President Museveni cannot lead the fight against corruption because many of the suspects are his relatives and cronies, anti-corruption activists charged yesterday.
Speaking at the second National Anti-Corruption Convention in Kampala, at which they launched the Black Mondays to mourn corruption in the country, the crusaders called for a review of the Constitution to limit the powers of the President.
“How can you tell President Museveni to act against his nieces and nephews?” thundered Miria Matembe, a former minister-turned good governance activist. “It is impossible; there is no way he is going to take actions that will affect his own.”
Several politicians and civil society activists attended the function and shared diverse views about how corruption, which has gained currency in recent weeks after donors cut aid following widespread graft in the Office of the Prime Minister, can be addressed.
Call for review
Ms Beti Kamya, the president of Uganda Federo Alliance party, called for a constitutional review to separate the powers of the different arms of government. “The seed of corruption was planted at the time when the Constitution of Uganda was enacted,” she said. “How can you tell me that one person appoints the Judiciary, police leadership, the head of the Treasury, ministers who are part of parliamentarians, Inspector General of Government, who is supposed to be independent and all other key people in this fight. So if he is the root of the problem, who will act?”
Former Attorney General and Supreme Court judge Justice George Kanyeihamba said the country has good laws against graft but little will to enforce them. “We need to find out who is responsible for the lack of implementation of the laws, because we have practically the best laws. Look at our IGG Act. It is the best,” Mr Kanyeihamba said.
The IGG, Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja, who officiated at the convention, warned civil society organisations against politicising the fight against corruption. “Corruption has no colour,” she said. “You are seated here and throwing stones at the government; stop politicising corruption in terms of colour and parties. You may not know what green and blue would do if they were on the forefront, to call it a vice of the yellow.”
Yellow is the colour of the ruling NRM party while opposition parties DP and FDC use green and blue respectively. “Yes the vice has become worse and we need to become aggressive. It is through the public, which has information, and our aggressiveness that these vice can be fought. We have corruption because it is something entrenched in our society.”