Tuesday, October 30, 2018

UGANDA: Integrity is a rare occurrence in the country

Integrity is a one luxury that is rare to come across in our country, Uganda. In fact, most people who hold onto their gun and uphold integrity are in many cases regarded to be conservative, backward and yes, wisekers. From a village Local Council committee to the Cabinet, we see leaders who mismanage the development fund but also members of cabinet who lie about their take on issues of national importance. From a nigina group to a prominent religious organisation, we see a person who defaults their installment to a buddy in the village and TASO funds misappropriated by the church of Uganda and yes, we see faking of miracles to attract “customers” to churches.

If you have been in Uganda and dealt with many Ugandans, you may think that they suckled corruption from their mother’s breast or got that transplant immediately after birth. The level at which integrity has been discarded has been worrisome. A person forms a corrupt commission to probe corruption in an entity and we still expect results. Even the people that we see to be so vocal against corruption, some of them do so because they are not the ones in the same position.

It is very common to find someone actively agitating against graft and calling for accountability just because the other ones stole ate alone. It has ceased to be fraud unless I was not included in a deal. People struggle to bring down their corrupt leaders so that they can replace them, not to right the wrong but to also “eat” like the previous ones. They have mastered the alleged African? Proverb that, “One does not talk while eating”

For example some of the musicians that we see ridicule and abuse Bebe Cool and Catherine Kasasiro do so, not because what the two are doing is wrong but rather because they are “eating alone”. I swear that if Museveni went to any opposition party general meeting and said he is drawing his cabinet and wished to have 3 people from the opposition, you will see people fight over those posts, not because they will get there and be of importance to others but because they also want to eat.

If you're to examine, this habit of lack of integrity grows in one as they also grow. In your childhood, you start with stealing from the left overs, when your brother gets you in the act, you break a piece and share, he won’t report; but if you go on and eat alone, he reports to mummy; that is how a family breeds two corrupt brats. You go to a well to fetch water and finding there weak colleagues, you jump the qeue and get the water very fast, your mother praises you for being a “sharp kid” and the father smiles over it. I have seen young people exalt promiscuity and use it to gauge someone’s manliness but in the same spirit think that it is wrong for government to lie about Hon Kyagulanyi not being beaten.

I have also seen a group of youth gang up against their leaders for mismanaging their association and in their complaint is; he eats alone.

People everywhere in Uganda are struggling not to rid the nation of thuggery and corruption but rather be part of the loot. NRM has made us live like we are all in the last days of our lives, everyone struggling to accumulate a lot of wealth not in the rightful manner but get a lot of it. That is why I pity people with aspirations to lead this nation. If there is anything NRM has succeeded in, it is to turn the whole nation into a gang of thugs so that in the end the fight is not about corruption but to rather replace the corrupt old folks with younger ones. Do you remember one of the ghetto youths who when asked about the money that was given to them by the president? The boy said. “I am happy mzee has returned part of our money but we can’t relent the fight against him; we also want to get to the source of that money so that we can also be the ones distributing”

This is a cross-generational challenge that we are to be faced with when this group of thugs is ousted only to be replaced by another. The only ray of hope however is the rate at which globalisation is spreading instruments of transparency to the world and the increased scrutiny of public figures as well as checks on global movement of money. We expect that this will somehow shine a torch on those who steal and those who wish to steal. It even impends the fact that at one time public officials will steal money and have nowhere to keep it to the extent that they stop stealing!



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