Friday, May 15, 2009

Corruption-Uganda's perspective -Part 4

Poverty or political will ?

A newspaper editorial way back titled “Poverty is the root cause of all evil; (The New Vision December 4) attracted my attention. This is because it makes a proposition that we should have a paradigm shift on what we perceive as the root causes of evil — poverty and not corruption. The article began by rightly asserting that: “With less corruption the cost of doing business can fall, roads can be built and maintained and public service can be more efficient.” But it meanders when it goes to the causative factors of corruption by first of all proposing that the public perceives grand theft as the only form of corruption! No, to the contrary reading from the Inspectorate Of Government’s National Integrity Survey (2008); it is petty theft that is more hurting to the public through bribery and extortion; failure to pay pension, selective recruitment, forged land titles. In fact if your editorial was to be taken seriously, then the ranking could have changed to have CHOGM fraudsters, NSSF (although the Temangalo saga came after), Global fund, GAVI, Defence helicopters saga as the most corrupt. Secondly, the various forms of corruption are facilitated by kleptocracy and greed rather than your assumption that it is fuelled by necessity! This is a fallacy more like stating that rape and defilement are caused by lack or denial of sexual activity or that hunger causes men to steal food! If that was the case then the amount of robbery in the rural areas would be appalling — but in our case the thieves are within the high echelon of society and like moles, they are hoarding riches they actually do not need! Thirdly, to state that "Poverty forces people to take bribes out of necessity, is not only a contradiction (the postulation is that corruption will never be eradicated since poverty will remain) but also a fallacy because bribes are not taken by poor people only and out of necessity. In fact it is the other way round — poverty is caused by corruption. Otherwise poorer countries would be more corrupt. So to tackle corruption we begin with the will to punish those involved whether they are ‘historicals’, ‘geographicals’ or in-laws.

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