The National Resistance Movement government has made tremendous achievements over the years in terms of security and the overall development of the country. Every Ugandan accept the fact that the current government has surely done something visible at least in every part of the country. Even those who have been opposing the government are usually defeated by facts of visibility of development in the areas where they stay. It ironic that in Uganda today, someone uses a tarmac road to drive to the radio station but when he reaches on the microphone he will say that the NRM government has done completely nothing. Yet even the radio the person uses to express himself is an achievement of the current government because the number of the radios have increased from one State owned radio UBC to over two hundred radio stations in the country and more are still being opened. The people who deny or disagree that the NRM government has done nothing can only convince the people who are not informed and those who are gullible. We would actually be far as a country if it wasn’t the Covid 19 pandemic that affected almost every sector of the economy.
However all our efforts of developing the country to where we would want to be are being frustrated by too much cases of corruption which increase everyday and we seem to be doing nothing about it. Corruption is not only in ministries but also in Local government and lower local governments. The most current scandal which has shocked the country is the ironsheets scandal in the Prime Minister’s office. We are left wondering how the ironsheets which were supposed to go to the vulnerable groups ended up in the hands of the people who are actually doing well in terms of income. I have also seen some explanations saying that the ironsheets went to the churches and schools, one wonders how Churches and schools ended up becoming vulnerable groups which should be assisted by government. As far as I know most churches are actually doing well than most income generating associations because Churches have assets like land and commercial buildings which they can use to generate income and facilitate church activities including buying iron sheets for themselves in case they want to build.
For the few years, I have served in the local government, I have found out that most projects that are funded by the central government actually have more problems of accountability and failure to show value for money than those of the local governments. In some instances, the contractors runway and leave projected half – done. The Districts usually have nothing much to do about those projects since all the processes are done at the center and they only come to the district for implementation and supervision. It appears and it factual that these days the money which is meant for service delivery to the most local person ends up in the pockets of the few individuals and that means that the money to bring those services to the people it’s intended to will no longer be available hence crippling service delivery. Buildings which cost billions of money start developing cracks even before they’re commissioned and before they’re given out to the public for use. This also means that the infrastructure that we get loans for and spend billions of money to set up cannot even last for ten years because of shoddy work.
The work of fighting corruption in the districts has been left to the RDCs. They’re the ones to ensure that service reach to the public and also struggle with the greedy district officials whose interests are usually different from what the government targets. The RDC’s are also at the mercy of God because they do not have what it takes to solely defeat the bad vice of corruption that is almost eating up every sector of the government. Its also evident that Some RDC’s are easily compromised because of being poor and wanting to be at the same level with the civil servants who have made abnormal riches. The only tool that the RDCs use to deal with corruption is the police of which the police also has its own challenges. These cases would be taken to courts of law for hearing and punishing those who are found guilty of stealing public funds but the courts themselves are also corrupt. The public has actually lost hope in the judiciary a reason as to why there’s alot of case of mob justice in all parts of the country. It actually becomes more shocking when you get reports that even the agencies which are supposed to be fighting corruption are also compromised and use their positions to negotiate with the criminals so that they can be set free, meaning a price is set, paid and the case is killed.
The ironsheets scandal in the Prime Minister’s office is a set back to our efforts of fighting corruption as a country because it involves senior officials in the government who are supposed to be examples to the rest of the public. How then will the juniors still respect public assets if we can get stories that the ironsheets which were supposed to serve a purpose were diverted by someone in authority and someone who actually understands the meaning vulnerability. How shall we manage to impart discipline in the civil servants and government workers of the lower rank if we such kind of stories can be reported about the people we hold in high esteem. How shall we save government drugs from being sold for money instead of being used to treat Ugandans who can’t manage going to private clinics? How shall we stop the districts from misusing funds which are meant to construct community access roads so that people’s produce can reach markets? Shall we be listened to if we warn government workers against corruption? shall we have the moral authority anyway?
The biggest challenge of the National Resistance Movement as of today is not rebels or any kind of insecurity but rather corruption that has entered in almost every sector of government. People no longer mind about serving the public but rather they put focus on what they can benefit as individuals and maybe their families. It’s incumbent upon us as the government to prove to the entire population that we can fight corruption and put it to an end. We should help Ugandans to get rid of the officials who are at rampage and ready to eat up anything that is meant to help the most vulnerable person who has no hope of assistance other than what the government can offer. The laws are available, the authority is available, what is only lacking is seriousness on the war against corruption. if all the department responsible for fighting corruption would do what they’re supposed to do some people would maybe start fearing and respecting public funds and other services that are meant for public and not individuals.
The writer is a deputy RDC Sheema District.
Do you have a story in your community or an opinion to share with us: Email us at email@example.com