Last week, Transparency International released their Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2019 report. The report ranks 180 countries and territories by perceived levels of public sector corruption by experts and business people.
In the latest report, Uganda was ranked the third least corrupt country in East Africa. South Sudan was found to be the most corrupt, followed by Burundi then Uganda and Kenya which tied at third position.
Rwanda was rated the least corrupt followed by Tanzania in East Africa.
In 2018, Uganda was ranked the second most corrupt country in the region. If position is anything to go by, this marks a slight improvement. Unfortunately, this is not good enough.
According to Transparency International, this year’s analysis shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns, and where governments listen only to the voices of the wealthy or well-connected individuals.
In his address at the 34th national anniversary of the National Resistance Movement on January 26, President Museveni expressed optimism saying corruption, even if it is still a big problem, will be defeated because it is easy to stop. However, not many people share his optimism.
In fact, on January 27, while addressing the Buganda Lukiiko in Bulange Mengo, Buganda Kingdom Katkkiro Charles Peter Mayiga, said the only way the President will stop corruption will be by arresting corrupt top government officials, chief executives of parastatals and other highly connected individuals.
According to Mayiga, we shouldn’t be excited about the arrest of a policeman for stealing Shs30,000 yet those at the top, who steal billions of shillings, are left to go scot-free.
Mayiga says arresting those at the top will set off a chain reaction, insisting that the ‘big wigs’ should be arrested, convicted and their loot confiscated and returned to the rightful owners.
Arresting the small fish while the more influential culprits are left to continue looting the country and cheating Ugandans of what is rightfully theirs, is a waste of time. This is not to say the ‘small fish’ should be ignored. Rather, it is to say the law should be apply should apply to everyone.
If we get more serious about ridding our society of corruption, perhaps when the next report is released, we will have given Rwanda a run for its money. But until then, let us view corruption as the monster it is and fight it.
But most important, we should pick lessons from countries, which have done well in the fight against corruption.
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