KAMPALA. A new study on corruption reporting in East Africa reveals that Uganda and Tanzania trail behind the rest of East African countries in their citizens’ reporting of corruption.
The new study report entitled: ‘Corruption reporting in East Africa’, indicates Rwanda continues to post the best record in fighting corruption with the highest reporting levels of about 36 per cent, with Burundi ranked second at 24 per cent. The report rates citizens reporting of corruption in Uganda at only 7 per cent, behind Kenya at 11 per cent, but tied with Tanzania, also at 7 per cent.
The report says although most citizens in the East African region are aware of the negative consequences of corruption on society, there is low readiness to report cases of graft. The report states that for the last five years, more than three quarters of the East Africans who encountered corruption did not report it and that it was not even better in 2016 as only about 24 per cent of the citizens encountering corruption reported it.
A total of 9,303 respondents, mainly urban-based and of between 30 to 49 years, were sampled across the five countries in the survey conducted last year.
Mr Paul Banoba, the Transparency International regional adviser based in Germany, while addressing the East African delegates at a two-day’ workshop dubbed East Africa Anti-Corruption Dialogue, held under the theme: ‘Reject and Report Corruption, Your Responsibility’ at Hotel Africana in Kampala, last week, said the citizens’ unwillingness to report corruption is defeating the war on graft.
The report cites lack of public confidence in political will to fight corruption, lack of information, the real fear that corruption fights back and corruption in law-enforcement institutions.
“[The number of] Citizens reporting on corruption is still very low across the East African region and that explains why corruption is being practised with impunity because the culprits know there is nothing that is going to be done against them,” Mr Banoba said.
Mr Banoba called upon East African citizens to increase their readiness to report cases of corruption in order to help fight the vice.
The report reveals that in the EAC region, Uganda registers the highest bribery levels with a percentage value of 40.7 per cent, while Tanzania has 39.1 per cent, Kenya 29.5 per cent. Burundi, the worst ranked country in 2014, recorded a significantly lower index of 18.8 per cent this year. And with an aggregate index of 2.5 per cent, Rwanda remained the least bribery-prone country in the region.
This means that the work being done by government agencies and CSOs involved in the fight against corruption, other anti-corruption agencies appears not to be paying off if the TIU assessment is anything to go by.
The TIU’s Corruption Perception Index 2016 ranked Uganda—the most corrupt country in East Africa, meaning it had dropped by 12 places from 139 in 2015 while Rwanda, which was then ranked 50th in the world, is the least corrupt country in the East Africa region.
Mr Peter Wandera, the TIU executive director, blamed the vice on scandals in government ministries and agencies such as the recent public service pension scheme scandal and the plunder that was uncovered in Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
He said Uganda should look up to countries performing well whose success he attributed to better enforcement of existing laws and independence of institutions in executing their respective mandates in fighting corruption.
Dr Christian Raitz Von Fretz, the operations adviser governance [Accountability] from the Delegation of European Union to Uganda, urged EAC to insert more political will in fighting corruption and to improve the low salaries for civil servants.
He pledged European Union commitment to funding the anti-corruption crusades through DGF in East Africa to ensure that Citizens get the right services they deserve.
“There is need to empower the citizens to monitor public expenditure and report corruption cases anywhere in the countries and make sure that the recommendations you have made today are followed through by all EAC states to ensure a corruption-free society,” Mr Raitz said.