Saturday March 22 2014

Work together to fight corruption

Parents of Kigorobya Primary School in Hoima District have done a courageous act which all Ugandans at grassroots and national level, in and outside government, should emulate to ensure accountability for public resources.
Parents under their Parents-Teachers Association rejected the classroom block built by the district leadership and told teachers not to let pupils enter the building which they say is sub-standard and will endanger their lives.

They have asked the headteacher to lead them to the office of the Chief Administrative Officer and the district’s accounting office, to register their grievance.
This is exemplary vigilance and courage by the parents given that they first pointed out the anomalies during the construction last year but the district administration did not do enough to stop the negligence.

The local contractor admitted that there had been defects in the building but claimed they had been cured as directed by the district administration. Regardless of whether this is true or not, the contractor’s statement confirms that there was poor workmanship during the construction. It also confirms the failure by the district leadership to supervise the works to ensure the contractor did the right job. Even when the district leaders were alerted by the parents, they simply asked the contractor to rectify the defects, instead of reprimanding the company for the shoddy work and promising sanctions for non-compliance.

The district leaders should be ashamed that they are entrusted with public resources and are mandated to ensure quality service delivery to the people but instead they just watched as unscrupulous service providers did shoddy work which not only would cause government financial loss but also endanger the lives of teachers and pupils.

Fighting corruption requires concerted effort and vigilance by every one. But our leaders must take the lead role in fighting the vice since they are the custodians of the taxpayer’s money and have more capacity to hold service providers to account. The Hoima parents have done a great job and other Ugandans should borrow a leaf from them. But their efforts must be reinforced by local government leaders. This brave move should not be in vain.