As I continue to grapple with the faces and effects of corruption in Uganda, allow me to re-focus the debate. The number of people affected is so huge and indeed the daily numbers of facilities being eroded because of corruption is big. The number of deaths recorded daily is bigger than those lost in some of the worst wars and disasters of the world.
At a glance or face value, one may think that lack of water / access to clean water or a poor health facility, a collapsing toilet at a school, poor agricultural services, or even potholes on the road are not so bad compared to for example riots.
However, I have seen children and women drinking water that cannot be bathed or even put near the politicians who are “sacrificing”. I have watched children on the back of their mothers lining up in the health centre with horrid sanitary condition without any hope for drugs. I have also witnessed children studying under mango trees and using dust as their exercise books.... ad nauseam; To this extent therefore, since lack of items like medicine, water and scholastic environment is not because of failure to invest; then those responsible should face judicial process like perpetuators of mass killings.
Health still in shatters
I compiled reported cases of malaria from the ministry of health and other curable diseases. It was hard for me to believe that in spite of all the efforts put by all stakeholders in health-the situation is worse than even pre-1986. Some efforts like increase in branding of drugs have only helped the only to identify that one is purchasing ‘free service’ , no positive change has had a grip on this sector.
It is true that grand corruption like the historical cases of global fund, junk helicopters, CNN deals and NSSF’s various frauds, Nasasira’s Ministry of works’ disasters (He can better manage ministry of disaster) have definitely had a negative impact on the economy and the over all business climate in our nation.
That notwithstanding, three examples that I have experienced just recently have modified my perception of grand corruption as compared to petty corruption. In Oli Division of Arua, I witnessed young mothers and kids making holes in the ground in order to extract a cup of dirty water for drinking. In Paliisa, where a shallow well was constructed instead of a bore hole, I saw human beings sharing had with a pig in the same water point. In Manafwa district, I have saw about 50 physically disabled persons share one three-wheeled bicycle to move and fetch water for a distance of about 3 km.
The effects of corruption are direct and severe.
While scandals like the ones of the Global Fund and NSSF affect mainly the elites who are able to use other means (including corruption itself) to obtain goods and services from private sector or even outside the country, we also need to note that Nasasira’s pot holes affect people with pot bellies, junk purchases affect the effectiveness of our security personnel (in only war situations);Global fund affected those who knew where to get drugs from (forgive me but I’m yet to see villagers gaining from an item like ARV’S without traveling to retrieval centre at a cost), privatization processes (then for social services like the mismanaged passenger railway system ) affected the profit making politicians who would appoint their cronies on Boards and one can site more.
But, a classroom block that collapses o lack of furniture and toilet facilities affects the enrolment of children; stolen drugs lead to death of a innocent persons who cannot access the private facilities or are incapacitated; drinking dirty water leads to unnecessary diseases and stolen NAADS funds facilitate production of poor quality products leading to malnutrition etc.
This therefore implies that corruption in the social sector should be treated like genocide and therefore a crime against humanity – from statistics, the difference cannot be in the number of deaths but rather the method of killing. We seem to accept that indirect mortalities through failure to deliver services is not as bad as shooting civilians on the street!
To this end let us try the corrupt like homicide or genocide suspects as well as like those who are 'sacrificing children' or albinos in Tanzania for riches because as earlier stated it is only the ‘sorrowful’ methods that separate the two but the numbers seem to be higher in the social sectors than in such henious.
Famous Corruption Quotes
The accomplice to the crime of Corruption is frequently our own indifference.
The first sign of Corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means. Georges Bernanos 1888-1948, French Novelist, Political Writer
Corruption and hypocrisy ought to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today”