Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Corruption-Uganda where do we go in 2009

New Vision editorial titled ‘Bail is not a right; The New Vision Monday, 8th June, 2009” is not only misleading but also a suggestion that the real predicament in the fight against various vices including corruption is bail. NV stated that “……the real problem, therefore, is apparently not the Constitution, but the judges who have taken a very liberal view on the matter, granting bail casually without due regard to the severity of the offences against the suspects….”. This seems to suggest that irrespective of various roles of other state and non-state actors- the judges take the blame as if the evidence adduced before the bench is good enough to deny a human being on remand bail.

In trying to grapple with corruption and other serious crimes, The President of Uganda (and Vision’s editorial) re-emphasizes the suggestion that that the biggest problem currently facing Uganda's fight is in judiciary and in that respect bail- All state actors must be seen to be fighting corruption. Not through lip service but through zero tolerance even if the political cost is high. To suggest that bail has ‘seriously eroded the image of the judiciary, while undermining the efforts to fight corruption and other serious crimes’ is not only alarmist but a fallacy. How many people for instance have been granted bail by the Judges to help us conclude that bail is the problem? And if that is true; will failure to grant bail for instance increase political will to dismiss suspected fraudsters? I would agree with the President (and NV editorial) if he was not recycling his corrupt Ministers including those that were censured by Parliament. Action should be precise and on time. To retain the corrupt within cabinet is to rear a viper in the back yard with a presumption that one has tamed it.

Of course I agree with the opinion that “Currently, the public believes that the wealthy are virtually above the law and that it is only the “small” fish that are locked up in prisons…” and this is because we have commercialized politics. It is even the small fish that is fired out of their jobs! We no longer serve the common good, service is to insidious individuals. On small fish; it is better to blame the hooks the fishermen are using rather than the chefs! It is nonsensical to blame a chef for a poorly cooked meal when the ingredients provided would never yield anything better!

In one of the incidences, H.E the President himself chaired a caucus meeting that was discussing procurement (turned investment) related fraud case of NSSF and the culprits were ignored; the nation will never know the truth. When is for example bail a problem- In such a case? Bail comes after a legal process and the truth if each responsible authority took action at their level through shunned the corrupt beginning with the President we would have a better nation.We are sliding into anarchy not because of the Judiciary alone- the Executive arm need not supply us with lip service, the Parliament need not just pass laws against corruption (sometimes without serious scrutiny…); Police and other anti crime institutions don’t have to lament that corruption is difficult to investigate…; there is a way; institutions and legislation are to facilitate political will not the other way round- the alternative is to expect a cart to pull a horse.

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