Anti Corruption Coalition advert is a waste of time and money!


Dear UAH,

Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda advises Ugandans in a money-wasting ad that ‘any money demanded by Courts that is not paid to the bank is a bribe’. The example they use in the ad is a frustrated woman whose son’s ‘case-file’ is ‘lost’ in a pile and never comes up for hearing. This advert is a waste of time and money:
1) Paying money through the right channels will NEVER get your beloved’s file into court;
2) There is no official channel through which someone can pay in the bank to fast-track the hearing of your case, yet bribery works wonders if you work as a winning team with the judicial officer;
3) The ROOT CAUSE of delays is that there are tonnes of cases with very few judges, who have 200 days of leave/workshops per year.

I think these NGOs are bogus money making/ PR outfits – in this case, they should be addressing the root cause of the problem other than promoting wishful thinking. If not, they should advise Ugandans how to negotiate for a discount on suggested bribes, because:
1) In the next 20 years, there seems to be no sensible solution to the backlog
2) However many adverts these bogus NGOs blurt, Ugandans will continue to suffer from demands for bribes and
3) It costs much less to pay some level of bribe to get a frustrated judicial/police officer out of your way than to follow the ethical path and
4) It makes economic sense that if many people pay bribes, the price of a bribe on the bribe market will go down.

Who doesn’t know that traffic officers are put on the roads with ‘bribe solicitation targets’ by their bosses? Ask General KK privately and he would tell you the truth. Yes! The police arrested a man who had stolen my side mirror as I went to withdraw money. When I came from the ATM, a ‘police officer’ was waiting by my car told me I HAD to go to the police station and make a ‘Statement’. I resisted but he insisted ‘the State was interested in the case, whether I was interested or not’. By the time I left the station, they had not only squeezed 80,000 from the petty-thief’s relatives but they had wasted 1 hour of my time. Then they kept ‘summoning me to court’. They gave up after I skipped 4 court sessions – that was 6 months down the road – Imagine what that ka-thief went through and how a well positioned bribe could have saved him the pain, with sufficient repentance – the mirror which he stole costs 40,000 without the shell

Therefore,as long as the root causes of the vice of bribery are not addressed, the wisest advert should be about teaching people how to negotiate for a lower bribe – the rest will only keep your relative in the ditch, and if you are not careful, your beloved might be demoted to a shit bucket emptier in the prisoners’ role structure.

The same advert emphasizes the need to report whoever demands for money (bribery) to police! Empisi esala omusango gw’enyama!

Rahimu Jabendo

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