Challenges for anti-graft institutions in the region

As governments in the region discuss ways to attain a corrupt free society, anti-corruption agencies have appealed to them to support and strengthen systems to fight graft.
Transparency International says many citizens in East Africa still believe in paying bribes for service. The New Times/ T. Kisambira.
Transparency International says many citizens in East Africa still believe in paying bribes for service. The New Times/ T. Kisambira.

As governments in the region discuss ways to attain a corrupt free society, anti-corruption agencies have appealed to them to support and strengthen systems to fight graft.

While releasing the 2012/2013 Global Corruption Barometer in Kigali on Wednesday, regional representatives of Transparency International (TI) said despite efforts by governments to fight the vice, they are still faced with many challenges.

East African is highly affected by corruption falling in the second last most corrupt category of the global corruption barometer in the range of 50 to 74.9 per cent, although Rwanda is an exception with the least corrupt rate at 13 per cent, the best ranking on the continent.

Peter Wandera, from Uganda, said the corruption trends in the country are getting worse every day despite the good anti-corruption laws present.

“Uganda has good anti-corruption laws but there is a big problem when it comes to enforcement, making it hard to fight the vice. There is lack of awareness among the public on their rights to access certain services and the effects it can have on their daily lives,” Wandera said.

He said the anti-corruption institutions in the country lack sufficient funds to effectively execute their mandate.

“These institutions are underfunded, with few employees who are also poorly paid. This leads to poor or no service delivery,” he said.

Kenya’s situation is no different from Uganda, according to Samuel Kimeu.

“There is no progress at all, especially in service delivery. Lack of confidence among the citizens that government is committed to fight graft that is stuck in their minds is also a challenge,” he said.

He called for institutional accountability and strengthening systems for fighting corruption.

Backing his Kenyan counterpart, Bubelwa Kaiza, from Tanzania, said the citizens are concerned with the extent of governing of natural resources by government in a transparent manner.

He called for Police to be reformed, since the institution is the most corrupt in the region, and a law to protect the whistleblowers.

Edward Hosea, from Tanzania, and the director-general for Preventing and Combating Corruption Bureau, said there is need for good governance architecture that entails transparency, accountability, participation, rule of law and independence of anti corruption institutions if the vice is to be kicked out of the region.

Hoesa also called for a coordinated and holistic approach on the war against graft, adding that anti-corruption institutions in the region are marred by challenges such as lack of coordination, political will and the mindset of the people who believe in “kitu kidogo” to get a service.

“It all depends on the approach used in  this survey. But efforts need to be made because once corruption is totally eradicated in the police sector, the task to tackle it in other institutions will be easier,” said Apollinaire Mupiganyi, the executive director TI-Rwanda

Huguette Labelle, the chairperson of Transparency International, said governments need to ensure that there are strong, independent and well-resourced institutions to prevent and redress graft.

“Too many people are harmed when these core institutions and basic services are undermined by the corruption scourge.” Labelle said.

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What they said of their countries

Bubelwa Kaiza, TI Tanzania. ‘Citizens are concerned with the extent of governing of natural resources by government in a transparent manner. Police, as an institution, must be reformed since it is the most corrupt in the region. There is urgent need for a law to protect whistleblowers.’

Samuel Kimeu, TI Kenya. ‘There is no progress at all, especially in service delivery. Lack of confidence among citizens that government is committed to fight graft that is stuck in their minds is also a challenge,’

Peter Wandera, TI Uganda. ‘Uganda has good anti-corruption laws but there is a big problem when it comes to enforcement, making it hard to fight the vice. There is lack of awareness among the public on their rights to access certain services and the effects it can have on their daily lives.’

 

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