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Uganda: A Nation Plagued by Corruption

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Clinton Mirrors - write about corruption in Uganda

**Uganda: A Nation Plagued by Corruption**

Uganda is a country that has been struggling with corruption for decades. Corruption in Uganda is characterized by grand-scale theft of public funds and petty corruption involving public officials at all levels of society as well as widespread political patronage systems[^1^][1]. Elite corruption in Uganda is through a patronage system which has been exacerbated by foreign aid. Aid has been providing the government with large amounts of resources that contribute to the corrupt practices going on within the country[^2^][2]. The style of corruption that is used is to gain loyalty and support so that officials can remain in power[^2^][2].

A recent study by the Government Transparency Institute (GTI) revealed how much Uganda loses to corruption each year. The study found that yearly, Uganda loses at least Shs9.144 trillion to corruption in private and public institutions. In total 23% of the country’s annual budget is lost to corruption[^3^][3]. This money could have been used to improve the living standards of the citizens, provide quality education and health care, and invest in infrastructure and development projects. Instead, it ends up in the pockets of the corrupt elites who use it to maintain their lavish lifestyles and political influence.

Some of the direct costs of corruption measured by the study include salaries paid despite absenteeism, which is estimated at Shs2.3 trillion per year. Illegitimate contract awards (Shs858 billion), bribes to judicial officers (Shs762 billion), corruption in procurement processes (Shs614 billion), healthcare corruption (Shs191 billion), bribery in water and electricity utilities, as well as the corruption costs of unpaid utility fees (Shs478 billion), and cost of bribing security personnel (Shs91 billion)[^3^][3]. These costs affect the delivery of public services and the quality of governance in the country.

Some of the indirect costs of corruption measured by the study include corruption in foreign direct investments net inflow (Shs18.5 billion), limited labor force supply in labor force participation rate (Shs320.5 billion), bribing judicial officers as well as high-interest rates that stop small and medium enterprises from submitting loan applications (Shs763 billion). Loss due to firms’ misreporting and underreporting of value-added tax (Shs136 billion)[^3^][3]. These costs affect the economic growth and development potential of the country.

Corruption in Uganda is not a new phenomenon. It has been a feature of Ugandan politics since the colonial era. Some of the past regimes, such as Idi Amin’s dictatorship, were notorious for their brutality and corruption. Amin took over most businesses that were run by a different race and gave them to his cronies. Many businesses began to shut down because of the lack of experience and knowledge the cronies had at running those businesses[^4^][4]. Amin also looted the country’s resources and left behind a legacy of violence and poverty.

The current regime of President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, has also been accused of rampant corruption and human rights violations. Museveni has been using his position to enrich himself and his family, as well as his loyal supporters. He has also been manipulating the constitution and the electoral system to extend his rule and suppress any opposition. He has been cracking down on civil society, media, and activists who expose and challenge his corruption and abuse of power.

The people of Uganda deserve better. They deserve a government that is accountable, transparent, and responsive to their needs and aspirations. They deserve a government that respects the rule of law, democracy, and human rights. They deserve a government that works for the common good, not for the personal gain of a few. They deserve a government that fights corruption, not one that fuels it.

We, as political activists, call on the international community to support the people of Uganda in their quest for justice and change. We urge the donors and partners of Uganda to stop turning a blind eye to the corruption and repression that is happening in the country. We demand that they hold the Ugandan government accountable for its actions and use their leverage to pressure it to reform and respect the will of the people. We also appeal to the citizens of Uganda to stand up and speak out against corruption and injustice. We encourage them to join us in our peaceful and non-violent struggle for a better Uganda.

Together, we can end corruption and build a new Uganda that is free, fair, and prosperous

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