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Measuring Corruption at the Village Level: Experience From an Integrated Process in Uganda

NCJ Number
Peter Langseth Ph.D.
Date Published
December 1999
19 pages
This report describes the anti-corruption efforts undertaken in Uganda and assesses their progress after 5 years.
Uganda stands at a crossroads in its journey back from the political and institutional chaos of the 1970's and 1980's. Then, corruption and malingering became an intrinsic part of the reward system, fully exploited by most. When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) took power in 1986 after decades of strong-man rule, it led the country into dramatic structural changes, including military demobilization, civil service reform, and constitutional reform. The NRM also introduced parliamentary and local district council elections, economic liberalization, and administrative decentralization. Rebuilding ethics and integrity has been a priority for NRM's action program. The Office of Inspector-General of Government (IGG) was created early in the reform process (1986) and has since become a key advocate of the rule of law and the reduction of corruption. A Leadership Code of Ethics was adopted in 1992; it forbids influence peddling, private use of public information, and other forms of corruption. Still, after almost 5 years of reform efforts in Uganda, both the government and international donors have realized that the extent and depth of corruption was underestimated. Consequently, the strategy to control the situation was inadequate. The situation in Uganda remains serious, both in term of petty corruption and grand corruption. A countrywide assessment of corruption has been widely disseminated and has stimulated discussion about corruption from the central government to isolated villages. The next country assessment will show whether or not reform objectives have been met. 21 footnotes and 5 suggested readings