President Yoweri Museveni has derided thieving government officials who think they will find happiness in their stolen riches while the rest of the society struggles to get a living.
Museveni, who was opening the 9th Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Heads of Agencies Conference at Lake Victoria Serena hotel, Kigo on Monday, said there was evidence that the corrupt rich are not happy because they are always struggling to keep away pickpockets, and hungry neighbours. The conference attracted delegates from 16 African countries.
"Can you sustainably remain prosperous when the rest of society is in poverty. My answer is; you cannot sustainably be prosperous within that same country. If you steal and the rest of the people don’t develop and you’re the only one with a good house, you’re the only one with a good life, all the others are not. You cannot, you cannot sustainably live happy in that country. You are going to see those pressures, the unemployed youths stealing, pickpocketing, committing crime and the victims are the few who are being prosperous because they are the only ones who have got something to steal." Museveni said.
Museveni’s message is akin to the common adage that “the poor cannot sleep, because they are hungry and the rich cannot sleep because the poor are awake” used mainly to refer to the grave danger of inequality and corruption that take away social services from the poor and concentrate riches in the hands of the few.
The Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja said corruption was secretive and complex practice, which makes the need for collaboration with other commonwealth countries more important.
Locally, she stressed the intention to publish declarations and invite the public to give more information on suspicious assets.
"We still intend to publish lists of leaders whose assets are to be verified. We need the responsible citizens to give citizens information that they may have about suspicious assets acquisition." she said.
Mulyagonja said they have been receiving complaints about leaders’ declaration. This has encouraged the inspectorate put up lists of leaders and ask the public what they know about these people.
Museveni said he had appointed Anti-corruption unit in State House to supplement on what the current IGG is doing but also to watch over the latter since it had been infiltrated by the corrupt.
"When I appointed this State House group the new one, it is not to replace the IGG, no! It is to help her because I think she was infiltrated slowly, slowly by some groups."
According to Museveni the three key issues to resolve in the corruption fight are; ensuring thorough investigations, enforcing prosecution and getting the courts to dispense immediate justice. He said the battle against corruption is winnable if Ugandans choose to work together.