Corruption has become a parasite that feeds on Ugandans and cannot be killed. It is like a disease plaguing Uganda and has become incurable.
It has been rendered the most difficult disease to be eradicated because every sector in our government has corrupt officials. The level of corruption in Uganda is increasing everyday and nothing significant is being done. What makes it even worse is that the people (Judiciary) prosecuting the culprits are also corruptible.
Almost every ministry in this country has corrupt officials who have been publicly accused of embezzling public funds but they always get away without punishment. All they do is to bribe the courts of law, get light punishments of bail, few days or months in jail and they return home and continue from where they had stopped by corrupting and embezzling more money. They always bribe the witnesses, lawyers, judges and the cases are ruled in their favour.
This plague (Corruption) is deeply rooted in Ugandan culture and people’s blood and is so hard to be cured. Some people are born corrupt and others have been raised up corrupt. Just like they say “ begins at home” so is corruption. For example, a young girl sees his/her bigger sister escaping to go to a night club at night and the sister bribes the child with a sweet or to wash her clothes if she keeps quiet and doesn’t report her to the parents. That is being corrupt but at home-level.
Another example is nepotism. Most people usually show favour to their relatives or close friends especially when giving them jobs. Some call it “To favour your kind.” All this will be hard to be eradicated because that is how many were brought up.
However, some people have moved beyond being corrupt to greed. They are too greedy that all they can think of is how and where to get free money, not knowing that the “free-money” comes from a source who is in fact the tax payer. Some government officials are so greedy that every day they are budgeting and planning on securing a deal that will earn them free and quick money.
What they do not consider is that for each shilling or dollar embezzled, there is someone who pays the price. A life will be lost there was no ambulance to rush her (pregnant woman) to the hospital or there was no medicine to give a sick child and so much more. What kind of greed is that for one not to think of a poor person who only benefits from the government?
No wonder the say money is evil. It even made Judas Iscariot betray Jesus because of thirty pieces of silver that Jesus was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to die. In this case Judas is the corrupt officials who embezzle funds and Jesus is the poor peasant, tax payer who suffers because of the embezzled funds.
Uganda has had many fraud cases but they always end up mysteriously. Sometimes, they convict innocent people or those who played a lesser part in the embezzlement and the master minds of the cases are left to walk free and embezzle more.
In October last year, the Human Rights Watch released a report detailing all the failures by the Ugandan government to fight corruption and prosecute all high level corruption cases despite repeated Campaigns and pledges by the government to eradicate it.
It condemned the OPM scandal that involved high ranked government officials that were accused of embezzling US$12.7 million and channelling the money into their private accounts but nothing much has been done about it. The stolen donor funds were meant for rebuilding northern Uganda especially Karamoja which was been destroyed by the LRA 20-year war.
The report also mentions the Global Fund Scandal where funds were diverted from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations in 2006 and from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2010. “Despite investigations, none of the high-ranking government officials who managed the implicated offices have faced criminal sanctions,” indicates the report.
We need harsh punishments that will scare people from embezzling public funds or else Uganda will forever drown in the corruption plague.