The lack of patriotism within and amongst local government workers has promoted high corruption, hindering the country’s development and social service delivery.
Districts and Municipal councils are responsible for the provision of Primary and secondary education, safe water supplies, and public health and are encouraged to devolve some services to the lower tiers. Local economic development (LED) is also a responsibility of the districts and lower tiers of Government.
The local person can only be affected when the above services are not met and it’s the local government workers who are directly responsible for the monitoring and implementation of those services even before higher authorities comes in.
It has been observed that Districts and Municipalities are the focal points of the two common forms of Corruption affecting service delivery and development in our areas: Graft Corruption and Prebendalism Corruption.
Graft is a form of corruption that refers to bribery, illicit kickbacks, embezzlement, and theft of public funds. A graft involves something of value given to, and accepted by, public officials for dishonest or illegal purposes. It includes officials spending fraudulently or using public funds for their benefit. This has been observed in that some district officials reach the extent of using the government’s money for their businesses and when the financial ends, they return a certain sum of what was received to the treasury claiming to have not allocated the funds but when in actual sense it was used at a personal level to gain profits, others completely take it and forge accountability. Sometimes this is done in connivance with officials in the ministries and some kickbacks are transacted between parties.
Illicit kickbacks are almost done in every Department of service delivery from districts back to the ministries, nonfactual reports are always made in a smart way leaving no evidence for whistleblowers who normally alert the Anti-corruption Unit.
Prebendalism refers to when incumbents of public office get privileges and perquisites through that office. Controlling an office entitles the holder to rents or payments for real or fake activities, and organizations are turned from places of work into “resource banks” where individuals and groups pursue their interests.
Prebendal corruption doesn’t necessarily need to be about monetary gain but may include usurpation of official privilege, backdoor deals, clientelism, cronyism, and nepotism.
With all corruption reporting means put in place by the office of the President, only 03.5% of the local government workers can report such dirty deals and corrupt behaviors yet they are the ones with evidence of fake reports and records made. But being that they are victims, it becomes hard for them to say it out.
This has sometimes given President Museveni a hard time to effectively implement pillar No.7 of the NRM/NRA 10-point program which addresses the elimination of corruption and misuse of offices. Just because the thieves have always kept themselves smart in records which are only realized in offices but not on the ground and very few patriotic Ugandans have access to their records to relate them with what is meant to be on the groundwork.
We all remember that in the year 2021/22 when the former State Minister for Economic Monitoring Hon. Peter Ogwang Ogwal sampled the status of service delivery in some districts, many of them had started running from border to border due to the dirty businesses done in their offices.
Corruption and theft are not attributed to the NRM government or any political party but instead, to individuals with weird behaviors because even during the recruitment process of these officials, a political party has never been a factor to consider.
“Today you are eating corruption, tomorrow corruption will eat you, your children, and your grandchildren”. It is everyone’s role to fight corruption in his/her area to foster good service delivery and development.
By: Masuumi Juma
Media Analyst at Office of the National Chairman-Kyambogo