Ugandans have been challenged to aggressively hold public servants and local leaders to account for undelivered services if corruption is to be addressed.
This comment was raised by the Director in charge of Corporate Services in the Office of the Auditor General, Paul Maxwell Ogentho during a forum on corruption held at Hotel Africana on Wednesday.
According to Ogentho, the ordinary citizens have taken a back seat in the fight against graft, which he said undermines all the other efforts by government.
He said that despite the annual reports released by Office of the Auditor General on corruption, these are not followed up with action from the tax payers.
“Citizens are the owners of these resources. Public officers are simply working on their behalf. Therefore, the owners of these resources must take up the fight and demand accountability,” Ogentho told journalists on the sidelines of the forum.
“We do our part bringing up corruption related matters in audit reports. From there, the citizens should ask why roads are not constructed to the standards required, why schools are not teaching and what the taxes are doing.”
In his opinion, the reaction of citizens has not been proportional to the magnitude of mismanagement of public resources.
“If you own a business and a worker reports losses, you go an extra mile to take action. This is what should happen even with public services. When an audit report comes out, Ugandans should follow up with Police, IGG… and this will trigger other actions,” he said.
He argued that audit reports on government performance must be considered as being close to issues that affect the ordinary citizen. The absence of this is what has resulted into piles of recommendations that are never implemented, he said.
But the Executive Director of Uganda’s Anti- Corruption Coalition, Cissy Kagaba spoke to the need of addressing the underlying causes that lead to continuous bribery and extortion.
“We know during elections, we talk about vote buying and Ugandans know that it is wrong. But because of poverty, they keep receiving these bribes,” Kagaba commented.
She said; “We need to understand the underlying factors so that then we can find strategies to address them”.
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.