UGANDA: Women Can Be Used to Fight Corruption in Uganda

Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The New Vision
Eastern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

THERE has been a lot of public outcry over corruption in Uganda and Africa as a continent. Corruption is a big issue because it has caused a huge loss to Ugandans and hindered the development of the country.

There are ghosts in every sector of the economy — health centres, pensioners, the Universal Primary Education programme and the army.

Every year, Uganda is estimated to lose over sh500b to corruption. This money could be used to facilitate the development of the country through financing the building of infrastructure, such as road networks, health centres and drainage systems.

What makes matters worse is the fact that corruption is seemingly accepted in all sectors in Uganda. That is why we seem to be losing the battle. In Uganda, people freely offer and take bribes. I have heard people ask why a person gets a jail term for soliciting a bribe of “only” sh300,000.

During this time of campaigns, fighting corruption has come out as the one issue that is contained in all candidates' manifestoes.

All politicians are promising to fight corruption if elected into power. However, people should know that the politicians will not succeed in eradicating corruption if we, the ordinary citizens, do not take a common stand against this social evil.

As a woman, I believe that women can play a big role in the battle against corruption, not that they themselves are corruption free. Women are very influential beings within and outside their families.

Someone once said men are the heads while women the necks. The head cannot turn unless the neck has turned.

African history has many examples of women who have led revolutions. There is the example of Kenya's Prof. Wangari Maathai with her Green Belt Movement who is promoting the planting of trees in Kenya.

The role of South African women in fighting apartheid in the 1950s also yielded a lot of positive results.

The Bible also has examples where fierce men fell because of the power of women. The most known example is Samson whose hair was cut after a woman was used to establish the source of his strength. There was also Abigail who used her judgement to stop looming war.

Every man has either a sister, wife, mother or all. Women can start to question the source of money their husbands, brothers or fathers have, especially if it can not easily be explained. In most cases, the women know that the source of their husband's money is not right, but keep quiet because the money brings them comfort.

We should know that every ghost in our health centres, schools and the army translates into money that our brothers, husbands or fathers wrongly get and use within the family.

There are sections of people who reason that women are the cause of corruption because their demands force men to use any means to get money. Whatever the case, it is high time we stopped. If women joined the fight against corruption, we will soon discover that Margaret Thatcher was not wrong when she said: “If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”