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POLITICS, DONORS AND THE INEFFECTIVENESS OF ANTI-CORRUPTION INSTITUTIONS

POLITICS, DONORS AND THE INEFFECTIVENESS OF ANTI-CORRUPTION INSTITUTIONS IN UGANDA

R. Tangri & A. Mwenda

Journal of Modern African Studies, 44, 1 (2006)

A Summary

 

In a Nutshell

Anti-corruption drives in Africa have been focussed largely on reducing routine levels of corruption. Replacing the state economy with market mechanisms, promoting accountability and transparency in government operations and other measures have reduced the opportunities for corruption as well as increasing the chances of getting caught. However, the reforms necessary to reduce corruption at the highest level, such as promoting political competition, and institutions that oversee the prosecution of corruption at high levels depend for their effectiveness to a large degree on both financial capability (which is often low), and cooperation from the elite leaders (which is often absent). This latter phenomenon persists despite continued rhetoric by leaders as to their willingness to tackle corruption.

This indicates that the nature of a country’s political system cannot be ignired when thinking about corruption. For example, Uganda has been a virtual one party system for decades and this constrains the possibility of the legislature and the judiciary holding the government to account. Whilst corruption is undoubtedly used for private gain, it is also used to perpetuate the regime through the use of funds for campaigning, and this explains why top political leaders have shown limited political will to contain such corruption. It also means that those charged with overseeing corruption prosecutions have an incentive not to proceed as they depend for their existence on one very firm set of political benefactors. Because elite corruption is am important means of consolidating the government in power, top leaders have influenced and controlled anti-corruption bodies whenever they have threatened to expose the corrupt ways of Uganda’s state elites.

Also at fault are IFIs and donors who are more focussed on economic goals than corruption reduction.

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