President Museveni and Tanzania president John Pombe Magufuli on Friday held bilateral talks aimed at fostering development across the two countries at Masaka State lodge.
The discussions that involved ministers and technocrats from both sides centred mainly in the areas of transport, oil , hydropower and communication sector.
Addressing the media, both Museveni and Magufuli cited corruption in government institutions as hindrance to t development
Museveni promised to use similar methods of fighting corruption Magufuli has employed which include establishing special courts to try the corrupt.
Mr Museveni blamed his failure to fight corruption on bureaucracy and institutions which he said are used by corrupt people thus making the fight against corruption tricky.
“Whenever you try to take action of suspending a wrong doer, he runs to public service commission or courts of law for protection because wrong people are misusing institutions to protect themselves,” Mr Museveni said.
Uganda was ranked 151 of the 176 countries in the 2016 corruption perception index (CPI) annual report released by Transparency International.
“We shall not have to spend a lot of money on compensation of people where the oil pipe line will pass because a section of land where the oil pipeline will pass in Tanzania is belongs to government and the Tanzanians are not greedy as Ugandans who don’t cherish the benefits of the project ,but instead look at compensation and some end up exaggerating the value of their land.” He said
Mr Magufuli said that Tanzania was losing a lot of money to either ghost workers or students which prompted him to create new institutions to fight corruption to save the money the country was losing which money can be invested in other development projects.
Magufuli’s intolerance for corruption has won him attention and admiration within East Africa and worldwide two years after he took office as President of Tanzania.
Dr. Magufuli told journalist at State lodge Masaka that corruption had partly persisted in Tanzanian because the past leadership did not face it squarely. He spoke in Sawahili.
That is Magufil saying that when he took office in November 2017, he immediately slapped a ban on foreign travels by government officers and Ministers and that any travel would have to be sanctioned by a permit from himself.
Dr. Magufuli said he has personally limited his travels abroad as an example to his ministers and public servants.
He said fighting corruption also requires direction and determination by the top leadership like the Presidency and it also requires the leader to enforce it.
The press conference almost turned into an anti-corruption lecture as Dr. Magufuli outlined what his leadership has done in fighting corruption.
President Yoweri Museveni was attentively listening while some government officers present would occasionally clap and stamp their feet on the ground as Magufuli went on outlining some of the benefits from his intolerance against corruption and corrupt officers.
He said money saved from purging government of ghost workers, restricted travels abroad and other anti-corruption initiatives has been used to increase the country’s development budget from 26% to 40%.
Magufuli said it is from such savings that the government of Tanzania is funding its 726 kilometer Standard Gauge Railway at a cost of 7.1 trillion Tanzanian shillings.
President Yoweri Museveni in April vowed that all people involved in corruption if caught will be exposed and dealt with according to the law.
The threats was made after the arrest of his Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations Herbert Kabafunzaki. He said Kabafunzaki’s arrest was is just a taste of what is to come.
Museveni said Magufuli is succeeding in the war on corruption because he is not entertaining bureaucratic methods when dealing with the corrupt.
Dr. Magufuli however says corruption is yet to be eliminated from Tanzania but he said it is being fought heavily.
One of the journalists at the Press conference seemingly angered the Tanzanian leader when he asked whether Magufuli’s fight against corruption was not violating the rights of those that have summarily sacked over alleged corruption.
Magufuli said the government has to choose whether to continue with human rights or continue with corruption.
President Ywoeri Museveni observed that the corrupt are abusing the majority of the citizens.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a report last year observed that corrupt behavior can distort the allocation of funding within health and education systems.
It said in in the mid-1990s, the first public expenditure tracking survey (PETS) in Uganda revealed that during 1991 – 95 on average only 13 percent of government education grants reached schools and that more recently, a similar study in Tanzania in 2009 found that about 37 percent of money intended for education was lost.
In a joint communique read by Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa, the two leaders agreed among others to first track the construction of the crude oil pipeline expected to commence in 2018. Uganda is expected to spend 12 trillion on the project.