Ugandan anti-corruption officer likened to Cornelius in the Bible

Edith Nakalema, centre, kneels in prayer led by Church of Uganda Archbishop Dr Stephen Kaziimba (PHOTO: File Photo@edthnaka).

Originally published in Uganda Christian News

Cornelius was a devout man and one who feared God — Acts 10:2

Lt Col Edith Nakalema, the head of the Ugandan State House anti-corruption unit, has been likened to Cornelius, whose story is told in Acts 10.

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The Bible describes him as a devout man who feared the God of Israel just as his entire household did. He was also a man who gave generously to charity and regularly prayed to God.

Speaking during a “scientific” prayer service in Kampala last Saturday, Church of Uganda Archbishop Dr Stephen Kaziimba likened Nakalema to Cornelius and credited her for moving in the footsteps of her parents who he said were God-fearing.

“I am sure Nakalema is getting a lot of criticism from the public for her work but I have told her that God is on her side. Even when nobody appreciates, God does,” he said.

Launched by President Yoweri Museveni in December 2018, the unit was formed to coordinate the anti-corruption activities with law enforcement agencies by acting as his eyes and ears in the fight.

They were equipped with telephone and text messaging platforms that enable whistle-blowers to pass on information on corruption anonymously.

Kaziimba encouraged the unit to remain committed even in the face of criticism. Like Cornelius, through whom the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit, the archbishop explained that God can use ordinary people for extraordinary purposes.

“I implore you to take Cornelius’s example and remain hospitable, generous to the poor and commit yourself to prayer,” he said.

In his prayer, he asked God to re-energise the unit in its continued fight against corruption. He challenged the workers to remain focused and cautioned them against fighting each other.

“We receive between 150 000 and 200 000 complaints a day through phone calls, WhatsApp messages, and on other social media platforms and we labour to respond to them. I am always here running after my workers and rebuking them over a number of shortcomings, but I also feel sympathetic towards them for I overwork these people,” Nakalema said about her job.

A state-linked news daily quotes Nakalema as saying due to lots of pressure at their workplace since the country went into Covid-19 lockdown, her team, including 13 police investigators and call-centre workers, hardly get time to sit down and appreciate one another.

Those recognised during the prayer service included Israel Ochwo, Nakalema’s principal legal officer. Others were the deputy director of public prosecutions, Alice Komuhangi Kaukha, Faith Katana, Peter Kahigi, Andrew Kaukha, Joyce Ombanya, Joyce Loyce, SP Jackson Tweheyo, Captain Martin Orach and Amos Ngolobi and SP Tanga Ogema.

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