Uganda Peoples Congress
UGANDA PEOPLES CONGRESS
UGANDA CITIZENS BETRAYED
- One of the evil legacies of the last 17 years of the NRM regime is the corruption that now permeates our society. UPC is particularly disturbed by corrupt practices in high places, fraud, bribery, favoritism, pay-offs, commissions on contract awards and thieving continue to plague our society.
- A shouting news headline that government vehicles should be packed by 5.00 p.m. was brandished by Monitor Newspaper of last month. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Jimmy Lwamafwa was decrying the abuse of government property in hands of undeserving officials. The misuse of government vehicles is just the tip of an ice berg in the whole spectre of disrespect of public property that is ostensibly put in place for the common good.
- Government vehicles are used to take children to school, carry charcoal for relatives, and frequent bars. Despite standing orders barring government owned cars from being used beyond working hours, most of them are still used to fetch and drop girlfriends up to midnight. No one seems bothered, but the taxpayer has to pay the costs. What is happening in our country is that leaders have made the ordinary citizens their investment.
- The government had no armour for the abuse of houses but to accommodate public servants posted away from their birth place. This was a condition of entering public service that you would serve the nation anywhere you are posted. Instead of finding a formula to maintain the buildings and a method of penalty for their abuse government (NRM), in its ineptitude, sold them off (corruptly) in most bizarre and non transparent manner. Even the proceeds of the sale cannot be traced. In his book "The Africans" Adams gives an account of Zaire fighter pilots who were flying very expensive mirage fighters and on being told that there was poor weather at Kinshasha aerodrome they turned the planes to face Atlantic Ocean, jettisoned out and parachuted leaving the two twenty million dollar each plane plunged into the ocean. He sarcastically mused that they had solved the weather problem.
- It was the vogue for NRM government to buy vehicles for every public official, civil servant or politician on finding the cost exorbitant, they resolved to sell the vehicles to the owners at what came to be known as give away prices and then consolidate transport allowance to the new owners. Crafty people mainly politicians boarded off even brand new vehicles, bought them as scrap, and sold them as new and repositioned themselves for new offers. It became brisk, dirty business. The whole saga has made a U turn that the Permanent Secretary Public Services does not know what to do but to propose the impracticable. Surely by the time I joined Civil service in 1966, civil servants were enabled to buy and own vehicles which could be used for official duties and private or personal duties. Mzee Gureme will give a better account than me but I remember one would be advanced annual salary to purchase a car and that loan on a minimal interest would be paid back over 3-5 years. This means off course that one's annual salary was adequate - then more than adequate - to purchase a brand new car. Every civil servant was entitled to mileage for running the car on duty. One category was routine office work and had a fixed rate The second category was when one was required to go upcountry for duty. This you got it approved by the accounting officer and every end of the month you made a return to the accounting officer and got paid what was called your mileage. The mileage catered for fuel and corresponding wear and tear on the vehicle. The system embraced the politicians. For example only accounting officers, in our time Permanent Secretary (PS), were allowed to personally drive government cars. Not ministers, not directors etc. Government vehicles were driven by approved government drivers who apart from having corresponding driving permit, had to have certificate from Ministry of Works. It was impossible to find government vehicles outside night clubs at midnight. Civil servants who wanted to buy cars on government loan had to have valid driving permits and had to maintain valid comprehensive insurance of the loaned vehicle. This covered the government interest. The question is what happened over the years? I remember this policy was obtaining in 1980 - 1985 when UPC was in government.
- Over the years government has acquired property both fixed and liquid as national silverware. Some were local and others in foreign lands. I can recall that by July 1985 Uganda had enterprises with fixed property all over the country and abroad. When the craze of privatisation came some criminally minded people who had access to people of influence took advantage of the policy and feasted on the public property.
Sales in most dubious manner were executed and in some case open robberies were done. We find that government departments have to hire very expensively where the corrupt NRM government has given away buildings in most brazen manner. We learn that even our silver in foreign countries is being sold off with kick backs to the people handling them.
- Last week we saw the president crying foul at the court and out-of-court settlement of cases meaning that probably corruption has been influencing these settlements. Surely if corruption is the hallmark of NRM administration why should it surprise Museveni that it would not take place in the Attorney General's Chambers when under his nose we have seen junk helicopters, junk food, junk uniforms, call everything junk.
- The principal of patriotism and guarding national treasurers was buried with the coming in power of the NRM government in 1986. The bush soldiers who landed in Kampala wearing car tyre sandals, used clothes and sapatos, were millionaires overnight. This feat must have been out of criminal activities. Mario Russo in his book (movie) Godfather states that, "Behind every fortune, there is a crime". It is a crime to reward peoples (citizens) tax money to fighters in Luwero, to supporters in elections, to members of your family. It is similar crime for damn dams, collapsing UPE classrooms, substandard roads, stolen exams or call it corruption, corruption everywhere. The sum total is that citizens of this country have been betrayed and robbed by self commissioned Lt. Gen. Yoweri Museveni.
- UPC believes that public officers ought to be men and women of integrity. They should be modest, hard-working and avoid arrogance, ostentation, intimidation and victimisation.
UPC pledges to put an end to corruption. The UPC government will formulate a new leadership code and a machinery to enforce it.
For God And My CountryDr. James W. Rwanyarare
Presidential Policy Commission
3rd September, 2002