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How to get away with corruption in Uganda

Anti-corruption activists marching in Kampala streets

Anti-corruption activists marching in Kampala streets

I imagine that the headline of this article is already suggestive of preaching to the choir.

You could already be asking; who doesn’t know how to get away with corruption in Uganda? Is it that hard a task? You must be wondering: Does it still require any sophistication in Uganda, to successfully steal taxpayers’ money and resources?

Just steal and go develop yourself; all will be fine. Walk away like a dog that has eased itself in a cooking pot. Nobody is interested in running after you, except a visitor that will find it strange - especially those coming from countries where leaders are not respected as representatives of people in eating and all except serving.

Nevertheless, although corruption is normal in Uganda now, I will still pass my advice to those who might be unlucky to get caught or scolded. There will always be that unlucky person that will be beaten for what everyone else does with indifference from above.

Sometimes, even the darlings (sons and daughters of the house) get shouted at, by clueless dogs. Take my advice, and thank me after successful theft.

The first thing you should note is that you are not the only thief. Others have stolen sums almost half the national budget. What are 500 iron sheets? What are a few billions off a roads or health budget? So, remember that the accuser is also as guilty as guilt. Deep inside, he is not convinced that what you have done is that much wrong.

Your main fault is to steal stupidly or to steal above your status ceiling. High-end theft has its owners. Only operate within the range of your political license. You may take a rabbit, but not a cow.

It is good manners to know where you belong on the ladder of importance. You don’t see children of the home jumping on the sofa and you join in. While pigs and warthogs belong to the same family, they don’t dine together. Only a stupid pig pushes its snout onto a warthog’s prey.

At times you are just unlucky to be caught at a politically wrong time. As they say, when bad luck chooses you as a companion, even a ripe banana can remove your teeth. While January to December is often right time for theft of public funds in Uganda, watch out for the times – so that bad luck doesn’t find you flatfooted.

Sometimes the alpha may shout at a thief, but please calm down. It’s only for public impressions – just as the anti-corruption walk some years ago, where the corrupt paraded themselves in a public workout of cutting on fat to create space for new guilty weight.

Don’t feel guilty for the theft. Bear the little pain and join the public performance in courts of law and short prison stunts. Soon you will be out, jumping like a frog in moonlight with your loot. The nosy public will already have moved on to another scandal, as the supply is steady.

Should you not be sure if the alpha still cares enough about you, or that you might be one of the family black sheep to be sacrificed on the altar of political impressions, do this: show him that you have a huge block of voters behind you. Pull out the tribal or religious card, whatever would work best in the circumstances.

Mobilise your tribemates and craft a dramatic public show of dissatisfaction. Let them show up at court wailing and loudly demanding to know why of all people it is their son or daughter that is being ‘witch-hunted’. It is not difficult to blackmail a grossly guilty club.

Make it seem to be a case of government against the tribe. Ask them what your tribe did to be targeted. In Uganda’s tribally charged society, you will always get tribemates to buy into your blackmail. In any case, you can buy them or they are also likely to be lower-level thieves - of construction site cement, kameeza, njawulo, chai, etc.

Let them scream in emotive frenzy threatening that, should the persecution continue, they will stop voting for the alpha. Let them threaten to quit the party, to join opposition. They will have touched the button that matters. You will be good to go. You will have grown bigger than accountability.

If you can’t play the ethnic or religious card, I still have a strategy for you. Should they make you a subject of corruption discussions, demanding for accountability, cry political persecution. Don’t respond to the accountability questions they raise.

Instead, accuse them of getting personal. Accuse them of working for ‘forces’ using them to plot for your downfall. Play victim. After all, the real victims hardly have a voice to compete with yours that goes straight into the alpha’s ears.

Carefully craft God into your narrative. God won’t come down to protest or strike you for dressing up your thieving with his name. Remind those accusing you of corruption or oppression that the Lord is your strength and, therefore, no weapon shaped against you will prosper. If they have forgotten the most important verse in the Bible, remind them that “leaders come from God”.

By demanding for accountability from you, they are questioning God’s wisdom. Should all this fail, which is highly unlikely, stock your wardrobe with yellow clothes of all manner of designs. Make sure you add the logo, which you can guess.

Then wear these at every public event, with preliminary praises for the Alpha at the opening of every speech. Thank him for having transformed the country from scratch to one that is worth speaking about internationally. Announce that you have already started mobilising voters for the next elections. Dramatically kneel down and beg him to remain on the Main.

If you follow my advice keenly, accountability will forget your name, no matter how much the public shouts.


The author is a teacher of philosophy


0 #1 Akot 2023-05-18 20:41
Dr Jimmy Spire Ssentongo,

Uganda belongs to Museven & the only one who will replace him is the son! So corruption in his Uganda isn't his problem!

Museveni has brought Uganda just where he dreamed & planned & only NO to the tribalistic system he so so cleaverly put in place, then UNITY, will block & show him way out & stop his son waiting for the top post!

How old are Ugandans of Museveni's age still live & how? What will they leave for their children & grand kids?

Isn't it time the educated like you, wake Ugandans up to NO to the tribalistic system that makes them so so powerless face to migrant Museveni & family?

Only Ugandans, in UNITY, have the power to end Museveni's ownership of their land, then form the kind of governance they want! So why prefer Museveni & wait for the son to finally replace the dad?
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0 #2 Akot 2023-05-18 21:11
Majority of people above seem young & only know Museveni's Uganda! What will they do when he dies of old age, knowing only the son will replace the dad in the Uganda that's their family business?

Even tribal leaders will die of old age, leave their children, grand kids in the Uganda that is Museveni's family business!

Ugandans, as long as you are alright with the tribalistic system that goes against International Principle, you are alone with Museveni & family for good!

Tribalists Sudanesse at war get help from developed world & UN called for 3 billion dollars to ensure tribalists Sudanese get food!

No one talks about Ugandans tribally divided ruled & protect Museveni with fake elections every 5 years!
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0 #3 Lakwena 2023-05-19 08:56
Thanks Dr. Spire.

You made reference to annoying dogs that have the notoriety of not only sussuing on the cooking pot but also the expensive Benz' tire and towing buildings;and shamelessly walking away.

In other words, just like the dogs that e.g. don't pay rent, we feed and care for but susu on our cars, I strongly feel that our thieving politicians are stealing from us and sussu on us, and expect us to say "thank you" for the warm shower. .
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+5 #4 Lysol 2023-05-20 23:23
Corruption is everywhere in Uganda. Even some teachers sometimes ask for sexual favors from their students, in exchange of good grades.

Hopefully, Spire will write an article on that topic next time. It will expose sexual corruption in the education sector.
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0 #5 Akot 2023-05-22 18:47
Lakwena, thanks.

The "thank you" for the warm shower" is done by tribal leaders enjoying life silently while subjects ensure the tribalistic system!

Museveni doesn't have to do anything as Ugandans do everything to ensure his lifetime rule & family business!
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0 #6 Akot 2023-05-22 18:58
Lysol, understood!

Museveni must be very very happy as all Ugandans do is ensure his lifetime rule while his son is waiting to replace the dad!

It seems Ugandans got the ruler they longed for, so ensure they are tribally divided powerless, to ensure the family is protected from outside blames/interference!

So called opposition leaders know only NO to the tribalistic system & UNITY around just ONE of them will end Museveni's rule, yet non says a word, but all are waiting to legalise Museveni with next fake presidential election!

Every real Ugandans should by now know Museveni will rule with or without fake elections, unless tribal leaders stand down & UNITY blocks Rwandese Museveni & family who are now the real Ugandans!
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