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Title: Performing "good governance" : commissions of inquiry and the fight against corruption in Uganda
Author: Kirya, Monica T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 3192
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis investigates the role of temporary, ad hoc commissions of inquiry appointed to investigate corruption in Uganda from 1999 to the present. It is based on a qualitative research study that involved analysing the relevant literature, official documents such as inquiry reports, newspaper reports and web-based materials; as well as interviews and focus group discussions. The study locates itself in an analysis of and inter-relationship between two dynamics - of global 'good' governance, and of the influence of neo-patrimonial politics that characterise local governance - on the appointment, processes and outcomes of commissions of inquiry into corruption in Uganda. In looking at these factors, the thesis aims at explaining why the institution of the ad hoc commission of inquiry has emerged as the anti-corruption "instrument of choice" during this period of Uganda's history. The findings suggest that the global anti-corruption framework signified by the good governance agenda is hindered by various factors such as the self-interest of donors, the moral hazard inherent in aid and the illegitimacy of conditionality; all of which contribute to the weak enforcement of governance-related conditionalities. This in turn causes aid-recipient countries such as Uganda to do only the minimum necessary to keep up appearances in implementing governance reforms. National anti-corruption is further hindered by the government's tendency to undermine anti-corruption by selective or non-enforcement of the law, the rationale being to insulate the patronage networks that form the basis of its political support from being dismantled by the prosecution of key patrons involved in corruption. Thus, the need to appear to be a "good governor" whilst protecting patrons from possible prosecution necessitates a symbolic approach to anti-corruption that nonetheless seems authentic. Ad hoc commissions of inquiry chaired by judges, which facilitate a highly publicised inquisitorial truth-finding process, therefore emerge as the ideal way of tackling corruption because they facilitate "a trial in which no-one is sent to jail." Commissions of inquiry into corruption in Uganda have therefore played a complex and multiple role in anti-corruption and governance in Uganda. They enabled the government to prove its credentials as a good governor especially at a time when it was being discredited for its reluctance to adopt a multi-party system of government. They also served to appease a public that was appalled by the various corruption scandals perpetrated by a regime that had claimed to introduce "a fundamental change and not a mere change of guards" in Uganda's politics. Nevertheless, while they enabled the regime to consolidate power by appeasing donors and the public, they also constituted significant democratic moments in Uganda‘s history by allowing the public- acting through judges and the media- to participate in holding their leaders accountable for their actions in a manner hitherto unseen in a country whose history had been characterised by dictatorial rule.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSCUK) ; British Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JQ Political institutions (Asia ; Africa ; Australia ; Pacific Area ; etc.)