequisite to wealth” is fast brainwashing our country men! The fear of jeopardizing a very critical government or non-governmental project by diverting huge sums of money is elusive. The thought of what corruption has done to some of our infrastructure -in health, medical, education, roads and to the vulnerable communities- elicits a tear. This is sad! It is indeed an evil we all must fight, and not for the fear of shame -of seeing ourselves in worst positions on the world rankings but of what the evil it has done to our country.
Recommendations: Our country needs a radical change of office bearers.
There is also a great need to instill morals and values of a corruption free society across institutions of learning and working.
Publicity of corruption is a necessity. Activists should be accorded a forum to highlight evils while unscathed as well as preaching the entire message of corruption.
Anti corruption bodies – the inspectorate of government -the leading body, should be fully supported by the government so that their work can have an impact on the lives of Ugandans. Too, they need to lobby for donations. For instance the recent 130billion fund by DFID is a good motivation to the Inspectorate of government (Daily monitor, September 19th 2014).
The judiciary also, needs their due mandate to independently exercise a highest level of integrity and professional ethics in the course of judging culprits.
Last but not least, effective monitoring systems should be put in place to critically trail through the pathways of corruption from the smallest to the biggest institutions to ensure optimum transparency and accountability.
“any one can talk about corruption” is an excerpt from nsimamukama’s literary pursuits in preparation for the inspector General of Government national essay writing competition of the theme: Corruption an evil we must Fight