KOLOLO – President Yoweri Museveni Monday, December 10 tasked government principal accounting officers including the permanent secretaries, Chief Administrative Officers, Town Clerks and Sub-county Chiefs to take responsibility for the use of public funds and stop making excuses for corruption in the country.
Mr Museveni made the remarks as he addressed the country on measures adopted by his office to handle corruption at the Kololo Independence grounds.
Mr Museveni also unveiled yet another anti-corruption institution and announced some radical measures to be taken by a unit in his office that will be headed by lieutenant colonel Edith Nakalema.
He said that unit will reign in public sector graft and that the measures will also include asset seizures and recovery.
Other measures include toll free lines, new twitter and other media channels for the public to report corruption related cases.
Museveni in his speech assured Ugandans that the problem of corruption is still defeatable adding that the country now has the manpower to handle the issue more firmly.
“In 1986, we had 7 challenges; extortion by the army extrajudicial killings, poaching of animals in national parks, embezzlement of public funds, bribery, nepotism, and encroachment on natural resources,” he adding that the NRM government has since handled some and the war is now on corruption.
He said the government can no longer be blackmailed by dishonest public servants saying “we now have sufficient, even surplus manpower. We’ll dismiss those implicated in corruption.”
He also revealed plans to involve heads of other arms of government including Speaker of Parliament Ms Rebecca Kadaga and Chief Justice Bart Katureebe in the new arrangement to deal with corruption cases in the parliamentary committees and the judiciary respectively.
He said the work of Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema and her team which includes Asiimwa Martha and Sr. Akiror Mary Grace will not in any way interfere with that of Inspector General Government (IGG) and other anti corruption agencies including the Auditor General.
“This Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema is not going to interfere with the roles of IGG, I have put her as my eye,” he said clearing the speculations.
Museveni has also warned the new anti-corruption team to focus on their work and not to be diverted like other institutions that he said have been marred by Kawukumi a Luganda he used to mean Bean Weevils.
The President also rallied the Public, Media and Uganda Police to be cooperative in the fight against bribery and blatant corruption.
Museveni also warned Police leadership to stop arresting citizens in their country over idle and disorderly charges saying those are colonial laws.
“I hear that in Kampala, Police is arresting people for being Idle and disorderly, those are colonial tendencies, how do you arrest someone in his country that he is idle and disorderly?” he said attracting cheers from the crowd.
“I had told Gen. Kale Kayihura to stop this nonsense, I’m now telling the new police leadership to stop arresting our children that they are Idle and disorderly,”he explained.
On her part, the head of the anti corruption unit at state house Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema said the fight against corruption is possible and should be supported by all Ugandans of good will.
Speaking to journalists, earlier at her offices at the office of the president in Kampala, she said that she is ready to take on the fight.
“I am ready to work with all the anti corruption agencies including the IGG, DPP and the auditor general to turn around the fight against corruption,” Nakalema insisted.
Nakalema who previously worked as an aide to the president before she was sent for training and promoted upon return believes her faith in God will go a long way in shaping her contribution.
Asked about how she will deal with the rot in the investigation machinery of the police and other anti corruption agencies, she said that she will count on the good will of the citizens to volunteer such information
“What I know is that no one will be spared once we have authentic information,” Nakalema argued.
The biggest task for her will be dealing with people she worked with at State House that appears to have a nasty reputation with a lot of accusations of theft pointing to the institution.
Nakalema says she has also picked up hear say about rot at state house and she will be more than willing to pull the strings at state house first as an example to the rest insisting all she needs is authentic information from the public.
Over the years powerful individuals and big shots in government have been involved in numerous scandals and that will most likely be the hardest challenge for the Nakalema team.
Since inception, the unit has already received over 7000 cases pointing to the gravity of the vice of corruption in the country.