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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Inspector General

Written by Jacki Debb

Today was a very interesting day at the Uganda inspector general’s office. At first I had no idea what an inspector general did or who he was for that matter. So first thing for me was to find out what and who exactly this person was and what he did. When we first got there everyone sat around or near this big table waiting for the Honorable Raphael Baku, the general to come in. When he came in he had an entourage of people, about three men; one of which we knew (James from Kabale). He walked in and we were told to stand for him which everyone did once told to. After that he said thank you and we sat down. It reminded me of a court room where everyone has to stand for the judge. After the sitting and standing dance James announced and gave a brief overview of who the man standing before us was and what he was going to talk about. Raphael had a packet of papers with bullet points in it of what he was going to talk about; he introduced himself and then went into what exactly the Inspector General’s office does in Uganda. Raphael has been the general for two terms. In order for the general to be put in this office or in his position he must be appointed by the president and approved by parliament. The goal of the Inspector Generals office is to reduce corruption. They go about this by following and investigating complaints that people make about companies, corporations or people that may be involved in corrupt activities. Raphael said that there were about 25 definitions of what corrupt activity could actually be. He did not go into all the examples but the main ones he mentioned were fraud, bribery, nepotism, and failure to account. The office starts out by following complaints that have been made. They then investigate and if need be they prosecute. When Raphael was concluding his speech he mentioned the main parts of the office and what the Inspector general does. To promote and foster the rules of law set forth by the constitution, eliminate corruption, enforce laws, supervise disciplinary codes of conduct, investigate acts of corruption and give a recommendation as to what the next step is, and lastly, stimulate public awareness of what corruption is and how to prevent it. The inspector of government was created by the constitution and therefore has constitutional independence. The office cannot conduct its own trials but they make inquires and investigate what needs to be looked in to. The people that are appointed are the deputy who is appointed by the general and the general is appointed by the president. The most interesting thing I thought that was talked about was the new act that was passed in 2009 named the Anti-corruption act. This stated that with this new act private sectors can be prosecuted and it also included some new offenses. These new offenses were influence penalty, conflict of interest and nepotism. Raphael talked about how even though the Inspector government is a private entity it does work with the president and government to ensure that corruption is stopped He talked about how assets are recovered when someone is found guilty of corruption and where the money goes. The money either goes back to the proper place that it should have been in like the company it was stolen from or it goes into the Inspector government’s bank account where it then will be given to the treasury. After his discussion he allowed time for questions and there were quite a few. The main questions had to do with the fact that Uganda is still considered a corrupt country and what are they doing about it. To summarize the general said no country will ever be free or corruption but the goal is to reduce it as much as possible. Overall, I thought that the presentation was very entertaining I went in knowing nothing about the inspector general and what he does to knowing exactly who he is, what he does and how he does it. It was very interesting to see the power that he has and the respect that had to be shown to him. When it was time to leave everyone had to stay seated until Raphael and his entourage were gone. Once he left everyone stood up trying to remember and organize everything that was said and then we were on our way out of the office. The experience was definitely a learning experience for me and something I probably would not do again. It was interesting but if politics and government are not really your thing, then this was a somewhat boring talk. I think that Raphael was straight and to the point about what he does and how he does his job. I think it was extremely informative and I am glad I am not so clueless as to what an inspector general does anymore.

What are your views on Uganda being a corrupt country?

Do you think he was honest with his answers that he gave during his talk?

Do you really think he is an unbiased party being appointed by the president?

Do you think that the inspector general should be appointed by the president or elected by the popular vote?

Do you think another government body should be there to check the inspector government to make sure they are not corrupt?


  1. I also found this presentations to be interesting in that I also did not know what an Inspector General was, or what that person would do. I think, that with Uganda being one of the more corrupt nations within the world, it is hard to believe that the IGG's sole purpose is in ending corruption. I find it much easier to believe, that since the Inspector General is appointed by the president, that he is also influenced greatly by the president. In this way, I do not believe that the Inspector General is unbiased, but that the president has too much unchecked power within the nation. I do think that the Inspector General should be elected by popular vote, but that this could be difficult if the population does not trust the election system. I do not think that another government body is necessary to check the power of the Inspector General, but that the already present government bodies could be re-worked to place more checks and balances on each other.

  2. Lauren and Jackie, you guys hit all the major points of the afternoon. And I agree with Lauren that the present government bodies should be reworked to provide a more a better balance of power. I did think the Inspector General was pretty careful with his answers overall, except for one that I was really surprised by. Having heard that copyright laws were pretty non-existent in Uganda, I asked if the Inspector General's office had ever dealt with anyone in government that had ignored copyright laws. His answer was that Ugandans pretty much don't care about those laws, though they are in place. He seemed dismissive of ignoring a whole section of law, too, which amazed me. As a musician, I am pretty appalled at this lack of protection for a performing artist. And with this lack of interest coming from the highest levels of government, how soon will this problem be fixed? Out of all his answers, I thought he might have been most honest with this one, unfortunately.

  3. I was actually very suprised when one of the MUBS students mentioned to me that Uganda was one of the most corrupt countries on earth. I hadn't seen anything on the trip that would suggest that or heard anything about that before coming here.
    Ironically, the next day when we were at the supermarket, I found out that I had received a counterfeit bill as change from the equator shops the other day. Go figure.
    Anyway, after hearing about Uganda being so corrupt, I was very curious to see some examples of that. I am a very concrete example type of person; I like them so much more then general overview kinds of facts. So I was most intrigued when Raphael gave the one real life example of a current corruption case going on. He couldn't give many more examples then that since they need to keep confidentiality for the sake of investigations. But he was able to share this story: a man they noticed had inquired more assets over the past year then he had made in wages (they get this info through documents that are filed annually). Little fishy. So they started investigating this man and in the end, the man ended up fighting them in court, not saying that he was innocent, but instead saying that he didn't get a fair investigation. Hmm, interesting.
    I would be interested in knowing what other kinds of examples there are about the corruption in Uganda, besides conterfeit bills and sketchy guys like that man.

  4. I think the fact that the inspector general is appointed by the president is somewhat corrupt in itself. The president has far too much power. The inspector general should be elected by means of a popular vote. I believe he also gave some examples of when the parliment had over turned some of the inspector general's decisions. I'm not really sure what the country needs to do to prevent corruption, but I think it is important that the country's government has a system of checks and balances. People of power cannot simply be appointed by the president and they need abide by the designated term lengths.