President Museveni will later today Monday address the nation on corruption which remains a big thorn in his rule since 1986.
Possibly conceding that government through IGG, Anti-Corruption Court, PPDA, Directorate of Ethics, Auditor General and other institutions have failed to solve the corruption problem, Museveni personally admitted on Tuesday that the vice is widespread and promised to make new pronouncements today on the way forward.
“On December 10, I will announce a new measure in our renewed fight against corruption. That said, there is corruption in Uganda,” said Museveni.
“Corruption will now be defeated. The corrupt civil servants have exposed themselves. The population is angry with them,” added Museveni.
He said government now has “more educated young people,” adding, “The pool from which to pick the replacements for the corrupt civil servants has grown.”
The effects of widespread institutionalized corruption continue to be felt across the country as many wallow in poverty and also bear the burden of poor public service delivery in terms of health, transport infrastructure and access to markets.
But how big is the corruption problem?
Research conducted by Sauti za Wananchi on governance, information and citizen engagement conducted between August – September 2017 show eight out of ten citizens say the government is doing a bad job at controlling inflation, creating jobs and fighting corruption.
The data unearth areas where norms and expectations among citizens need to change.
A substantial number of citizens think paying a bribe can be acceptable which does not bode well for efforts by government or others to address corruption.
A clear majority of Ugandans (81 percent) feel the government is not doing a good job of keeping the price of essential goods down.
Similar numbers feel the government is not doing well at creating jobs (78 percent) and fighting corruption (79 percent).
Citizens are divided on paying tax, but oppose corruption
Citizens are evenly split on whether avoiding tax is “understandable” when services are not provided or paying tax is a civic duty (51 percent-49 percent).
However, two in three (67 percent) say bribing public officials or service providers is not acceptable, even if that is the only way to get a service. One in three (33 percent) choose the alternative: that bribing public officials can be acceptable in some cases.
Half of the population say the last time they had contact with the police they paid a bribe
A majority (60 percent) of those who had contact with the police in the last year, say a bribe was either directly requested (47 percent) or expected (13 percent) in order to get assistance or speed up services. Half (50 percent) say they paid a bribe.
The research also showed citizens experience fewer requests or expectations of bribes when interacting with other service providers.
Compared to how often they are asked for or expected to pay bribes, citizens are least likely to pay bribes to water suppliers and political parties and most like to pay the LC I.
Citizens don’t think individual citizens can influence government decisions, but believe in collective action
Six in ten citizens (62 percent) say that because government is run by a few powerful people there is not much that an ordinary citizen can do to influence government, preferring this over the statement that the average citizen can have an influence on government decisions.
Similarly, two in three (65 percent) say that because government is a complex bureaucracy, there is not much single individuals can achieve, preferring this over the statement that individuals who speak up can have a real influence on government plans.
However, citizens are more positive about the potential for collective action. Six in ten (61 percent) say people can improve the country’s economy through responsible action, and a similar number (57 percent) say that with sufficient effort, political corruption can be eliminated.