Civil Society Organisations, on 3rd December 2014 agreed to incorporate integrity in the fight against corruption. This was at the 4th Anti-Corruption Convention which also marked 100 weeks of wearing Black every Monday. The Convention, themed “Fighting Corruption and Building Integrity”, brought together over 600 citizens from different walks of life including office of the Auditor General, the Supreme Court and several Civil Society Organisations.
Hon. Justice Kiryabwire Geofrey of the Supreme Court quoted Shakespeare as he pointed out the importance of keeping a good name, and said a good name is a Hallmark of integrity. He added that Uganda is gifted by nature but bedevilled by corruption.
The Auditor General, represented by Ms. Keto Nyapendi Kayemba – Assistant Auditor General, appreciated CSO efforts towards the fight against corruption. She said citizen initiatives such as Black Monday have helped reduce the levels of corruption scandals in government. Although the general public does not agree with her, she added that Government is now more cautious in relation to corruption cases.
Ms. Kayemba advised CSOs to emphasize integrity now before we venture into oil extraction, an activity that brings in more revenue to the government.
The Convention, organised by UNNGOF in partnership with DGF, CSBAG, AFIC and GAPP, was attended by over 600 citizens at Nile Hall, Hotel Africana. Many Ugandans were gratified with the efforts by the Black Monday Movement towards fighting theft of public funds. However, citizens demanded that Government finds a way to recover over UGX 4.8trillion tax payers’ money that was stolen in the last 12 years.
Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, a Black Monday activist from KICK Uganda, urged fellow CSOs to take the fight against corruption to the grass root communities because intimidation of voters and anti-corruption messages is so strong at grass-root level.
“The people in the villages need to be sensitized on the dangers of corruption because the masses are ignorant of the disaster corruption has on our country and it is one of the reasons activism is not so strong in the villages,” said Fr. Gaetano. He also prayed for Ms. Kayemba with the laying on of hands so that their office does not falter in the fight against corruption.
The Black Monday Movement hit off the journey in November 2012 with several public actions to sensitise the public, and published 24 newsletters that have been distributed on streets, in schools, offices and hotels to bring ordinary Ugandans aboard for the fight against corruption.
Ugandans pressed for civic education on effects of corruption to the communities so that they understand the can hold government accountable event at the lowest level of leadership.
Dr. Fr. Maximiano Ngabirano, who delivered the keynote address repulsed how corruption has ruined Uganda and added that Uganda has only 4 career diplomats and the rest are political failures because they’ve failed to deliver on the promises made to Ugandans.
The 4th Anti-Corruption Convention’s overall objective is to underscore the importance of integrity in achieving a transparent, responsive and accountable public sector.
To emphasize the need for integrity in fighting corruption, various Integrity Icons were awarded at the 4th Anti-Corruption Convention. These champions were elected from the just concluded Participatory Integrity Assessment that was carried out by Uganda National NGO Forum and her district partners.
The day was filled with edutainment from children of Nabweru Parents School, a drama team and dancers that used creative arts to urge leaders to fight corruption and live exemplary lives. The children demanded for an end to corruption while the drama and dancers urged our leaders to exercise virtues of integrity as they carry out their daily work.