No one knows how corruption looks like until it hits them with roads with potholes, hospitals without drugs, ghosts living among humans with the abilities of drawing wages every month from public payrolls. African governments have failed to inculcate systems of accountability to help them to serve their citizens who pay taxes. Many African countries have strong men who don’t want to leave power through peaceful means. Uganda since its independence in 1962 has never handed over power from one president to another peaceful, from one to another they have all been aided by the sound of the gun and oozing bullets. Women and young children have continued to be the victims of this political greed that has always drained a country with lots of potential from its climate to natural resources Uganda seems to be stuck in the narrative of ‘Africa is Rising’.
Africa Union estimates that corruption costs African economies more than US$148 billion each year, or 25 per cent of Africa’s GDP, and increases the cost of goods by up to 20 per cent. Corruption doesn’t only have damage to the interests of the poor; it also has a gender dimension. It widens the gender gap because corrupt payments are in exchange for breaking the rules of fairness in employment and procurement. Corruption worsens gender inequalities because it is often re-distributional from poor (mostly women) to officeholders (mostly men). Corruption has extended from money to dishonesty in employment environments where teachers and doctors are always a no show at their work stations. This does not only rob the taxpayer of time, but even of lots of money in the wages paid to no show public servants.
Corruption erodes the legitimacy of the state and government, trust and confidence in the state institutions evaporate as corruption strengthens clientelism, or offers political protection to organized crime. In Uganda, citizens have lost faith in state institutions like the judiciary that is handed the corrupt by the police and later they are set free because they have so much money to the point of buying their freedom out of the confines of justice through corrupt judges. When leaders corruptly acquire spoils, they lose credibility before the electorate.
But a sane government will shun theft and corrupt tendencies because it is mandated to be accountable to its electorate and it is the reason why they sought power to act on behalf of the entire populous. A sane government will have clean systems that aid state institutions that are conduits in serving all equally no matter where they hail from. Though Uganda has been ranked as of the most corrupt countries in Africa, it is not too late to clean society and its leaders. The vice has taken away so much from the poor, Ugandan corrupt leader’s greed has deprived the entire life’s dream from their young people that are the majority of Uganda’s population. Uganda’s most cardinal threat is the growing number of unskilled young people in a country that creates no new jobs, but also where the old do not retire for the young ones to take over. In a country where young people resort to forming associations of unemployed rather than congregating to share innovative ideas to be the change that they want indeed tells you what corrupt governments can do to faith and hope of those they lead.
A sane government will be accountable, encouraging and ready to serve those who have given them the mandate to change their lives.