President Yoweri Museveni has said during his first years of administration, he made mistakes in his efforts to eliminate corruption in the country, but insisted he can still fix the problem.
The president on Tuesday admitted before anti-corruption stakeholders in Kampala, that he miscalculated, when he chose to introduce and put a lot of trust in elected leaders at the local government level, believing that they wouldn’t tolerate corruption.
His introduction of the elected leaders in the early 1990s, Museveni said, created more confusion, and did not bear the intended results.
“There was already a structure of government: the Gombolola chief, the Saza chief, and the District Commissioner (DC),” he said.
“My miscalculation was to think that the civil servants were corrupt because they were unelected. I thought an elected person would fight this corruption. I am the one who caused this confusion.”
The president added, “My calculation was that elected leaders wouldn’t allow corruption because they are from the people. I thought they would be the voice of the people and would stand with them against civil servants.”
President Museveni noted that at the time he took over office, corruption was deeply rooted in every corner of government.
The corruption, he said, had been around since the colonial times.
My father was corrupt too
Museveni astonished members of the audience at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, when he accused his own late father, Mzee Amos Kaguta of being corrupt.
“My father was a cattle keeper,” he said. “He was a villager. But the man had syringe for injecting cows.”
“He was not a veterinary doctor but people brought him cows to inject them. You cannot believe this, but Mr. Kaguta had all kinds of veterinary drugs which he got from Government departments. He even had vet drugs from Rwanda.”
We can fix it
Museveni however, expressed optimism that corruption can still be eliminated from Uganda, if the right laws are put in place.
Unlike in the past when civil servants had public sympathy, he said, today they are hated by most Ugandans and therefore easy to fire.
“We have given enough time the civil servants to expose themselves. I can tell you today the whole population is fed up with these people. The civil servants know they can no longer blackmail us.”
More so, he noted, Uganda has much more qualified people coming out of schools who can replace the corrupt civil servants.
Uganda is still rated among the world’s most corrupt nations on earth by the Transparency International, which this year placed the nation in 151st position out of 180 nations; with a measly score of just 26 points out of 100.