KAB launches Eastern Africa Center for Anti-corruption Studies (EACACs)Sandra Atukwatse
Corruption is dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery. Uganda is characterized by grand-scale theft of public funds and petty corruption involving public officials at all levels of society as well as widespread political patronage systems.
According to the u4 anti-corruption resource centre, thirty-eight percent of people had to pay a bribe to access a public service in the previous years. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Kabale University organized the Eastern Africa Center for Anti-Corruption studies stakeholder conference which is to help in putting heads together and gather ideas and views on how universities and other tertiary institutions can have their input in the fight against corruption.
According to Prof. Benon Basheka, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs at Kabale University, academic Research plays an important role in informing the anti-corruption policies and actions at international, regional, and national levels. He added that high-quality academic research is needed to improve the anti-corruption strategies sighting the lack of quality research in the field of anti-bribery.
In his presentation, Basheka notes that the most important role tertiary institutions play in the fight against corruption is influencing behavior (mind shaping), promoting International standard norms and designing and implementing specific anti-corruption courses
Prof. Basheka said that the symposium is one of the mechanisms put in place by Kabale University to gather ideas and viewpoints from the people in the Kigezi region and Uganda at large as the University prepares to establish the East African Centre of Corruption studies.
Sam Agaba, The Head of the Kigezi Regional Inspectorate Office Kabale, who was one of the panelists said that if the institution is to start up an Anti-Corruption course, students ought to know all the laws that have been put in place in the country and East Africa to fight corruption
He added that the students need to be trained on at least some Proper critical analytical skills so that they are able to become activists to have the knowledge and information to bring forward during the fight against corruption.
The DVC asked the lecturers present to be extremely very good examples to the students they are teaching saying that being exemplary is crucial in the fight against corruption. In his words, “it is very important that you people who are teaching these anti-corruption issues are clean yourselves”
In his presentation, one of the panelists Dr. Benjamin Mayanja who represented the Private Sector pointed out the reasons why people engage in corruption saying that people are shameless and there is also a lack of strict punishment. He submits that you cannot fight corruption by talking; fighting corruption is by doing – Head of the Kigezi Regional Inspectorate Office
The Kisoro District LC5 Chairperson Abel Bizimana who was also present at the event said he was no longer comfortable going to church since church leaders usually expect money from him. This was reechoed by the Kabale Resident District Commissioner Godfrey Nyakahuma who also accused religion of giving front seats to government officials even when they are famous for embezzling government funds.
The East African Centre of Corruption studies is under the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The Dean of the faculty, Associate Professor Mesharch Walto Katusiimeh is very optimistic that the institute shall be the much missing link in the University’s contribution to the fight against corruption. The faculty has several programmes for undergraduate and graduate programmes.
Several local government leaders from the districts of Kigezi participated in the one-day conference. These included Resident District commissioners, districts, and sub-county chairpersons, to mention but a few.