By George Conger, Church of England Newspaper
The Primate of the Church of Uganda has called upon President Yoweri Museveni to crack down on government corruption.
Speaking on June 5 at the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Patrick Tugume as bishop of North Kigezi at Emmanuel Cathedral in Rukungiri in southwest Uganda, Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi said the diversion of public money into the pockets of corrupt officials held the East African nation back in developing its full economic potential.
“Your Excellency, there is need for you to put stringent measures on supervising government money that is allocated for community development but end up being swindled on its way from Kampala. There is need for serious disciplinary action against the corrupt officials who swindle public funds,” the archbishop told President Museveni, who was guest of honour at the ceremony.
While Uganda’s economy has expanded at an average rate close to 9 per cent over the past five years, and has reduced tariff barriers and disincentives to foreign investment, corruption is perceived as widespread. Uganda ranks 130th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2009.
In a report on the Ugandan business climate, the Heritage Foundation in Washington observed that the “will to combat corruption at the highest levels of government has been questioned, and bureaucratic apathy contributes to perceptions of corruption.”
Corruption was also the theme of Archbishop Orombi’s speech on June 1 to the Uganda Joint Christian Council, the country’s umbrella organization for Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Elected chairman of the group in succession to Orthodox Church leader Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga, Archbishop Orombi expressed his hope that one day the change in governments would be as seamless and uncomplicated in Uganda as the change in leadership of the UJCC. He also asked the assembled church leaders to redouble their efforts in tackling corruption at all levels in society, arguing it was a cancer that was eating away at the heart of society.