By Moses Mugalu (Weekly observer)
Security Minister, Amama Mbabazi, has been named and shamed in a new survey as one of the most corrupt ministers. He's singled out for his role in the controversial sale of his Temangalo land to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
According to a new 'Book of Fame and Shame,' published by the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), President Museveni is also named for largely failing to punish his corrupt senior ministers.
The book, based on public perceptions, was launched on Tuesday at Sheraton Kampala Hotel. ACCU officials explained that views were taken randomly from 1,772 respondents drawn from all regions of the country.
The list includes individuals who, according to respondents, are corrupt themselves or have acted in a manner that promotes corruption.
Mbabazi is top on the shame list with a 30% score after 154 respondents said he committed acts of shame in the controversial sale of his Temangalo land to NSSF last year. Although Mbabazi was later cleared of any wrongdoing by Cabinet, a parliamentary report accused him and the then Minister of Finance, Ezra Suruma, of pressurising NSSF managers into buying his land.
Respondents faulted the President, who scored 21%, on escalating levels of corruption and impunity as seen in the Temangalo land sale, Global Fund and the mismanagement of CHOGM cash.
The respondents felt the President is reluctant to deal with his ministers who are perceived to be corrupt, especially after he shielded Mbabazi from possible censure, and reinstated former Ministers Jim Muhwezi and Sam Kutesa who had been censured by Parliament over alleged abuse of office. Muhwezi, Kahinda Otafiire, Mike Mukula and John Nasasira are the other NRM and government senior officials on the shamed list.
However, 8% of the respondents credited the President for his relentless fight against corruption. The President's frequent public warnings to corrupt officials stood out as the main reason for his inclusion in the 'famed' list as well.
Janet Museveni, the President's wife who is also Minister of State for Karamoja, is on the famed list for calling for punitive action against Mbabazi over his role in the Temangalo saga.
Former IGG, Justice Faith Mwondha, tops the famed list with 23% of the respondents approving of her nonsense fight against corrupt public servants.
According to the respondents, Mwondha's zeal and passion as Ombudsman made her the most feared graft fighter. Norbert Mao, Gulu LC-V Chairman, comes second to Mwondha, with 11% of the respondents saluting his zero tolerance for corruption. Mao famously raised the red flag against substandard inputs that the government had supplied internally displaced persons in Northern Uganda.
Others who are credited for their efforts in the fight against corruption include: the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Ogenga Latigo, Justice James Ogoola, Police Chief, Kale Kayihura, Prime Minister, Apolo Nsibambi, and ministers; Namirembe Bitamazire, Musa Ecweru, Nsaba Buturo. Others included URA Commissioner General, Allen Kagina and MPs Jimmy Akena, Elias Lukwago and Odonga Otto.
Rukahana Rugunda, Uganda's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Conservative Party leader, Ken Lukyamuzi, are also on the list.
Jasper Tumuhimbise, ACCU national coordinator, said the book will become an annual publication administered at national and regional levels to gauge whom the public perceives as their heroes and villains.
"This book is the voice of the public as well as the verdict of the public on those who hold public office," Tumuhimbise said.
Ethics and Integrity Minister, James Nsaba Buturo, who presided over the launch, applauded the organisation's campaign against corruption. But he called on the public to "stop pointing the finger at government because we all need to get involved to rid our society of corruption."
During the same function, the Principal Judge, James Ogoola, was awarded "Anti-corruption Activist of the Year 2009" in the maiden National Integrity Awards, in recognition his stand against corruption. To produce the book, ACCU was supported by the regional anticorruption coalitions, Uganda Law Society, and the Anti Corruption Country Threshold Programme (ACT).