UGANDA HAS NO POLITICAL WILL TO END EXTREME POVERTY AS REGIONAL DISPARITIES MANIFEST ITSELF

 

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A typical grandmother in rural northern region has to take care of her grandchildren.

Uganda’s success is not without caveats. In 2013, more than a third of its citizens lived below the international extreme poverty line of US$1.90 a day….For every three Ugandans that moved out of poverty, two fell into poverty. Poverty has also become increasingly concentrated in the Northern and Eastern regions of the country”

“It is true that there are disparities in economic development. This is not a new thing. The north and east have always lagged behind”

“Is there anything worth mentioning which NUSAF and PRDP have done? The government has no political will to develop the north, but if you see in terms of figures spent in northern Uganda, you won’t believe”

GULU-UGANDA: According to World Bank’s Poverty Assessment report 2016, despite the substantial progress that has been sustained over two decades to end extreme poverty, Uganda remains a very poor country with glaring disparities.

Poverty has become increasingly concentrated in the Northern and Eastern regions of the country as the Central and Western regions have experienced more rapid poverty reduction.

“However, Uganda’s success is not without caveats. In 2013, more than a third of its citizens lived below the international extreme poverty line of US$1.90 a day….For every three Ugandans that moved out of poverty, two fell into poverty. Poverty has also become increasingly concentrated in the Northern and Eastern regions of the country”, part of the abridged version of the report reads.

In 2006, approximately 68% percent of the poor lived in northern and eastern parts of the country. Seven years later, this proportion increased to 84% percent. Poverty has fallen in all regions, but gains have been slower in poorer Northern and Eastern regions.

The annual percent reduction in poverty has been almost twice as high in the Central and Western regions (7.4% and 7.9% percent respectively) than in the Northern and Eastern regions (3.1% and 4.7% percent respectively).

The report shows that high growth from 2006 to 2010 benefited poverty reduction. Although growth slowed for all households from 2010, poor households were able to maintain above average consumption growth and poverty did not falter.

Agricultural income growth particularly benefited poor households aided by peace in northern Uganda, improved regional markets, and good weather.

The Director of the Uganda Media Center and Government spokesman, Mr. Ofwono-Opondo, says the disparity in economic development between northern and eastern regions; as compared to that of Central and Western regions, has always been there but not a creation of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government.

“It is true that there are disparities in economic development. This is not a new thing. The north and east have always lagged behind” says Ofwono-Opondo.

He says the government is trying to address the disparities in economic development through affirmative action programs like the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) and the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF).

He says the problem has been acerbated by the conflict in neighboring South Sudan which has affected the regional markets for our agricultural produce and is also straining Uganda’s resources.

Informal export from Uganda to South Sudan grew enormously between 2005 and 2008 before the latest round of conflict in south Sudan from US$9.1 million dollars in 2005 to US$929.9 million dollars in 2008. Formal exports also increased, but less dramatically, from US$50.5 million in 2005 to $245.9 million dollars in 2008, according to International Alert report.

“For the north to catch up quickly, there is need to restore stability in South Sudan and the region to move away from rain-fed agricultural practice to irrigation”, says Mr. Ofwono-Opondo.

According to the former Member of Parliament for Chua County in Kitgum district, Mr. John Livingstone Okellokello, the government of dictator President Yoweri Museveni has no “political will” to bridge the gap in disparities between the north and the rest of the country.

He says money which is supposed to develop northern region like NUSAF and PRDP are always stolen by the people recruited on sectarian basis.

“Is there anything worth mentioning which NUSAF and PRDP have done? The government has no political will to develop the north, but if you see in terms of figures spent in northern Uganda, you won’t believe” says the former legislator.

According a member of the National Planning Authority (NPA), Professor Sam Obwoya Kinyera; the north has a lot of potential to develop and catch up with the rest of the country if the region adopts industrialization and educating the children.

“It is true the war took us so many years behind other regions which have been peaceful and their children were getting good education. We need youth empowerment because economic growth depends on education. Western Uganda is high because the people there are educated and have own income”, says the Professor.

A typical poor grandmother in rural northern Uganda

http://www.blackstarnews.com/global-politics/africa/uganda-has-no-political-will-to-end-extreme-poverty-as

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UGANDA: JAPANESE NGO BRINGS SMILES TO FORMER LRA VICTIMS THROUGH VOCATIONAL TRAINING

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Ms. Harriet Kilak, demonstrating how to design dresses

“I would like to take this opportunity to send our appreciation to Terra Renaissance for giving us the opportunity to do our vocational training here. Most of us had no opportunity to study because of the LRA war. We had no opportunity to continue with studies. Other students who went through this training are now self-reliant”

“I grew up and was raised by a single mother during the most trying moments of the war in northern Uganda. I am doing training in tailoring and dress designing. Before coming here, I didn’t know how to operate a sewing machine. When I graduate next year, I intend to start up a tailoring school at my village in Lukome”

GULU-UGANDA: I mistook twenty-six-year-old Ms. Harriet Kilak to be one of the trainers of former child soldiers and victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who undergo vocational training at the Terra Renaissance Support Center for Self-Reliance, yet she is one of the trainees at the center herself.

As one of the invited guests to the 4th graduation ceremony of Terra Renaissance’s 7th beneficiaries, I arrived at this center at about 9.30 am local time (6.30 GMT). Ms. Kilak, who was dressed like Uganda’s first lady, Ms. Janet Museveni, with a black & white spotted dress and a cow-boy straw hat, was busy arranging flowers on the chief guest’s table.

I learnt much later during the course of the day, that she was actually not one of the tutors, but a student, after she was requested by management to come forward and a make a speech as a head girl.

“I would like to take this opportunity to send our appreciation to Terra Renaissance for giving us the opportunity to do our vocational training here. Most of us had no opportunity to study because of the LRA war. We had no opportunity to continue with studies. Other students who went through this training are now self-reliant”, she says.

It is now very difficult to comprehend how our unfortunate brothers and sisters, who wore scars of the brutal  war ten years ago, just like Ms. Kilak, has transformed and recovered through the assistances of some NGOs like Terra Renaissance or through personal resilience.

In the case of Ms. Kilak, her father, the late Andrew Latim Ogol, was killed during the insurgency when she was only three years old. She and two other siblings were raised up by her mother, Auma Vicky, from Lukodi protected internally displaced camp where in 2004, 56 civilians were killed by the LRA. Her mother could not afford to educate her beyond senior four at Gulu Army Secondary School.

“I grew up and was raised by a single mother during the most trying moments of the war in northern Uganda. I am now doing training in tailoring and dress designing. Before coming here, I didn’t know how to operate a sewing machine. When I graduate next year, I intend to start up a tailoring school at my village in Lukome”, says Ms. Kilak.

The Center, which is intended to promote reintegration of former child soldiers and victims of LRA rebellion in northern Uganda, provide vocational training in tailoring and dress design, handicraft, carpentry & joinery and small scale business management to enable the trainees be able to generate own income for self-reliance.

The center, which was established in 2006, is being supported by a Japanese Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Terra Renaissance through funding from that country’s tax-payers and is located in Kanyagoga “A” village, Kanyagoga Parish in Bardege Division in Gulu City.

Another graduates,  27-year-old Ms. Monica Akwero, did not only drop out of school in Primary six from Lalogi sub-county, Omoro district, but she was also abducted by the LRA in 2003 until 2004 and defiled while in captivity. She is now sharing graduation with her three-year old daughter Prossy while in LRA captivity.

Just like Ms. Kilak, it is difficult to know that Ms. Akwero was a former LRA abductee by her looks unless she tells you. She is happily married to a new husband and is determined to educate all her children even without support from her husband, but through tailoring and other economic enterprises she does back home.

“I used to despise tailoring profession, but through the training I had, I now find it a very profitable profession. Vocational profession does not want laziness. I am now determined to buy land and design sewing machines to establish a tailoring school in Lalogi” says Ms. Akwero.

The Regional Manager of the NGO, Mr. Tatsujiro Suzuka, says the mission of his organization is “to restore the dignity, self-esteem and welfare for the disadvantaged through community based psychosocial and economic interventions, as we move towards a society of self-reliance and a total transformation of the society for a peaceful co-existence”.

The Chief Guest, Rwot Yusuf Adek of Pageya Kingdom, told the grandaunts that he was arrested by the government thirteen times in the course of the rebellion because he was trying to broker a peaceful resolution of the conflict which could have resulted in Acholi losing their land.

“I met Kony in 2005 in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo and I briefed him on the plight of the people caused by the war. I told him that the Acholi would lose their land through government plan of establishing permanent settlement while in camps in the region. I told him not to turn his guns on innocent civilians but face the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF)”, says Rwot Adek.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was founded by a former catechist in the Catholic Church, Joseph Kony, thirty years ago with the supposed aim of overthrowing the government of President Yoweri Museveni and rule Uganda according to the biblical Ten Commandments.

His campaign of terror, which went on for over twenty years until 2006,  has claimed at least 100,000 lives and drove 2.5 million people from their homes in northern Uganda. As many as 100,000 children have fallen into the hands of the LRA, being forced to fight or enslaved as sex slaves; or as porters.

Writing in the Telegraph newspaper on March 03, 2016, Aislinn Loiling, reported that the LRA abducted 200 people in the months of January and February 2016 alone while Associate Director of Enough Project says the new attacks indicates that Kony’s LRA “is not yet down and out”.

UGANDA: $100 MILLION SPENT ON “MEDICAL TOURISM” CAN PAY STRIKING MEDICAL DOCTORS-JOACHIM BUWEMBO

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Dictator Museveni, who is reported to have siphoned off $230 million to an off-shore account in the Cayman Islands, displays his cows to Ugandans.

“Without reducing the number of actually sick beneficiaries of its medical tourism expenditure (we don’t want to completely annoy the powerful managers of our natural resources), government can just cut out their shopping allowances and the non-vital joyriders who accompany them, and pay well doctors in hospitals who treat the vast majority of unconnected Ugandans”, says Mr. Buwembo.

 

“Minus 52 Sundays and a dozen public holidays, Uganda pays one million dollars every three days of the year to take members of lucky families and their companions on medical adventures abroad. Half of that (50 million dollars) could raise each of the striking 1,500 doctors’ monthly salary by $30,000 dollars per doctor”.

 

GULU-UGANDA:  Industrial strikes by medical doctors who work in government hospitals has entered its third week, thereby paralyzing works in government health facilities across the country.

As if that is not bad enough for Uganda, industrial strikes by public prosecutors have entered its second month bringing congestions in our detention facilities like prisons and police stations since suspects of criminal nature cannot be produced before court without these striking prosecutors.

Industrial strikes are not new to government who has always dealt with them in ad hoc manner. Those who held industrial strikes before include teachers of primary schools, lecturers in institutions of higher learning, non-teaching staffs at public universities; nurses and midwives; among others.

Each time strike occurs; government negotiates with the umbrella body of those striking and has always partly fulfilled their demands.

Ugandans have been discussing the strikes by medical doctors on social media a lot lately and many blame government for encouraging such strikes instead of dealing with the problem of salary disparities in public sector comprehensively and head-on.

According to one commentator on social media, Mr. Joachim Buwembo, Uganda government spends between $100million-$300 million dollars annually on “medical tourism” for VIP’s families to travel abroad to seek medical services, yet the total amount government budgeted for health services in the current financial year is a paltry $0.5million dollars.

 

“Without reducing the number of actually sick beneficiaries of its medical tourism expenditure (we don’t want to completely annoy the powerful managers of our natural resources), government can just cut out their shopping allowances and the non-vital joyriders who accompany them, and pay well doctors in hospitals who treat the vast majority of unconnected Ugandans”, says Mr. Buwembo.

 

He says the 1,500 striking doctors who work in government health facilities need a maximum of $50 million dollars to satisfy their needs but Uganda pays one million dollars every three days of the year to take members of lucky families and their companions on medical adventures abroad.

“Minus 52 Sundays and a dozen public holidays, Uganda pays one million dollars every three days of the year to take members of lucky families and their companions on medical adventures abroad. Half of that (50 million dollars) could raise each of the striking 1,500 doctors’ monthly salary by $30,000 dollars per doctor”, asserts Mr. Buwembo.

There has been mixed reactions from government. In fact, Mr Museveni has ordered military and police medical officers to immediately replace the striking health workers in hospitals across the country. The two institutions have however responded by inviting members of the public to seek treatment in their health facilities instead. While dictator Museveni issued threats of dismissal from government payroll, the minister of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng is using a softer language of appeal.

 

“Government appeals to all medical doctors to return to work immediately as their concerns are being addressed”, appeals Dr. Aceng.

 

The highest workers in public institutions includes the Governor of Bank of Uganda, Mr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile who earns colossal shs.50 million (about $14,000 dollars); Ms. Jennifer Musisi of Kampala Capital City Authority who earns shs.43 million (about $12,000 dollars); Ms. Doris Akol of Uganda Revenue Authority who earns shs.40 million (about $11,000 dollars); Mr. Richard Byarugaba of National Social Security Fund, who earns shs.39 million (about $10,800 dollars); and Mr. Robert Kabusenga of the Vision Group who earns shs.37.3 million (about $10,277 dollars a month.

 

While those managers of government corporate bodies earn in tens of millions of shillings, their counterparts, who have the same qualifications, but are in government ministries earn far less.

An intern doctor, for instance earns just shs. 960,000 (about $270 dollars). The striking doctors want him moved to shs.8.5 million (about $2360 dollars per month). The lowest public prosecutor who earns shs.645, 000 is now demanding shs.9 million ($2,500 dollars).

 

The committee tasked to review salaries for public servants has proposed big increases for different categories, which if effected will more than double the wage bill from the current shs.3.5 trillion (about $97.2 million dollars) to shs.6.4 trillion (about $177 million dollars).

The committee, which is supposed to submit its report at the end of November 2017, is intended to eliminate pay disparities and ensure pay enhancement across the public sector.

“It is not necessary to go on industrial action. I am on your side. I want scientists, pilots, doctors and other professionals to get what they would earn in the market if they were working outside the country”, says Museveni, in a softer voice.

According to a leaked report by a German publication, The Suddeutsche Zeitung, Dictator Museveni has siphoned away $230 million dollars from Uganda and banked it in an off-shore account at the Cayman Islands.

UGANDA: YOUTHS EXPLORE LIFE CHANGING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH SOCIALIZING AND SPORTS

YOUTHS TRAINING

Uganda youths use social events like sports to get employment opportunities.

“I had to quit that job after only one and half months because of poor pay and yet I was supposed to work extra hours”

“When a pig is hungry, it will eat its own piglets. Our government has become greedy like a pig and so we are telling our brothers and sisters that our problem can only be solved by us”

“Sometimes I would spend the whole week without money. I am now trying to get exposure through attending social events like this football tournament, where corporate bodies also attend, with the sole aim of getting rewarding employment”

GULU-UGANDA: What if, after several years of studying in an intense degree program at the university, you graduate, only to find out that there are no jobs within your field? This is very frustrating. Most graduates end up doing odd jobs outside their qualifications for meager pay just to survive.

According to Mr. Wilber Watmon Jaramogi, his first job after graduating with a higher certificate in Software Engineering in December 2016, was that of a cashier and as an assistant manager at a pork roasting joint in Gulu city. He was being paid only shs.100, 000/= (less than $30 dollars) per month.

“I had to quit that job after only one and half months because of poor pay and yet I was supposed to work extra hours”, says Mr. Watmon.

Although Mr. Watmon applied for different job opportunities, or even starting his own business, he was lucky in getting his foot in the job market. He was being told to wait for jobs while his business venture had not picked up.

“Sometimes I would spend the whole week without money. I am now trying to get exposure through attending social events like this football tournament, where corporate bodies also attend, with the sole aim of getting rewarding employment”, says Mr. Watmon.

The football tournament was organized by the Operation Manager of Queen’s Apartment, 24-year old law graduate, Mr. Anderiya Ono Langoya, on Saturday, November 11, 2017 as part of the activities to unveil the new family business located in the heart of Gulu to corporate bodies; and also to bring youths together to network with such bodies.

“Many youths in Uganda who leave college find it difficult to get employment. As a business, we thought it prudent to bring together with corporate bodies so that they interact.  Who knows, some of the youths can get employment opportunities”, says Anderiya.

He says much as they would like to hold such tournament ever year; funding, getting the corporate bodies to sponsor and the political will to support the youths are lacking in our leaders.

23-year old Ms. Linda Alouise Mary, a graduate from Makerere University who specialized in Ethics and Human Rights, says getting a job in Uganda depends on the kind of connection you have in workplaces and money to facilitate your job hunt  ‘bribe’ employers.

“You have to know someone in the working environment in order to get employed and also to bribe them. You are not taken in if you don’t have money”, says Linda.

According to statistics available in the public domain, unemployment rate in Uganda increased to 2.28% (percent) in 2016 from 2.15% (percent) in 2015.  The average unemployment rate per annum, from 1991 to 2016, stands at 2.41% (percent), yet universities and other institutions of higher learning send out not less than 700,000 every year up from 400,000 in 2012, according to the Daily Monitor of January 17, 2012.

A study conducted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBS) indicates that between 5% (percent) to 13% (percent) of Uganda youths are unemployed more so, most of  the idle youths are also not actively seeking work.

On June 17, 2014, a group of unemployed youths in Uganda, calling themselves: ‘Jobless Brotherhood’, took three piglets that were painted with yellow color to Uganda parliamentary building in order to tell the world that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government is composed of ‘greedy’ leaders. The color “yellow” is NRM party color.

“When a pig is hungry, it will eat its own piglets. Our government has become greedy like a pig and so we are telling our brothers and sisters that our problem can only be solved by us”, says Mr. Robert Mayanja, one of the leaders of Jobless Brotherhood.

In January 2005, another group of youths which calls itself “Unemployed Youths”, were arrested and detained when they tried to register unemployed youths in Uganda to present to parliament.

Corruption, nepotism, tribalism, bribery, low pay, delayed pay, lack of skilled personnel and limited experience are some of the factors affecting employment opportunities in Uganda. This has left an entire generation of youth beret of a right to live with dignity.

According to a survey conducted by the State-Owned New Vision newspaper in 2014, 73% (percent) out of the 771 youths surveyed were unemployed.

 

UGANDA: MUSEVENI TO FACE HIS AFRICAN PEERS ON DEMOCRACY, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL GOVERNANCE

African Peer

Consultations on African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) report in Gulu.

“I want to thank you the leaders of northern Uganda for the hospitality. This is the second review mission for Uganda by a committee of 18 experts who are in different parts of the country to find out if there is improvement in the situation in Uganda since the fist review was held so as to sustain dialogue”

“If all the laws were enforced, then Uganda would be a different country. It seems that all the good laws made in Uganda are implemented in neighboring Rwanda”,

GULU- UGANDA:  Uganda Dictator of 31 years, President Yoweri Museveni, will face his African Peers in January 2018 together with the presidents of Liberia and Sudan to assess and review their performances in democracy, economic and good political governance in their respective countries.

This was revealed by the leader of a ‘6-member committee of experts’, Mr. Dalmar Jama- a Somali national, on Monday, November 6, 2017 from Churchill Courts Hotel in Gulu during consultations to see if what is contained in the self assessment report prepared by the National Governing Council for member states of African Union on the situation on Uganda represent the views of Ugandans.

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member states of the African Union in 2003 as a self-monitoring instrument to assess, present progress, and provide lessons on how to enhance good governance.

There are only 36 out of the 56 countries in Africa who have agreed to be assessed under this protocol to establish and validate governance performance and highlight good practices and challenges in their respective countries.

This is the second country review mission for Uganda since 2007 on four thematic areas of the Mechanism namely: Democracy and Political governance, Economic governance and management, Corporate Governance; and Broad-based socio-economic development. The first assessment report was presented on June 29, 2008 at the APRM participating heads of states Forum which was held in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt.

The process leading to the production of the report was guided by a comprehensive questionnaire provided by the Continental APRM Secretariat that all countries which have volunteered to participate in this process adhere to.

“I want to thank you the leaders of northern Uganda for the hospitality. This is the second review mission for Uganda by a committee of 18 experts who are in different parts of the country to find out if there is improvement in the situation in Uganda since the fist review was held so as to sustain dialogue”, says Mr. Dalmar Jama.

Opening the consultation meeting, Gulu district chairman, Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, observed that authorities in Uganda lack ‘goodwill to implement and enforce the good laws’ in the country.

“This is good initiative because it will make government to know what others in Africa expect of us. This is ‘positive criticism’. Uganda has beautiful laws and policies but the question is whether we are making good use of these laws?” Adding: “if all the laws were enforced, then Uganda would be a different country. It seems that all the good laws made in Uganda are implemented in neighboring Rwanda”, says the district boss.

What is contained in the report?

On entrenching constitutional democracy and rule of law, one of the recommendation states that ‘the constitutional review under the 10th Parliament considers reinstating the Presidential Term limits to the previous two terms of Five years. The consultation in Gulu also added that Article 102 (b) of the Constitution on presidential age limit should not be amended.

In order to sustain Uganda on the path of sound Public Financial Management (PFM), the assessment recommends that government ‘meets its commitment under the PFM Act 2015 as well as with Development Partners under the Partnership Policy to ensure prudent use of public resources, a zero tolerance to corruption and efficiency in use of public funds.

On promoting and accelerating broad-based sustainable socio-economic development the report recommends that although the country is focusing on large scale infrastructure projects, it is prudent that ‘critical investments are prioritized for social sectors’ for accelerating human development.

It also recommends that Uganda improves the political, legal and institutional environment in order to maintain and improve ability to ‘finance own development plans and programs’.

Uganda recorded total debt burden to the tune of 36.90% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016, thereby making it unsustainable.

 

WILL THE COMPLETION OF KARUMA POWER DAM IN DECEMBER 2018 BRING RELIEF TO UGANDANS?

Below: Work on Karuma Hydro Power dam under construction.

KarumaAnalysis

“If this situation continues, then, local companies which produce goods that are at the same time imported into the country from China, Egypt and South Africa, among others, cheaply; then we are likely to become un-competitive and possibly forced to shut down”

“It is unacceptable that while we are making plans to build manufacturing industries and ensure more citizens have access to electricity-someone else uses his position to increase power tariffs”

Uganda’s weekly magazine, The Independent, of January 31 2017, questions: “Can Uganda Survive with the Highest Electricity Prices in East Africa?”

The magazine, which is published by a renowned Uganda political commentator, Mr. Andrew Mwenda, questions the motive of government after it (government) increased consumer prices of electricity. The hike means current tariff structure could end up killing industries.

For domestic consumers, it was increased from shs.518.6 per KWH in 2014 to shs.635.2 per month for every 15 units of electricity. This is 28% (percent) increase.

For commercial consumers, tariff has been increased by 20% (percent) to shs.570.6 while medium and large industrial consumers increased from shs.450.1 to shs.526.7; and from shs.308.5 to shs.355.8 respectively.

The reason for this hike, according to government, is the depreciation of the Uganda shillings against the US dollars.

The shillings depreciated from shs.3375.45 in September 2016 to shs.3630.72 in December 2016. This is 11% while operational costs for most businesses in Uganda increased between 20% (percent) and 35% (percent).

“If this situation continues, then, local companies which produce goods that are at the same time imported into the country from China, Egypt and South Africa, among others, cheaply; then we are likely to become un-competitive and possibly forced to shut down”, says Mr. Martin Kyeyune, the economic Advisor at Roofings Group-Uganda.

According to Mr. Vianney Mutyaba of The Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), tariffs approved by ERA are always set to ensure that they are not “very  low” to cause disincentive for the electricity generation and not “too high” to hurt consumers.

President Yoweri Museveni has always said that government technocrats, who negotiate on behalf of government, for the construction of various infrastructures are always corrupt and tend to inflate costs, which are eventually passed onto consumers.

He singles out the $1.1 million Bujagali Power Dam, which was built by Aga Khan Development Network together with most road constructions, which had been badly negotiated by technocrats because of corruption. It will take up to fifteen years for Aga Khan to recoup his investment and make profit.

At US 11 cents for every unit of electricity consumed, the cost of electricity generated from Bujagali Power Dam is probably the most expensive in the whole of Africa and world at large. This makes it unaffordable for many Ugandans. 80% (percent) of Ugandans are not in the National Grid.

President John Magufuli of Tanzania is quoted by the media to have recently sacked the head of Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO) who had unilaterally increased electricity consumer price in Tanzania.

“It is unacceptable that while we are making plans to build manufacturing industries and ensure more citizens have access to electricity-someone else uses his position to increase power tariffs”, Mr. Magufuli  is quoted to have said.

With Uganda’s GDP growth of around 6% during the past two decades (2010: 6.2%; 2011: 5.0%; 2012: 4.7%; 2013:6.5%)[, electricity demand has been growing at an average of 10% per annum and in  the past years this led to occasional load shedding since the supply did not increase proportionally.

There are three major electricity generation dams in Uganda: Kiira Dam (200MW), Nalubaale Dam (180 MW) and Bujagali Dam (250).

Two more dams, Karuma Hydro Power Project (600 MW) and Isimba Hydro Power Project (183MW) are under construction.

The $2.2 billion dollar Karuma Dam is being constructed with funding from Export and Import (EXIM) bank of China. A Chinese firm, Sinohydro Deng Changai, is expected to complete constructing the dam in December 2018.

According to Mr. Simon Peter Kasyate, the Manager, Corporate Affairs, the power from Karuma will be at US 4 cents; making it affordable to most consumers besides Nalubaale dam which charges only US 2 cents.

Being in position 151 out of 176 countries in the world in corruption, will President Yoweri Museveni not dip his hands in the “oil revenue”, which is expected to be used to pay these loans used for constructing the dams, and divert it to finance his life-presidency project?

 

UGANDA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM RIDDILED BY CORRUPTION, ABSENTISM AND EXTORTION

healthcare services

A Public health care provider attends to a patient in one of Uganda’s health centers.

“Health care system in Uganda is very sick but the one who is suppose to heal it is very corrupt”

“Having a high rate of bribery introduces inefficiencies, unfairness, discrimination and unlawfulness in a critical component of the state’s responsibility of providing services and care for its population. Quiet corruption in the health care sector is widespread. Health workers absenteeism is highest at the Health Center III facility level and has since increased from 46.2% (percent) in 2009/10 to 51% (percent) in 2010/11”

GULU-UGANDA: In the year 2005, the Global Fund (GF) for HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis suspended all donations to Uganda when over $1.6 million dollars of grants went missing. Two officials in Uganda have been accused and sentenced for embezzlement of the GF monies.

“Healthcare system in Uganda is very sick but the one who is supposed to heal it is very corrupt” says Anti-Corruption Uganda in a report.

World Health Organization (WHO) says doctor to patient ratio in Uganda is 1:25,000. This is too low even by African standards yet the country churns out 200 graduates every year from universities. However, most of these graduate medics migrate to neighboring countries such as Rwanda where pay and working conditions are better than in Uganda.

WHO also says 40% (percent) of doctors and 50% (percent) of nurses in Uganda’s Public Health centers receive salaries but are always absent from duty.

Uganda’s Public Health care is the most corrupt in the East African region, according to the Inspector General of Government (IGG) report released to mark the International Anti-corruption Day 2010. The sector is fraught with bribery and absenteeism, effectively undermining the population’s health and the realization of the Millennium Development Goal.

Uganda’s bribery prevalence rate in public medical services is more than three times that of Kenya and almost twice that of Tanzania.

“Having a high rate of bribery introduces inefficiencies, unfairness, discrimination and unlawfulness in a critical component of the state’s responsibility of providing services and care for its population. Quiet corruption in the health care sector is widespread. Health workers absenteeism is highest at the Health Center III facility level and has since increased from 46.2% (percent) in 2009/10 to 51% (percent) in 2010/11”, writes Anne Mugisha in the State owned New Vision newspaper in 2010.

One man’s experience with corruption in one of Uganda’s health facility.

Mr. William Opio Bongonyinge visited Arua Regional Referral Hospital on Saturday, September 23, 2017 and shares his encounter with corruption by the health workers at the hospital.

“Having been unwell a day before and still felt uneasy that day, I walk to Arua Regional Referral Hospital and at the gate a watchman guides me through to the emergency unit. It was 08.35 am local time (05.35 GMT). There I find a number of people cued waiting to be attended to”

“In the surgical section are men and women standing presumed to have brought in an accident victim, they look terrified as to when something gets done to their patient.

“It was not until 10.00 am local time that two gentlemen come in to attend to us. One of them sits; peruses through a large register book and the other begins to assess a patient supported on a wheelchair and he quickly moves out.

“He comes in again after about 30 minutes and assesses more four patients and he refers them to the laboratory which at that time was not yet open. He continues to assess more patients and seems to reduce on the number. I was among those he referred to the laboratory.

“At the laboratory, I find a young woman who comes in at about 11.00 am. She orders the patients to get in one at a time and her voice sounds rude. I overheard her say to a patient; ‘CBC (complete blood count) reagent has since been out of stock’. She does not explain why.

“When it was my turn, I unassumingly get in and greet her in the local language. She smiles and shows a friendly presentation. She looks through my laboratory request form and says ‘widal test, typhoid? The reagent is since out of stock, however if you can pay, I can do it with my reagent’.

“How much is that”, I asked her.

“Three thousand shillings!” she exclaims.

Theft, diversion and resale of drugs are other sources of corruption which are documented to occur at the distribution point of pharmaceutical supply chain. There can be theft without falsification of inventory records, dispensing of drugs to patients who did not actually attend to pharmacy clinics, recording of drugs as dispensed to legitimate patients but the patients do not receive them, and dispensing of drugs to patients who pay for them but the health care providers keeps the fund for him. This makes Uganda to provide more funds to the health sector than most countries in the sub-Saharan Africa.