Background

In 1986 when the NRM government came to power, there was widespread corruption caused mainly by moral decadence and a general lack of values. This was evidenced by the political instability and economic degeneration that Uganda went through after the military government came in power in 1971.

In 1988 the Inspectorate of Government was established in addition to the then existing Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), and the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) to effectively address the issue of corruption and accountability in Uganda.

Despite the above efforts by government, the country remained engulfed in corruption. This led to a deeply held perception by the general populace that government had lost the battle against corruption.

Indeed at that time, the performance of institutions fighting corruption had been severely hindered by many factors. These factors included the lack of moral values; a situation that steered the culture of condoning corruption by the public, inadequate laws and poor enforcement of these laws as well as excessive bureaucracy. Inadequate funding and the 
absence of a government system to coordinate the struggle against corruption escalated 
the problem.

In view of the above, to sustain the fight against corruption, the IGG, DPP, CIID and OAG, agreed having the following as critical:

1.  a strong political will towards the fight against corruption

2.  a coordinating machinery that enjoys the political clout

3.  adequate resources towards the fight against corruption

4.  committed and qualified staff in the anti-corruption institutions

5.  the good will of the public and

6.  a conducive political environment

It  is  on  the  above  basis  that  the  Office  of  the  President  was  tasked  to  provide  a government coordinating machinery in the fight against corruption in Uganda.

In 1996, His Excellency the President of Uganda, in accordance with Article 99 (4) of the 
Constitution  of  the  Republic  of  Uganda (1995)  which  empowers  him  to  designate

responsibilities to any institution or agency to help him perform functions as prescribed in clause (1) assigned the Vice President the responsibility of overseeing the fight against corruption as the campaign had not reached the desired level.

To assist the Vice President in this work, an Anti-Corruption Unit was established in March  1996.  Cabinet then  endorsed  this unit  in  February  1997  and  mandated  it  to coordinate the anti-corruption activities and also play a public relations role.

Cabinet endorsed the following strategies to be used by the Anti-Corruption Unit in the Office of the Vice President:

1.  To adopt a sector - by - sector approach to coordinate the anti-corruption agencies
      and ensure that they effectively perform. Under this approach, the Office of the Vice
      President was to also coordinate all anti-corruption activities in the country.

2.  To coordinate and strengthen the capacity of the anti-corruption institutions in terms
      of staffing, equipment (technology) training and logistics and to ensure efficiency and
      effectiveness in their operations.

3.  Create a policy and legal framework that can prevent and fight corruption. This entails
      establishing  and  reviewing  policies  and  laws  that  relate  to  or  provide  for
      anti-corruption   and   ensure   their   enforcement   and   the   creation   of   Special
      Anti-Corruption Court.

4.  Sensitize and mobilize the public to play its vital role in combating corruption, by
      reporting corrupt officials and increasing pressure on leaders to be transparent and
      accountable.

5.  Cooperate with other governments and international agencies to adopt measures
      that will effectively address corruption in the global dimensions.

6.  Strengthen ethical values in society in a bid to develop an anti-corruption culture. This
      entails  promotion  and  development  of  Codes  of  Conduct  for  leaders  and  all
      professions.

7.  Promote the creation of a National Integrity Movement at national and grass roots
      levels.

8.  Inculcate  an  anti-corruption  culture  in  the  youth  by  introducing  courses  on
      anti-corruption in the school curricula.

In 1998, it was observed that there was still a vacuum in addressing the escalating moral decadence in the Ugandan society yet it was a major driver of corruption. The need to provide a proactive and holistic approach to the fight against corruption was strongly expressed. This led to the re-designation of the Anti-Corruption Coordination Unit to what is presently known as the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity (DEI) as the policy arm in the fight against corruption. The DEI was given an additional role of rebuilding ethics and integrity in the Ugandan Society.

The DEI is established as the Secretariat for the Inter - Agency Forum in the fight against corruption (IAF). The IAF is a coordinating mechanism for institutions that are mandated to enhance accountability and fight corruption at the central government level. Currently the IAF is comprised of 19 member institutions.