There is no doubt that fighting corruption in Uganda is pivotal if the country is to attain the projected and much hyped middle income status by 2020. Yet apart from government officials giving lip-service to the fight against the blight, it remains business as usual, with many government ministries, departments and agencies stressed under the weight of rampant corruption.
It is in light of this upsetting development that the move by Oyam District residents to resort to ‘name and shame’ strategy to fight corruption, should be welcomed by all concerned citizens (See: ‘Oyam locals use name and shame strategy to fight graft’, in the Daily Monitor of March 20.
Ideally, there wouldn’t be rampant corruption at local government level if leaders at the centre and all the anti-corruption agencies were to make it very expensive for any public official accused of corruption. That this is not happening and may not happen in the foreseeable future, is instructive that different levels of administrative units, such as Oyam District, should be applauded for taking own initiatives to fight the vice.
It is true that poor service delivery characterised by the sorry state of health facilities, schools and roads, among others, across the country, is largely attributed to corruption. Inevitably, this could have sparked off the critical move by Oyam residents to adopt the name and shame approach to fight graft.
Imagine this: On nearly daily basis, patients who visit many public health facilities do not find medicines there. Instead, are asked to buy drugs for themselves at specified clinics, some of which are stocked with and sell government drugs.
In many cases, national and district road contractors do shoddy work. Consequently, the roads they work on rarely last for the prescribed period. Substandard schools, sometimes makeshift in nature, with some students studying under trees, are allowed to operate. Worse still, some are let to open without a licence.
Our hope is that government agencies, other districts, and even the private sector will emulate the resolve by Oyam Distric residents to check corruption.
Importantly, the government should know that any talk about Uganda attaining middle income status by 2020 or developed nation status by 2040 (Vision 2040), will remain a mirage unless greater efforts and more resources are invested in fighting corruption.
Therefore, it is high time we stop making mere projections without following them with deliberate and concrete actions to overcome or address the challenges in their way.
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