Uganda: Govt Tasks Broadcasters to Aid Anti-Graft Crusade

26 November 2021

The Inspector General of Government (IGG), Ms Beti Kamya, has urged broadcasters under their umbrella body the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to amplify the fight against corruption.

Speaking during the NAB annual general meeting in Kampala yesterday, the ombudsman said media entities that fight graft amid threats "deserve respect from all people of goodwill."

She said the legal and administrative framework in the country is intended to rid Uganda of corruption.

"Corruption is growing to almost pandemic proportions. It is a monster, an aggressive cancer, and if we don't fight and defeat it, it is going to kill Uganda," she said.

She added that since time immemorial, the Inspectorate of Government's activities have revolved around receiving complaints, investigation, prosecutions, and wealth recovery.

Global anti-corruption entities such as the World Governance Institute, Africa Governance index, and Transparency International have, however, named Uganda as one of the countries with the highest level of corruption.

Ms Kamya conceded that Uganda has been ranked 151 out of 180 countries on a corruption index because of an inefficient anti-graft strategy.

"The agencies that are in place to fight corruption in my opinion are not the owners of the war. In fact, at best, they could be practitioners and beneficiaries of corruption. Mercenaries, by that, I mean you are paid money to fight a war that is not yours whether you win or lose," she said, adding that her office has commenced private investigations into the wealth and lifestyle of at least 200 public officials.

She further revealed that this was precipitated by a recent survey conducted by her office. The survey indicated that Uganda is estimated to lose about Shs10 trillion annually to corruption.

On their part, broadcasters used the meeting to urge the government -- through the Minister for ICT and National Guidance -- to set aside at least two to five percent of government agency budgets for sensitisation and awareness programmes.

The newly re-elected NAB chairperson, Mr Kin Karisa, said they are willing to engage relevant government agencies and urged the ICT minister Chris Baryomunsi to ensure government budgets for what he called "developmental journalism".

Media role

The media has an important role in the fight against corruption as it can demand accountability and transparency from the public and private sectors. A case in point are the recent Pandora Papers. The papers are a release of more than 12 million leaked documents that reveal the hidden and sometimes unethical or corrupt dealings of the global wealthy and elite--including prominent world leaders, politicians, celebrities, and billionaires.

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