We will remember government for shielding the corrupt

Wilfred Arinda


What you need to know:

  • The NRM government may have won several battles, but it has unquestionably lost the war against corruption. 

So, what else will the National Resistance Movement party be remembered for? While there are undeniable contributions to Uganda’s progress, there is a glaring issue that threatens to overshadow them all: corruption. 

As Generation Z, we are deeply troubled by a concerning trend - the absence of shame among those who engage in corrupt practices.

One alarming aspect is that individuals in positions of authority openly admit to their knowledge of corrupt individuals but refuse to take action. Why shouldn’t they instead choose to remain silent bystanders? This apathy is a disheartening reminder that corruption has not only seeped into our institutions but has also corrupted our collective conscience.

Government officials, alarmingly, exhibit a shameless lack of remorse when it comes to misappropriating public funds. They openly discuss their readiness to engage in embezzlement, showing no concern about the prospect of imprisonment. Their belief that they can endure a jail sentence and subsequently relish the fruits of their corrupt actions reflects the pervasive corruption afflicting our nation.

This corrosive mindset has permeated every corner of Uganda. Even programs meant to uplift communities, such as Emyooga and the Parish Development Model, are seen as handouts rather than opportunities for sustainable development. Youth leaders entrusted with funds from the Youth Livelihood Program openly declare their intent to never return government money, with no fear of consequences.

It is a sentiment I have voiced repeatedly, and I will continue to do so. The NRM government may have won several battles, but it has unquestionably lost the war against corruption. 

A person wakes up one morning, having no documented or legitimate source of income, yet is able to afford luxurious cars, lavish mansions, and extravagant lifestyles, all while criticizing others for their perceived laziness. Our moral compass has eroded, and the shame once linked to corruption has disappeared, making it appear ordinary. Maybe the responsibility of addressing corruption should fall on the next government, not the NRM. We must ensure that corruption doesn’t continue into the next administration.

I recall an incident during a visit to China earlier this year. At Shanghai Pudong International Airport, I realised that I had left behind some belongings in my hotel room, causing me to miss my flight. A kind-hearted airport staff member assisted me, and I offered a tip in gratitude. She declined and almost teared up, explaining that helping clients was her duty. It was a stark reminder that in China, corruption is criminal and intolerable. The Chinese fear ill-gotten gains.

In contrast, corrupt individuals in Uganda are often honored rather than shamed. Their names should be displayed in Halls of Shame. We may have learned the art of stealing public resources with the NRM party, but we must ensure these skills remain confined to the current government.

We’ve witnessed all faces of corruption with NRM, and it is our responsibility to unite and pursue those who perpetrate corruption relentlessly. 

Mr Wilfred Arinda is  the LC5 Male Youth Councillor for Rubanda District. 
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