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.

You May Like

Map Shows Every US School Shooting Since 2013

There have been at least 150 school shootings in the United States since 2013, an average of nearly one per week More

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs