KAMPALA – President Museveni has said that he created the State House Anti-Corruption Unit because the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) and other units were running out of ideas in the fight against corruption.
The President said the anti-corruption agencies had lost integrity and he could no longer trust them.
“For Uganda’s case, the anti-corruption fight needs to be rooted in two bases; the resistance councils and the resistance army. The resistance councils or wanainchi, are the victims of corruption and are a good tool to fight the vice. They have nothing to benefit from the corrupt,” he said.
He added: “When we noticed the dangers corruption posed, we created new laws, new institutions like IGG, to fight the vice. But over time, the fire in them burnt out. Most likely they were infiltrated. That explains why I have to stoke the fire with new watchmen like the Anti-Corruption Unit to watch over the old watchmen.”
The President made the remarks on Monday while officially opening the 9th Commonwealth Regional Conference for Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Africa at Lake Victoria Serena, Kigo. The meeting has attracted delegates from 16 African countries.
He also revealed that corruption is first an ideological issue. “Those who perpetuate corruption do not understand the two problems of humanity; oppression of man by nature and oppression by fellow man,” Mr Museveni said.
“Therefore, as you steal public resources you must ask, can you as an individual solve these human problems or sustainably remain prosperous when everyone else is poor? It is not possible. The prosperity of a few cannot be sustainable. The three key issues, therefore, to resolve in the corruption fight are; ensuring thorough investigations, enforcing prosecution and getting the courts to dispense immediate justice. The battle against corruption is winnable, we just have to work together to achieve this.
The five-day conference attracting heads of Anti-corruption Agencies in 16 African States under the Commonwealth is being hosted by the IGG, Justice Irene Mulyagonja. The theme of the conference is; Time to Act: Prevent Corruption for Sustainable Development”.
The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Ms Patricia Scotland, said the fight against corruption should be a priority of the member state because the vice is a threat to achieving the Millennium Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“A house cannot be built on a rotten foundation. Eliminating corruption brings multiple benefits. Corruption acts as tax on investment,” Ms Scotland said.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Jacob Oulanyah, said that corruption has persisted because it has been glorified in the society. He expressed fear that almost everyone is involved in corruption hence calling for a mindset change.
“Corruption is all of us. That is why it is so difficult to talk about it. In our society, we glorify and respect the corrupt. When they go to churches they occupy the front sits because they are going to donate a lot of money,” he said.