Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Will The Ugandan Githongo Please Stand Up

It is hard to avoid John Githongo these days. The publicity generated by his starring role in Michela Wrong's excellent 'It's Our Turn to Eat' has once again catapulted him to the forefront of Kenyan politics. He is staring out of the latest edition of the Kenyan aspirational men's magazine 'Adam' and is on the cover of the East African version of The Africa Report (which is, by the way, vital bimonthly reading). His vision is to launch a new grassroots political party cutting across tribe and based on the principle of honest and effective government. Many African Governments will be watching (not least in Uganda) with interest, and a little trepidation, to see whether he succeeds. But this got me thinking: where is the Ugandan John Githongo? Is there any one individual who we can really say is carrying the fight against corruption in this country?

Once upon a time it would have been Teddy Cheeye, who ran an underground paper exposing corruption called 'Uganda Confidential'. However, Cheeye's fall from grace has been spectacular and he now resides in Luzira prison having been sentenced to 10 years for stealing money meant for the victims of HIV/AIDS and TB from the Global Fund. Current candidates are painfully thin on the ground. Faith Mwondha, the Inspector General of Government, has had some successes but suspicion remains that certain individuals and ministries are given an easy ride. Andrew Mwenda has done a huge amount for press freedom in Uganda, and has repeatedly embarrassed the Government, but he is just as likely to do this in the fields of human rights and nepotism as he is in corruption.

So, to paraphrase Eminem, will the Ugandan Githongo please stand up?

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