Equality before the law is crucial
Posted Monday, February 4 2013 at 02:00
Besides, denial of bail violates the principle of presumption of innocence. The fight against corruption is broader than bail.
Corruption remains one of Uganda’s biggest problems today. The debate about fighting this menace that has permeated virtually every sector of this country revolves mainly around two arguments: lack of political will and selective justice.
Following the recent conviction of Soroti Municipality MP Mike Mukula, some members of the public and officials of some opposition parties demanded the prosecution of all officials reported to have had a hand in the embezzled funds meant for immunisation campaigns under the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.
Also, some people have wrongly claimed that Mukula should be released because his colleagues were acquitted. This would set a dangerous precedent in the corruption fight. We must continue to demand that all suspected thieves, regardless of their status, face the law.
The extent to which corruption has eaten our moral fabric is mind boggling. From the blatant looting in the Office of the Prime Minister to the brazen robbery of pensioners’ money and numerous other scandals, we cannot pretend that enough is being done to rid Uganda of corruption.
During the NRM anniversary celebrations last week, President Museveni said the Judiciary was making the fight against corruption difficult by offering bail to suspects. Bail being a constitutional right, it is futile to blame the Judiciary for applying the law. Besides, denial of bail violates the principle of presumption of innocence. The fight against corruption is broader than bail.
We have severally heard our political class stating that nobody is above the law. This notion is clearly used selectively in Uganda. Such statements are ostensibly used to show the commitment and zeal of this government to fighting corruption. While it may be perfectly right to remind citizens that nobody is above the law, that is not the reality on the ground.
We cannot claim equality before the law when some Ugandans abuse the same laws they purport to be upholding. Case in point: police brutality in suppressing what they deem illegal demonstrations.
As Ugandans, we are all shareholders in this country and it is our collective responsibility to end corruption, fight for justice and equality before the law.
Without genuine commitment to ending corruption, it is impossible for this country to foster and sustain social transformation and tangible economic growth.