Saturday, May 30, 2009

Corruption-Uganda's perspective -Part 7

Insitutional or personal failure?

The Inspectorate of Government is in arms with Parliament over vetting of IGG; I served the IG for about 7 years and I had resisited to make my comments til Risdel Kusasira asked me that I should comment on the current sad saga, this I did in the interview below;

Making sense of Faith Mwondha
Risdel Kasasira spoke Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda’s Jasper Tumuhimbise and MP Frank Tumwebaze (NRM, Kibaale)

What do you make of the fight between the IGG and Parliament over her reappointment?

Tumwebaze: We shouldn’t take things personal, and rush to blame any party. If she says her institution should be independent, it’s debatable. The question is to what extent? It raises fundamental issues. But what we should remove are the egos from this argument. I see sense in her argument saying “we want to be independent from anyone’s control”. But Parliament and the Attorney General are saying a different thing. May be we need a person to go to the Constitutional Court to seek legal opinion. Yes she may leave but what if the same argument is repeated by another IGG.
Tumuhimbise: It’s really unfortunate because it has gone to another level where many of us didn’t’ expect it to. The corrupt are rejoicing.

This debate has raised questions about Executive appointments and the quality assurance checks of candidates. Is this an opportunity to re-examine these checks and balances?
Tumwebaze: You have seen cases where Parliament has refused appointments on moral and mental grounds. But the vetting is still inadequate. We have not seen appointments being refused on competence grounds. Maybe we need a more vigorous vetting that involves public service.
Tumuhimbise: Sometimes Parliament works under pressure and they have been forced to approve the appointments which had earlier been rejected. Vetting in Parliament has instead become rubber-stumping. Our Parliament is not doing great work.

What do you make of the President Museveni’s handling of this whole saga?
Tumwebaze:. I have not seen the President’s reaction to the IGG. But I have respect for the President because he has always respected Parliament decisions whenever presidential appointments are rejected. You remember they refused Mr Wanjusi Wasieba, and recently, they rejected Ms Margaret Mbeiza. But this sends a message to the President that he sometimes needs more due diligence before making those appointments.
Tumuhimbise: It all begins and ends with him. If indeed you have appointed a person and they are supposed to go to Parliament for approval and they refuse, you rescind the appointment. I think the Chief Executive is fearing to make a decision.

For a long time, Justice Mwondha believed that President Museveni was on her side but he has now abandoned her.
Tumwebaze: This kind of thinking is personalising public work. This can’t be. If it was betrayal, he would not have reappointed her. The fact that he reappointed her shows he has confidence in her.
Tumuhimbise: I wouldn’t call it betrayal. Sometimes politicians make decisions and it is misinterpreted. He is the one who reappointed her. It’s not about the President shifting goal posts. We shouldn’t be seen inciting one against the other.
Where does this rift take the fight against corruption?
Tumwebaze: To me, the disagreement between the Attorney General, Parliament and the IGG tells me that there is need to redefine the best procedure for fighting corruption. However, these disagreements are good because they disprove those who say that there is no political will to fight corruption. When you see this heated debated it shows the Fountain of Honour is allowing different players to do their best.
Tumuhimbise: Like I said in the beginning, the corrupt are rejoicing because they are now asking; where is the mandate of the IGG to fight corruption? My wish to Parliament, Executive and Parliament is they take a decision by the end of next week. We are spending a lot of time talking when billions of shillings are being swindled.
The IGG says those pushing her to seek parliamentary approval is a clique of NRM top figures who want to fail her efforts in fighting corruption.
Tumwebaze: I don’t know why she is saying that because you have the Attorney General who has given his legal opinion. You also have members of the opposition who support the Attorney General.
Tumuhimbise: You can’t bring politics into fighting corruption. The NRM has never had the will to fight corruption. The question should be whether it’s right for anybody appointed by the President to seek parliamentary approval. I don’t subscribe to those who politicise the fight against corruption.

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