COVID-19: MORALS OVER EMPATHY IN THE MISUSE OF PUBLIC FUNDS. A CASE OF UGANDA IN COMPARISON WITH SELECTED EAST AFRICAN STATES, PP. 1-11
This paper investigates the extent to which public resources, allocated for addressing the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, were misappropriated despite the dire need to combat the effect of the pandemic in Uganda. Using a qualitative approach, it employs a multipronged technique to analyse relevant documentation such as newspaper reports, audit reports, case studies and written sources to examine the different responses and perspectives. Inevitably, the novel coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on Uganda’s economy with unprecedented levels of deterioration in socio-economic systems like healthcare, education, poverty and hunger.
However, widespread concerns have emerged citing trends of corruption exemplified by embezzlement and fraudulent practices purportedly orchestrated by relevant government authorities in the form of undermining public procurement processes, under the guise of addressing an emergency. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the weakness and challenges manifested by the lack of adequate measures to instil accountability mechanisms, ineffective lapses in systems, outright allegations of inability to produce payment evidence such as receipts, flouting procurement procedures, and provision of substandard food items. The paper highlights the fact that many of the shortcomings of the state to manage the pandemic can be attributed to the culture of corruption and impunity over misuse of public resources that have continued to adversely impact the social-economic rights of the citizens throughout this period of the COVID-19 pandemic.