Uganda has made regular appearances in the Global Integrity Report, with national assessments in each of the past three years, and and another to be released in February with the upcoming Global Integrity Report: 2009. Why do we continue to include Uganda on our short-list? Because the African country is an extreme example of the distance between laws on the books and the reality of putting those anti-corruption safeguards into practice.
Starting in 2007, Global Integrity began publishing “implementation gaps” tracking the distance between the legal framework and the actual enforcement of transparency and accountability regulations. Uganda’s legal scores are the best we have ever seen, scoring a near perfect 99.6 of a possible 100 in the latest assessment. But when it comes to following and enforcing these rules Uganda scores very weak, below the global median. Nowhere else in the world have we seen an implementation gap this large, though less extreme cases are found in several aid recipient countries and countries in the former Soviet Union.
We’re not the only one to notice what’s happening in Uganda. This article published by Inter Press Service highlights the political ramifications preventing the enforcement of asset disclosure policies for political parties and elected officials. As Joshua Kyalimpa reports, asset disclosures are typically not collected and rarely audited or scrutinized in any meaningful way. Opposition parties don’t want to alienate their corporate sponsors and the election commission lacks the power to go after the incumbent party. This lack of monitoring creates a dangerous potential for monetary influence in politics. Kyalimpa’s piece highlights data from the Global Integrity Report in addition to candid quotes from interviews with high ranking government and party officials to prove his point that politics and power dynamics in Uganda are highly influential in the (low) implementation of anti-corruption safeguards.
— Norah Mallaney