Transparency International’s Uganda chapter recently organised a national event to mark its 25th anniversary and to highlight the impact of corruption on the lives of ordinary citizens. These events included a National Anti-Corruption Dialogue, which attracted over 200 participants from Civil Society, government, religious leaders, academia, and media. Guests included the President of the Republic of Uganda.
During the Dialogue, TI-Uganda recognized the work of over 70 stakeholders and partners for their contribution towards the fight against corruption. Those recognized came from a wide range of Ugandan society and institutions. Amongst those recognized was the President of Uganda. This has erroneously been interpreted as an award presentation, and TI-Uganda wishes to clarify that no awards were given.
TI would like to make clear that this recognition was given by TI-Uganda to reflect the President’s role in establishing the office of the Inspectorate of Government and national anti-corruption legal and institutional frameworks. It was not an integrity award made to the President himself. Equally, it should not be confused with TI’s global integrity awards, made to individuals or organisations for their role in exposing and prosecuting corruption, often at great personal risk.
We acknowledge that recognising the President in this way has sent an unintentional message to the public and the international community, and state categorically that in no way was it intended to condone the anti-corruption track record of the Ugandan Government or the President. TI regrets any insult this may have caused to anti-corruption activists in both Uganda and the wider international community.
While the Ugandan government has stated that corruption is one of the main challenges facing the country, there are serious questions about the government’s political will to address it. Despite reforms, laws and new institutions to fight corruption, as well as investigations and corruption trials, an effective enforcement of the laws is still lacking.
TI’s own research has highlighted that corruption in Uganda* is widespread and seen as one of the greatest obstacles to the country’s economic development as well as to the provision of quality public services. Corruption-related challenges in the country stem from a weak separation between the public and private spheres, leading to extensive clientelistic practices and patronage, as well as widespread political corruption.
TI continues to call upon the Government of Uganda to fulfil its anti-corruption commitments and its obligations to Ugandan citizens.
*In TI’s Global Corruption Barometer: Africa Survey 2015, 69% of Ugandans believed the government was doing badly on corruption, and 38% of public service users had paid a bribe in the previous 12 months. Uganda ranked 151 out of 183 countries in TI’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index.
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