By John Kabagambe
KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY. Part of the dilemma of government are the high expectations of the citizens for it to deliver on its manifesto pledges, yet at the same time having to rely on enablers (read civil servants) be-it in the regular civil service or the local government, who are corrupt.
As a result, owing to corruption, there is often poor performance (when it comes to service delivery) and discontent and disaffection by the citizens who blame government.
It’s not just government paying the price by being the scapegoat, everyone loses. Often there is nothing to show for tax payer’s money yet the tax payer shoulders a heavy tax burden. So, the corrupt siphon public funds meant to improve infrastructure and service delivery to citizens, as citizens harangue government and protest against new taxes because they don’t know where the money goes even from tax revenues previously collected.
Against that backdrop is how the spirited fight by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit- SH-ACU in combatting all forms of local government graft is making a difference.
Never before have the district local government technocrats been on tenterhooks as they currently are due to the rapid response of the SH-ACU in combing every nook and cranny of district corruption incidents to the extent that many have been smoked out of their corrupt dens and are under arrest, charged and behind bars in record time.
For instance, due to relentless operations against corrupt district leaders by SH-ACU, some criminals have even started impersonating the staff of SH-ACU to extort money from the district officials such as the duo namely, Turyarugayo Edward aka Charles Ocom and Babibaasa Frankline aka Maj Muhondo who attempted to fleece some district officials while showing off fake documents and were instead netted by the real SH-ACU operatives and are facing charges ranging from impersonation, forgery and uttering false documents.
If this momentum by the dedicated SH-ACU goes on and its operations and capacity is expanded to cover the whole country, the corrupt will be exposed and weeded out of the civil service, there will be better accountability for the tax payer’s money, government projects will be visible on the ground, there will be better performance from the civil service and those clamouring for enhanced salaries will actually be working.
In SH-ACU’s all-out war against corruption, enter the no nonsense Ministry of finance Permanent Secretary Ramadhan Ggoobi who axed 110 accounting officers. In that, there is an opportunity that the proverbial “writing is on the wall” signaling zero tolerance to bribery, underperformance, misappropriation, theft, etc, hence the in-coming office bearers (who will replace those axed) stand warned to adopt a clean work ethic or risk getting pounced on and exposed to the nasty applicable sanctions that befell their predecessors.
In a nutshell, once corruption eats at the very core of the country and becomes endemic, the effort to combat and uproot such a cancer has to match its notoriety.
The vice of corruption is so far widespread leading the country to stagnation, public outrage and despair so much so that, the effort to uproot it must be full time, unceasing, untiring, widespread (leaving no stone unturned) to make meaningful impact.
Of course the challenge is; once the thieves and the corrupt are exposed, netted and prosecuted, how to trace and recover the stolen public funds and put them back to the consolidated fund at the disposal of government for the good of Ugandans. SH-ACU has of recent recovered 30bn so far well done SH-ACU and kudos to Permanent Secretary Ggoobi.
The author is a lawyer and a Writer
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