President Yoweri Museveni says that there is corruption in Uganda and it stems from the colonial times.
Speaking as the chief guest at an anti-corruption dialogue organized by transparency international in Kampala., President Museveni caused laughter when he accused his own late father, Mzee Amos Kaguta of being corrupt.
“My father was a village cattle keeper, But the man had syringe for injecting cows. He was not a veterinary doctor but people brought him cows to inject them. You cannot believe this, but Mr. Kaguta had all kinds of veterinary drugs which he got from Government departments. He even had vet drugs from Rwanda.” President Museveni said
The time is now
The president admitted that when NRM took power in 1986, Uganda had more pressing issues, thus fighting corruption was not a priority.
‘ ‘when we undertook the liberation struggle of this country, there were more pressing problems than corruption. These were; extra-judicial killings by state actors between 1966 to 1986. We lost about 800,000 people in that period. There was the problem of no democracy. After holding elections in April 1962, the next elections were in 1980 and they were bad elections. It was a whole 18 years of no elections. The third challenge was the collapse of the economy. By 1986, the economy was characterized by three words; smuggling, black market and speculation.’’
He added: When the revolution succeeded, we had few intellectuals. Most of our fighters were peasants or those who had dropped out of school early. The only institution we immediately reformed was the army–where we created the UPDF and destroyed the old armies. Today, whenever any researcher asks what institution the public trusts, the UPDF comes out on top. Those fighting corruption must look at the army as the nucleus of this struggle.
‘’But even when we changed the army, the other institutions like the civil service, the Judiciary, the education system and others stayed as we had inherited them. Had we, for example, dismissed the civil servants, we would have created problems and isolated ourselves. We also made the mistake of assuming that elected leaders would diligently serve in their people’s interests. We gave people power to elect leaders, who instead of offering oversight have joined the corrupt class. ‘ ‘
Mr. Museveni However assured Ugandans that corruption will now be defeated.
‘ ‘The corrupt civil servants have exposed themselves. The population is angry with them. Also, we now have more educated young people. The pool from which to pick their replacements has grown. The problem now is the law manipulated by corrupt civil servants. We now need quicker methods of accountability to deal with the corrupt. I have the political will but I do not want to deal with them outside the law. ‘’
‘ ‘I do not want to lead a country which is timid, or one with civil servants living in fear. We shall deal with the the corrupt officials structurally. There must also be a reflection on the morals of our young people. When setting up the Uganda Revenue Authority, we carefully identified young people to work there. But now, URA has kawunkumi (weevils). We need to deal with it.’’
The president also said that he was earlier told that poor remuneration fuelled corruption. He however said but even in agencies like URA, Bank of Uganda, Kampala Capital City Authority, where the pay is competitive, there exists corruption.
The president promised to make major pronouncements on December 10th, highlighting new fight against graft.