Cabinet ministers aren't subdued but are rather upbeat and energised on the fight against corruption after one of their own was arrested for allegedly soliciting a bribe claims state minister planning David Bahati.
About two weeks ago, the state minister for labour, Herbert Kabafunzaki, was arrested at Serena hotel in Kampala for allegedly soliciting a Shs 10 million bribe from Muhammed Hamid, the proprietor of Aya Group to 'kill' a sexual harassment case against the latter.
The minister, also MP for Rukiga county in Kabale district, was detained at Nalufenya police station in Jinja, but has since been bailed after being charged in the Anti-corruption court.
Minister Kabafunzaki denies the charges and claims he was "set-up" by his political detractors. The incident drew national outrage and mockery, with none other than President Yoweri Museveni himself saying this is the beginning in the fight against corruption. The president went ahead to suspend the embattled minister from cabinet.
Speaking at the launch of a client's charter for Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority in Kampala, Bahati said he and fellow ministers condemn, in the strongest terms possible, anyone involved in corrupt practices.
"The mood in cabinet is the same, it is a mood that doesn't tolerate corruption. It is a mood of zero tolerance towards corruption...We want to ask all Ugandans to be on the watch out - both those who are offering bribes and those who are taking bribes should resist from this practice because it is not good. For a country it is not good and for us as individuals", he said.
Bahati says claims by some people that corruption oils the wheels of bureaucracy is a fallacy because public institutions and officials have the duty to provide services free of any inducements.
Bahati urged the public to be vigilant and warned those involved in corruption to watch out. Later when asked how the mood is in cabinet after one of their own was implicated in corrupt practices, Bahati said the ministers are upbeat.
The World Bank estimates that Uganda loses about Shs 500 billion to corruption annually, although this is based on old data, meaning the figure could be much higher.