News / Africa

Uganda Fails to Prosecute High-Level Corruption, Report Says

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, president of Uganda, speaks at the United Nations in New York on Sept. 24, 2013.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, president of Uganda, speaks at the United Nations in New York on Sept. 24, 2013.
Human Rights Watch says Uganda’s government has failed to deliver on its promise to effectively address corruption despite good technical work by investigators and prosecutors.  
The report, entitled “Letting the Big Fish Swim," points out that no high-ranking Ugandan government official, minister or political appointee has ever served prison time for corruption while anti-corruption activists often face harassment and arrest.
In the report released Monday, the watchdog group said those who do stand trial in Uganda’s numerous corruption scandals tend to be low-level public employees whose conviction is unlikely to change the way the system works.
Human Rights Watch’s Maria Burnett says cases against high-level officials tend not to proceed at all, largely due to political interference and intimidation.
“Why is that that those cases don’t end up before the courts despite the rumor, the discussion, the evidence in some cases?" Burnett said. "Our concern is that prosecutors face interference, harassment and threats, and that witnesses who have that kind of crucial evidence that they can bring to the table, those people are not safe to come forward.”
When Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni came to power 27 years ago, he vowed to fight corruption and has established anti-corruption institutions during his time in office. His government claims to be devoted to rooting out graft.
But despite such pledges, Burnett says Museveni himself has often intervened on behalf of high-level officials facing corruption charges.
“He has made public statements about quality of evidence, whether they’re innocent or guilty, in one case offering to pay for people’s legal fees," she said. "Given his dominance in public affairs, I think that’s very troubling.”
Burnett urges foreign donors to see beyond the government’s rhetoric, and to be more aware of the true scope of Uganda’s corruption problem.

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Comment Sorting
by: sn from: kampala
October 23, 2013 2:52 AM
27 years ago Museveni came to power through corruption; infiltrated the army, confused the army and peddled lies till he succeeded. He deceived people about a new constitution only to present a personal document which he uses as he wishes.
His kinsmen from both Uganda and Rwanda are all over, killing and amassing wealth.
He oversees many of the corruption scandals. He uses the army, the police and judiciary to maximize his effectiveness.
He tell outright lies when it suits him. He even orders fake prosecutions of political opponents as he did with the rape case against FDC leader. He stands for corruption at any one time.

by: Onono Fred from: Kitgum,Uganda
October 21, 2013 1:06 PM
These observations are right only that the details should have been brought forth forward to support the findings..!! It would be more convincing if examples and names of the high profile politicians were mentioned!
In Response

by: paulakey from: Canada
October 21, 2013 1:57 PM

Uganda and other homophobic countries need to check modern scientific research on homosexuality and not base beliefs and actions on a 3,500 year of Scripture whne starting a fire was done with rubbing two sticks together. Psychiatrists and their organizations world wide - UK, Europe, India, China, N.Z, Australia, USA have stated that homosexuality is NOT a) a disease b) a mental illness and is c) not a perversion - and - d) it cannot be reversed.
If it is NOT a perversion and it CANNOT be reversed, then it is NOT a choice.
Why persecute people born this way in the name of God.
Rev. Scott Lively is now on trial for "Crimes Against Humanity," in a Massachusettes' court. He went to Uganda with Rev Rick Warren (who is personal friend of Uganda's President's wife. A bill was introduced in Uganda after Lively and Warren's visit "Kill the Gays Bill." A newspaper in Uganda (Rolling Stone) published pictures and names of 'suspected' homosexuals and David Kato (Gay Activisit) was murdered in his home. Even when David's body was lowered into the ground, Evangelical Ugandan ministers (financed by USA evangelicals) shouted insults and Scriptural quotes against homosexuality.
There needs to be a world-wide ban on Uganda like South Africa.

by: Dr. Matheas from: Germany
October 21, 2013 11:38 AM
yet they hold a control seat on the ICC... go figure...
what a farce!!!

by: Bobil from: Kitgum, Uganda
October 21, 2013 11:03 AM
Museveni is a trickster who distracts the public discourse on the pressing issue of corruption by needlessly mudslinging the west for alleged neocolonialism.

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