The Parish priest for Kitanga parish in Kabale diocese, Fr Gaetano Batanyenda has expressed skepticism towards the newly launched State House Anti-corruption Monitoring Unit which he says will not achieve its intended purpose given the lack of political will to fight corruption in Uganda.
Fr Gaetano, a strong critic of President Yoweri Museveni said that the failure by man of the other anti-corruption agencies to bring the corrupt to justice is a testament that Museveni is not committed to fighting graft.
The cleric was reacting to the launch of yet another intervention by the NRM towards fighting corruption. On Monday, the President said the new Unit to be headed by Lt Col Edith Nakalema was the “missing link” and that he trusts it will have public trust to receive corruption related complaints unlike other institutions like the IGG’s Office and Police CID.
But according to Fr Gaetano, all these interventions created by the President are nothing short of schemes to create employment for those loyal to him.
“How many institutions do we have in place so far? Ministry for Ethics, Auditor General, IGG, PPDA, ISO and others. In July while addressing the nation, Museveni announced that he had formed a Unit in State House headed by James Tweheyo, to fight corruption,” the cleric said during a news conference.
“Unfortunately we haven’t heard from this Unit neither has it apprehended anyone for corruption. Is the President going to disband it and all the others that have failed, now that there’s a new Unit?,” he asked.
Fr Gaetano also criticized the idea of demonizing civil servants as the only agents of corruption yet corrupt politicians equally engage in graft untouched. He cited the previous cases of the GAVI funds, the Katosi saga and the recent bribery allegations against Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa.
“It is painful that whenever we talk about corruption, we only single out civil servants. Yet we know that politicians are among the most corrupt. Let’s see what will be the fate of Kutesa. Given the magnitude of the allegations, Kutesa should have stepped aside already,” Fr Gaetano said.
In his view, the ineffectiveness of the anti-corruption institutions in stamping out the vice despite the resources they have at their disposal only points to the lack of a will to eliminate corruption.
During the launch of the Anti-corruption Unit on Monday, President Museveni said there is political will to fight graft and went ahead to cite a case last year in which a Minister (Herbert Kabafunzaki) was arrested on allegations of corruption, despite the fact that he was a great political resource for the ruling NRM.
Uganda was ranked 151 out of 176 countries in the latest Transparency International corruption index. In East Africa, Uganda is the most corrupt country after Burundi while Rwanda has the least graft.