Action aid has unveiled the 2019 national integrity and service awards in which members of the public will participate in voting the government officials who have had an impact in fighting corruption in the country.
Speaking during the launch of the awards at Royal Suites hotel in Kampala, Xavier Ejoyi, the Action Aid Uganda Country Director said the awards will see members of the public nominate government officials they think have had a contribution in as far as integrity is concerned and later, a select committee will come up with the final winners.
“We have realized it is important to empower citizens to join efforts in fighting corruption by recognizing men and women who are championing the values of integrity in this country,”Ejoyi said.
He explained that because corruption has become a syndicate especially the public sector, there is need to see that members of the public take part in fighting the vice that has eaten up the country.
According to the organisers, the public will vote public servant who has exhibited a specific act of integrity, honesty and moral courage and that it may be in form of recovery of a lost item, report anomalies, standing up against corruption or valuing time commitment for public service.
“It may be an individual who always honors their word, fulfilling their commitment almost without failure like reporting to work on time especially in difficult times or going beyond the call of duty,”Ejoyi explained.
The nominee, according to the organisers must have been consistent in applying the values of integrity, is honest and fair in their dealings.
The Action Aid Uganda Country Director noted that the nominee should be a respectable member in society contributing their efforts, time talent and resources to the betterment of their community.
“Nominees shall be drawn from Ugandan citizens who are currently or who have in the recent past held a position in public office whether paid or voluntary,” he noted.
A 2018 report by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) titled ‘Bi-annual Inspectorate of Government Performance report to Parliament’ released in July indicated that district civil servants are the most corrupt public officials in the country.
The report further indicated that most registered complaints were abuse of office at 18 percent, embezzlement at 7% and corruption at 6.9%.
However, according to Nickson Ogwal, the Action Aid Uganda Director in charge of Business and Development, the winners of the past editions of the awards have had an impact on fighting corruption.
“The past icons of integrity and service awards are now champions in their own communities and are listened to as icons. They are also mentoring people whereas they(people) are seeing these icons as their new hope,”Ogwal said.
He noted that the awards are mainly focusing on the public service not because it the only place where corruption thrives but noted that because the office bearers are elected or are appointed on behalf of the people, they must be accountable to them.
According to officials, members of the public will nominate public officials they think have taken the lead in the fight against corruption at regional level where three nominees from each region will be selected.
“The top three nominees will be determined by ascertaining the individual with the highest number of nominations and the three nominees from all the regions will be forwarded to the national vetting committee,” the Action Uganda Country Director said.
He said the committee comprising five Ugandans with integrity and contribution in public office will review the profiles of all the 27 nominees from all sub-regions.
The committee will then come up with the winner who will be unveiled on December 4, 2019.
The national integrity and service awards are organised in conjunction with the Inspectorate of Government, Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda, Transparency International and the Directorate of Integrity and Ethics in the office of the President.