The Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, Hon. Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo defined Corruption not as a cancer but an indicator of an ultimate degeneration of morals. He was speaking as Guest of Honour at the recently concluded Western Region Inter University Seminar themed, "The Role of Youth in the fight against Corruption". The seminar was the second of a series of such events involving University students that UDN holds in a bid to bring the youth on board in the fight against graft in Uganda. UDN held another such debate in November 2013 at Makerere University in Kampala.
Hon. Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo addressing University Students during the Inter-University Guest Speaker Seminar held at Acacia Hotel in Mbarara, 29th May 2014
During the meeting, students from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Kampala International University (KIU-Western Campus), Bishop Stuart University and Ankole Western University shared their views about Corruption and other Governance malpractices and exchanged ideas on how they as youth can contribute to the fight to curb these social evils. The students also benefitted from insightful discussions by the Guest of Honour, Hon. Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo, former Ethics minister, and Anti-Corruption activist Hon. Miria Matembe, as well as Mbarara Municipality Woman MP, Hon. Emma Boona.
The Ethics Minister expressed dismay at the fact that corruption in Government was not a one-man problem but a chain-linked syndicate between agencies and noted that corruption continued to thrive as a result of apathy. He said that Government is a group of entities and that each entity was independent in functionality and hence should take responsibility for its actions. He called upon the Civil Society to avoid the fallacy of generalisation by declaring the entire Government corrupt.
Hon. Matembe on the other hand castigated the Executive continually undermining the autonomous functionality of the other arms of government and noted that Government's continued interference with the functions of the Legislature and the Judiciary was a clear indicator of the former's lack of political will to fight corruption. She called upon the Executive to respect the other institutions and also facilitate them better to enable them perform their duties, for a corruption-free Uganda.
The Mbarara Municipality Woman MP, Hon. Emma Boona called upon the youth to take a personal initiative and decision not to be corrupt, following her example. UDN's Executive Director, Patrick Tumwebaze also challenged the youth to utilize the platforms in place including the Office of the IGG, Auditor General's Office and others to report cases of corruption in their communities. He also introduced UDN's toll-free sms reporting line as an alternative reporting channel.
UDN Executive Director, Patrick Tumwebaze delivers his opening remarks during the event
Seminar participants pose for a group photo after the event