Saturday, June 8, 2013

Corruption in Uganda


After a fun and interesting morning Reach Out Mbuya learning about microfinance in Uganda,  our afternoon was spent in the office of the IG (Inspectorate of Government).  A short walk from Big Blue our trusty bus, a waiting room, and six flights of stairs later, we were finally ready to meet with the IGG (Inspector General Government). To our surprise, we did not meeting with the IGG, but rather with Mr. Kiiza Adrian, the Director for Education and Prevention of Corruption at the IG. 
            To give some background on the role of the IG is to lead the fight against corruption in Uganda. The motto is “Zero Tolerance to Corruption”. This motto is put to work in the IG, as they claim to put the Ugandan population over the government. Another factor that the IG pushed during the meeting was that transparency was key when dealing with corruption. The powers of the IG were outlined in the 1995 Ugandan constitution. Article 225 outlined the role of the IG in government. It also stated that the IG would be autonomous, that no person in government should have power to direct the IG.
            In the beginning of our seminar, everything seemed to be going well. There was a lot of humor, and I was under the assumption that I was going to be interested the entire time. Little did I know that things were going to take a turn from the path we started on. It seemed that Mr. Kiiza was just reading from a script.  The speech that he did give, was very dry, when students did raise questions, the questions seemed to be dismissed. The talk seemed more of a history lesson rather than an informative discussion.
            The thing I realized throughout the talk was that there seems to be a disconnect between what is being said in government, and what is actually being done.  Mr. Kiiza did raise the point that legislation like the Special Powers Act of 2002, and the Anti-Corruption Act of 2009 had been passed that had been passed.  These acts are a step in the right direction in the fight against corruption, but there is still a massive amount of corruption in Uganda.  According to Transparency International, Uganda has a three out of ten, which is not good. The thing that I do not understand is how can a nation can have an office that is directly dedicated to fighting corruption, and still have corruption in so many aspects of Ugandan society.

Given everything that that we have seen and learned in the past two weeks, I have a few questions for my fellow students.
11.  Do you think that the current government regime in Uganda is conducive to a corruption free society?
22.  Do you think that the Office of the IG is an effective office in Uganda?


7 comments:

  1. Great post Rachel! This was a very intriguing meeting indeed. I went in very confused, and honestly, left even more confused. The Office of the IG seems to not be very effective because, well obviously, there is still corruption in Uganda. A whooole lot of it. I would like to see more specifics of what the IG has done in the past few years; I would have asked this as a question, but Mr. Kiiza was very busy responding to other questions and we were short on time.

    Something I thought of in the meeting was when Julien brought up the point of Museveni's caravan. He mentioned his luxury jet and his personal army of guards, claiming it as an example of corruption. However, the more I thought of it, Obama has a private jet (two of them actually) and when he comes to town, security is insane. Is America corrupt? Do we just do a better job of hiding it? Very interesting ideas to think about!

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  2. I totally agree with you Rachel. There is a huge disconnect on what the role of the IGG should be and what it actually is. I think that if there was less government involvement, the office would do more. It is hard to investigate the people who could possibly fire you form your position.

    As of right now, I don't think that the office of the IGG is set up in an effective way, it would be more beneficial if it was completely free from government involvement and government control.

    I enjoyed this chat because a lot of great ideas were brought up, and people really do acknowledge that there's corruption, the hardest thing is coming up with solutions.

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  3. Thanks for the post Rachel! At present, I feel the IG is not structured to effectively fight corruption. The IGG herself was appointed by the government. How can she accuse those who appointed her of corruption? It puts everyone who works in the IG at a difficult position, and is rather conducive to more corruption.

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  4. i found the ig to be a very interesting experience. it proved to me that there is corruption in every part of the government, including the ig. apparently in years past the igg himself spoke to our group, but the past few years the task has been pawned off on some other poor schmuck. this man really only read from slides and quoted a few ugandan laws verbatim. every question that was put to him, he managed to talk his way around the question and never actually answered any question. the office of the igg is, at this point, corrupt and therefore obviously not going to get anywhere in fighting corruption in the government that appoints many of the igg positions; there is no way that this is an effective office.

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  5. I don't believe the current government regime in Uganda is conducive to a corruption free society. i believe this for a few reasons. First, the president doesn't have a term limit. If a term limit was implemented, everyone would know that after a period of time the president would be replaced, and the president could worry more about Uganda and not about getting re-elected. Also, I think this would put more trust in the government from the perspective of the citizens. Secondly, I think the IG is more connected to the government then it should. The representative we had said it was disconnected from the government, but the IGG is appointed by the government. Due to this, I believe their is a much greater chance of corruption sneaking into the IG, and that doesn't make them very effective.

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  6. I don’t think the current Ugandan government in conducive to a corruption free society at the moment. The president has been in office far to long and has a strong hold on how the government operates. He has the power to appoint everyone who is below him in government, which causes him to surround himself with people of similar beliefs. Without differing beliefs by other government officials the president is able to do as he wishes with little opposition. This also causes the IG to be ineffective as well because the IGG is elected by the president. So the current IG isn’t as effective or important, as it should be in fighting corruption in Uganda.

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  7. As you all know, given the fact that each of you was present for my verbal onslaught upon Mr. Kiiza, I both highly enjoyed this event while finding it very aggravating at the same time. The role of the IGG and the institution of the IG was a step in the right direction for Uganda after years of openly corrupt leaders (i.e. Obote and Amin) because now, at least, Uganda's leaders are forced to operate within the formal workings of a democratic constitution, however, the effectiveness of these anti-corruption institutions is more bark than bite. As Rachel points out, Mr. Kiiza Adrian laid out a plethora of nice and shiny rules and policies that can be found within Uganda's constitution, which is all well and good if words were enough to convince people, but when looking to the social conditions as they exist within Uganda, it is clear that these fancy new democratic laws that Mr. Kiiza so desperately defended are as hollow as the position that he fills. From our visit at the IG I came to realize why Uganda's current political situation is so volatile and will likely remain that way for some time to come - it is because the social institutions that exist in theory to stamp out the source of corruption, act in contrary, and often in an opposing manner, to set goal. I agree with Rachel that Mr. Kiiza did do a great job of dodging each one of our questions, and for that much he can be regarded as a successful addition to Museveni's corrupt entourage.

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