By Joseline Byakatonda
The light is dim as Uganda still maintained the 151st position in corruption out of 180 countries; the same position as 2017 according to Transparency International-Berlin. Considering the trend of practice in Uganda, one is not off key to predict massive corruption in all sectors and spheres of life as the children born in corruption adopt and practice it through their youthful stage, as young professionals, and later elders of communities. To you our mentors on corruption: ‘As youth, we are determined to maintain this position (151 corrupt country and beyond); thanks to our elders, parents, administrators, and religious leaders or call them ‘men of God’ that have taught us the practice. Our position will be guarded jealously, be assured of our support relying on our youthful energy. We have big aspirations to be fulfilled through craftiness; by our old age, our children and grand children will lead Uganda to the glory of 180+ most corrupt Country. Thanks to you all for sowing the seed. We are grateful for your relentless effort of ‘building’ this country for ruins.’
Data analysed by Transparency International was drawn from international development partners, and donors to inform the corruption perception index. As we wail about Uganda’s current generation and future; Burundi, South Sudan and Somalia are leading the way ranking at 157, 179 and 180 respectively. Kenya and Rwanda, sisters in the neighborhood, ranked 143 and 48 respectively. Rwanda is therefore the anti-corruption giant in East Africa. Uganda is already ‘progressing’ in corruption, according to the index, and so are most of its neighbours painting a slim future of anti-corruption. The Uganda Martyrs’ died because of denying the worship of spirits other than Jesus Christ; today’s Martyrs will die for denying corruption – the idol worship in Uganda. Corruption has infiltrated schools, tertiary institutions, ministries and homes alike.
Corruption is any process by which a word or expression is changed from its original state to depict something else. It involves manipulating, fudging and misapplication (Dictionary based). The reason fronted for establishing schools is contribution to community development by providing formal education that is affordable. However, are the demands still affordable? Isn’t corruption being nurtured at school? Instead of schools being a place of service, at a cost of course, they have become lucrative businesses, get-rich quick ventures. The children born in corruption are the professionals working in these schools and the education industry at large. When we twist the core objective of what schools should be to lucrative businesses, isn’t it is corruption per the definition above?
Then there comes contribution and cement to acquiring assets such as buses, cement contributions for the expansion of schools! It is trendy for schools and universities to own fancy buses which according to the objective are to facilitate learning trips but, these buses canter and generate income that is not accounted for. Who owns them in the first place? It is no shock schools are mushrooming throughout the Country. The intent for establishing these schools is worth examining vis-à-vis serving the community.
Let us not ignore the anti-leadership vices like sweets demanded for by pupils and students during campaigns in schools. As early as primary school, pupils know a vote is not free, it is in exchange for something from the contender. Leadership ceases to be a service but reward for those that display better corruption tactics in name of campaign strategies; it is no longer about capability. Come with your capability alone, you will be beaten at the game, yet during campaigns, you received the most ululations for being articulate.
In the just ended elections according to report findings by Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM) on 13th October, 2016 in which 185 Members of Parliament were interviewed with 113 admitting to spending over Ugx 100+ million on elections. Those contending on the NRM ticket spent Ugx 233+ million, opposition and independent spent Ugx 187 million and Ugx 189 million respectively.
According to the report, parliamentary campaigns sucked a whole Ugx 24 billion separate from the Ugx 400+ billion spent on presidential campaigns with that of local councils not known. It is easy to point fingers at the politicians but probably, this is what they have known through their school and tertiary life. Tertiary institutions are the professional feeders for the community yet Makerere University elections (as a case study not to say other institutions are any better) show the educated being not only gullible to corruption but inciting it too. Without sweets, students do not attend meetings and this they will plainly tell you in the face.
Anti corruption martyrs are what Uganda needs today starting from schools and universities. The contribution of schools and university mannerisms to growth of corruption cannot be ignored. This is because most of these students have studied in boarding schools or spent most of their weeks at school. Even if it is not in boarding, their attachment to the community is slim. If the young professionals of today are proud, it is what the environment has nurtured and formed them to be. The future is slim but a clean drop in an ocean will make it one drop cleaner. The influence of missionary or Church founded schools and institutions can cause a great change but, starting with administration. Corruption is a big giant we can only munch one bite at a time.
As we celebrate the lives and martyrdom of youths who laid their lives down to witness for Christ to the point of death, it is important to examine how each one of us’ contribution to corruption has pounded the problem or else advocate for the change in our motto from ‘For God and My Country’ to whatever suits. Lifting hands to God will not make sense and yield fruit until a decision is made to change from within and start doing things right. In this month of the Ugandan martyrs, as youth, we raise to the Lord those who are meant to mentor us but are derailing us, those meant to raise us up but are instead tearing us down through flaws in their administrative systems.
Sometimes, they even talk about the youth question at lip service. Unfortunately, even the Christian leaders we would run to, not many are interested in us: not many are interested in being Matia Mulumba to us. Dear Lord, send us parents, administrators, and leaders who will hold us at heart and form us. We would like to be better, but, we cannot emulate otherwise. For now, we can only pledge to forward the agenda we have been given.
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