On 16th March 2023, while addressing the parliament, president Museveni vowed to punish bureaucrats who “mess up” Parish Development Model (PDM) and Emyooga – two government poverty alleviation programmes. The President said that while touring the region in February, aggrieved individuals seeking to benefit from the PDM protested about public servants who secretly form PDM leadership to defraud intending beneficiaries.
He warned that all those involved will be arrested. He cited corruption as a key vice frustrating the PDM implementation. He said “If they tamper with the money, they will pay dearly for it. They will be an example for the rest of the potential culprits,” he said.
However, on several media platforms, the discussion started after the address, some people misconstruing the importance of the address and terming it ‘’ empty talk’’. Some even insinuated that President addressed the parliament because of recent it has become another fertile ground for corruption to flourish. We can all understand and appreciate their cynicism but I think this is the time when all Ugandans from all walks of life, should support President for corruption free Uganda.
After the address, the head of the office of the National Chairman, Ms Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo summoned all ONC Coordinators for a briefing where she underscored the need for strict monitoring of Government programmes and reporting any trace of corruption in the implementation of Government programmes especially Emyoga and PDM.
As ONC coordinators are mandated to monitor government programs, we need to support them by giving them all necessary information regarding the implementation of government programmes. Corruption takes birth in a society when its citizens fail to believe that the nation is a common property of all its citizens and the generation yet to come. Every situation, where we leave truth, we are giving birth to corruption, no matter how simple or how complicated the matter is.
Corruption is one of the greatest evils that shakes the backbone of any society. ONC Coordinators must do a great deal in this matter of fighting corruption if they are supported by all stakeholders. There are two main approaches to fighting corruption: the top-down approach and the bottom-up approach. The top-down approach has to do with developing and naturalizing new rules, institutions, and norms that target the “public administrative graft.” The primary weakness of this approach, however, is that the very institutions accused of corruption are responsible for enacting and enforcing laws against corruption. It is public knowledge that, some Members of Parliament bribed themselves into parliament, judiciary and Uganda Police have been reported as the most corrupt institutions. Therefore, those benefiting from corruption are much less likely to end it than those suffering from it. That is why we must emphasize the importance of the bottom-up, or grassroots, approach, which requires the mobilization of ordinary citizens. This can only be done by ONC Coordinators. They must use all means to sensitize people about their rights and responsibilities in policy implementation.
In Uganda Many people express feelings of hopelessness, especially since many Anti-corruption agencies and NGOs that are supposed to be fighting against corruption suffer from internal corruption themselves. These feelings of scepticism and helplessness are the anti-corruption movement’s greatest obstacles. However, ONC Coordinators must take a stand. The more they speak up, the more likely it is that change will occur. We cannot and should not wait for President Museveni to come and fight corruption alone. ONC Coordinators must raise their voices and the resultant roars must frighten the evil forces of corruption. The ONC Coordinators must recognize corruption as a weed to be destroyed from our midst and show themselves as determined to fight it and not be passive.
Arthur Nuwagaba Mirama
The writer is Bazzukulu Affairs Officer
Office of the NRM National Chairman ONC- Kyambogo