We stumbled upon a curious discussion by DELTA FM Radio broadcasting on 97.0 in their ‘Okwenyu Kede Delta (Wake up with Delta) morning programme on 8th August 2016. The hosts, Okia Bruno and Joshua Imalingat Mabior were engaging listeners and their online community on the report that; “During the Cabinet Retreat in Kyankwanzi on Sunday, President Museveni tasked Security Minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde to take the lead in fighting corruption. The report The ministers, permanent secretaries and members of the NRM central executive committee unanimously endorsed the President’s proposal on account that the Inspector General of Government lacks the capacity to fight corruption because the office is understaffed and under-facilitated’. That if true is a very unconstitutional action that should not pass unchallenged! “Their diagnosis was correct but their drug prescription was flawed” continues the DELTA report and a majority of the comments on the facebook post (<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdeltaradio.soccom%2Fposts%2F160886621008852&width=500" width="500" height="278" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>) pointed accusing fingers elsewhere as the cause of galloping corruption in Uganda.
For quite some time and even recently; the IGG Justice Irene Mulyagonja has lamented about the disempowerment of the Inspectorate of Government, a constitutional institution, in the proper discharge of its mandate. Much as this might be interpreted to be a routine lament or even a case of a poor-work-man-blaming-their-tools; TAC notes that a lot of the challenges crippling the Inspectorate can be fixed by the relevant administrative, policy and financial interventions. The retreat instead of arrogating themselves power to overshadow a constitutional institution should rather have targeted their well intentioned conversations to more constructive means of ensuring that the IGG delivers her mandate.
Indeed many people will argue that pragmatism should lead in the resolution of this fight against corruption conundrum Uganda finds itself in and that this retreat resolution is sign of the much demanded ‘political will’. On that we also respectfully note that corruption is a governance issue and should be dealt with from the perspective of a quest to improve good governance. Good governance by itself is indicated by the strength of formal institutions and a fierce determination to play by the rules even when s short cut could seem attractive. In that regard; TAC therefore calls for the upholding of Chapter 13 of the Constitution in regard to the Inspectorate of Government. Regional offices need additional staff to clear the backlog and improve on the Inspectorate’s response speed. ‘Political Will’ needs to be demonstrated not in assigning a politician to lead the struggle (that could easily be diverted to political score setting) but in politicians supporting the constitutionally mandated institution to discharge its functions.
So let Lt. Gen Henry Tumukunde focus on the real security issues (killings, refugee upsurge, violent land conflicts etc) so that corruption which has taken on criminal and civil law aspects in our legal regime is left to technical persons who will be able to secure for us untainted convictions. Let not the retreat assume that this is as simple as reassigning a lead agency. If that was their intention; then their work is still undone.