Monday, December 28, 2009

Book of fame and Shame

I will explain the process behind the book of Fame and Shame. It has attrated as many enemies as supporters. For those shamed, I didn't expect compliments from them! And that is why I have been called names: chief idiot, FDC activist; fired from government; known by..... ad nauseam. I will answer in due course allegation by allegation. But I'm delighted that ACCU's book has attracted the debate we all cherish and indeed expected!

I wrote the forward re-produced below for ACCU and its members:

Who is the most perceived corrupt in Uganda?
Welcome to this book of Fame and Shame which you are now holding in your hands. It is an innovative and ground breaking book which we have been working hard and dedicatedly on for a long time.

We hope you will find it thought provoking and that it will bring about a fruitful debate on corruption in Uganda. May this initiate debate in our living rooms and in the media. In fact, we are pretty sure that even before you read this foreword, you have already read through the main pages showing the shamed persons because it is an interesting subject.

The idea for this book is simple: Are you not appalled that some of the most prominent members of our society are also perceived as the most corrupt? Would you not want to know who the public perceives to be corrupt and why? Read this book and you will know! As this book also reveals, there are many candidates to pick from. Reading this book you will see that a large proportion of our society’s most powerful and prominent members, who should be guiding disciples, are in fact corrupt in the eyes of the public. While giving birth to the idea of this book, two things distinctively stood out as important for us: firstly, it was just as important to pinpoint those who try to make a difference either by being honest, moral and incorruptible in their privileged positions or by taking an active battle against corruption and secondly (talk about the villains). By singling out the heroes we hope
to contribute to a culture of honesty and integrity. The implication is that our representatives in high offices should have values.

This book is not a silver bullet to the fight against corruption but provides a form for stimulating debate and will draw as much accolade as will. It will be an annual publication administered at national and regional level to gauge who the public perceive as their heroes and villains. This book is the voice of the public as well as a verdict of the public on those who hold public office.

Corruption is certainly bigger than individuals and must be fought at institutional and Societal level- but individuals also play their part. It is relevant to point out to leading figures that their behavior is not appropriate. One of the most crucial elements of a well functioning democracy is that the public has faith and trust in its leaders. The book of Fame and Shame is an instrument that should make
leaders reflect on whether they are doing enough to earn the trust of the public.
As the book also argues, corruption is something that is deeply ingrained in our society – and quickly eroding the values of our culture. It is important that those who should lead the way assume their responsibility and it is also important that public leaders in our society should lead by example.

Uganda has a comprehensive legal and institutional framework in place to fight corruption and what is missing is the will and strong commitment to enforce and support the above frameworks.

This book is meant to inspire a moral discourse in this crusade against corruption. It is a platform through which the public will morally evaluate acts of corruption rather than gratifying them. It will also recognize those who have contributed in the fight against corruption. We hope it will be a tool for our leaders to reflect on why the public perceives them as portrayed in the book and it is a message
that the public is watching.

We wish to acknowledge and thank the efforts of ACCU staff, Board of Directors, Fame and Shame Technical Committee, Legal advisors, Regional Anticorruption Coalitions, Uganda Law Society, Panel of experts and the Anti Corruption Country Threshold Programme (ACT/USAID) who provided the resources to realize this dream.
Finally, there are several recommendations that have been suggested to inform future editions.

The perceptions carried in this book may be drawn from a single event and / or a series of events. The book is not a totality of the best and worst but a sample of the opinion of ordinary Ugandans.

Jasper Tumuhimbise
National Coordinator, ACCU

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