AS THINGS STAND, LOOKS LIKE NRM HAS BEEN A CURSE FOR UGANDA
I see the future of Uganda in the hands of a Coalition by the Democratic Party and Uganda People's Congress, short of that, the country is a big mess.
In 1987 the Museveni Government came up with a currency exchange which saw people who had liquid cash (money) make real losses after the cutting off of two zeros and applying the 30% tax! This move had a hidden agenda of making all of us be taxed for among other things meeting some of the war debts; whic unfortunately todate seem to still exist! I will not forget the way fellow workmates in the then Uganda Commercial Bank died in accidents in Western Uganda as they escorted cash and were party to the currency exchange! I also remember how coins with value were declared valueless in the exhange. I had managed to collect a whole sack, but thank God, I left that sack in the Uganda Commercial Bank Nkrumah Branch as I left the bank.
If you want to appreciate how the NRM Government has messed up Uganda's economy, and more so the Uganda shilling, just imagine the purchasing power of Uganda shs 100 now. At the time of exchange, to get shs 100 you had to part with shs 14,285 Old Currency. Today, shs 100 nearly buys nothing worth talking about. A journey which on exchange was shs 50 is now shs 1,500 or more which is shs 14,285 x 15 (old currency); what an economy, the NRM prides in!
Why is the country in this big shit?
1. The NRM deceived Ugandans. Looks like some of the big in NRM came to enrich themselves and have since turned everything upside down. They started by sharing the privatized enterprises and have gone on ;
2. NRM understands politics of staying and holding on to power, using legislation etc, but has failed to get the economic sense in management of Governance, hence all we see is increased administrative expenses as districts are created every other day;
3. The NRM over the 25 years in power has spent tax payer money in fighting wars instead of promoting Good Governance from the top, and it is no surprise that over shs 1.7trillion was spent on buying jet fighters for a poor country like Uganda!
4. The creation of the so-called middle class at the expense of the tax payer. Some of the fellows in this are beneficiaries of monies from loans to Uganda, monies from the Central Bank and other tax payer resources not forgetting donor funds. This class came in to substitute the role of Government in public enterprises, but many had no muscle to run the business and have all the time survived through hand outs from Government. Such are the fellows who are seen grow everyday but when they way they get money is not understood. The money the country has lost to this effort is real huge.
5. The donor funds and borrowed monies have ended up benefitting a few instead of helping the poverty alleviation programmes. The cases in point are so many.
6. Talk of corruption in the various forms it manifests itself, this is a big cancer that will remain in history books.
MUSEVENI INSPECTS UGANDA'S FIGHTER JETS
Publication date: Tuesday, 26th July, 2011
Owoyesigire (right), Museveni (centre) and Nyakairima (right) posing with the crew members of the new planes during the commissioning yesterday
By Cyprian Musoke and Kigongo Ssebalamu
THE President, Gen Yoweri Museveni, has said the fighter jets the country has procured were manufactured on order to last and fit Uganda’s military needs contrary to reports that they were second-hand.
The SU-30mk2 are termed as ‘fifth’ generation planes, which ranks them among the newest fighter planes.
The sources call them ‘Air superiority fighters’ because of their swiftness in air-to-air combat.
They are equipped with ‘beyond visual capabilities’ hence able to hit targets far beyond the visual range of the pilots.
The jets’have also got ‘Precision Fighter Capabilities’ which makes them capable of dropping or firing ‘guided munitions’.
According to various Internet sources, the plane has got a range of 3,000kms.
This plane is one of the most heavily armed war plane. It has a weapons payload of 45 air-to-air missiles, 32 air-to-ground missiles, 77 dropped bombs and 120 rockets.
Inspecting the first two of six Sukhoi-Knaapo fighter jets of the Su-30 MK2 type from Russia at the Entebbe military base, where he commissioned them, Museveni compared the purchase to going to a tailor and getting measured to sew what fits you. “In the 1950s when we used to buy clothes, one had to either buy whatever was available or get measured so that a cloth that fits them can be made. This time round, I decided not to buy whatever old technology I found there, but when I went to Russia in August last year, my specifications (needs) were taken and that is in these jets you see here,” he said
In 1987, he added, the Government made the decision to reduce the size of the army, with the purpose of remaining with few men, but with sophisticated technology that operates efficiently.
This policy will continue although some people are opposing it, saying there are no more wars in Uganda and, therefore, see no reason of spending money to buy fighter jets while there are still other needs like building more schools and hospitals.
“Defence and security does not have to wait for a country to be attacked in order to be strengthened. It is actually during peacetime that is the most opportune moment to strengthen ones’ defence system,” he told air force officers at the airbase. He added that the M16 helicopters bought in 1987 helped the army fight the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels of Joseph Kony, the reason they fled to the DRC.
Since the gunships were new, they are still in use. The function was attended by Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, Chief of the Air Force Maj.
Jim Owoyesigire, Russian Ambassador to Uganda Valerie Ivanovich Utkin and the crew of pilots who had just returned from training in Russia.
One jet was flown off to mark the launch, while the second one remained in the hanger.
The President thanked the company Rosoboronexport, a state-owned arms exporter, that manufactured the jets, noting that Russia is one of the countries that helped in the liberation of most African countries.
HOW GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION IN UGANDA IS KILLING 300 PEOPLE A DAY
by Meredith Slater • October 03, 2010
Topics: Health & Human Rights • Global Poverty
Share3retweetMalaria is the greatest killer of children in the world. Yet, as Andrew Green describes in last month's assessment of Millennium Development Goal #6, halting the spread of the disease is no small task. Maintaining the international political will and funding to provide insecticide-treated mosquito nets and antimalarial medication to the poorest people in the world is a daunting undertaking. So try throwing in some government corruption, organized crime gangs and a cross-border smuggling operation, and you've got a nightmare situation.
This deadly combination of factors has come together in Uganda, contributing to the country's status as one of the 10 worst-affected by malaria in the world.
In Apac, Uganda, a mosquito-infested swamp town known as the malaria capital of the world, more than 5,000 new cases of malaria develop each week. When the UK's Channel 4 Unreported World team investigated why malaria is such a problem in Uganda, what they found was disturbing ... but not all that surprising.
Anti-malarial medicines and bed nets provided by donor nations like China and the U.S. are being sold on the black market in Uganda. And not only are organized crime gangs to blame, but President Yoweri Museveni's own investigation found that a number of government officials, including the three senior Health Ministry officials who manage the national malaria control program, are among those involved in the theft of government drugs. These culprits steal anti-malarial pills and nets, and then sell them to fake clinics, keeping the profits for themselves.
Already, the president's investigative unit has made more than 100 arrests. But that doesn't help save the patients in Apac or other parts of Uganda who are being told by their local hospital to go buy their medicine on the black market. "If you can't pay for the drugs, you die," one pharmacist told Reporter Oliver Steeds.
Though the situation is dire, organizations like Malaria No More and UNICEF are getting malaria meds and bed nets to those who need them, despite the corruption. You can help ensure that organizations like these are able to continue their work by asking the U.S. government to increase its support of them.
Tell Congress to invest the money UNICEF needs to keep saving children's lives in countries like Uganda by signing the petition below. Though malaria is the leading child-killer in Africa, the disease is both preventable and treatable. If we can encourage the U.S. Congress to play its part, we can help save thousands of children in Africa, one of whom dies every 45 seconds from malaria.
IGG UNVEILS UGLY FACE OF CORRUPTION
Written by Edris Kiggundu
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 20:41
Public votes media most effective anti-graft crusader
Most Ugandans say the media leads in the fight against corruption, the Third National Integrity Survey undertaken by the office of the IGG has revealed.
The revelation is a vote of confidence in the ‘fourth estate’ which has consistently been accused by President Museveni of sabotaging investors through ‘negative’ reporting.
More recently, the President accused the media of frustrating a multi-billion shilling hotel project by Aya Group in Nakasero, a suburb of Kampala.
But the far-ranging survey released in October this year instead shows that 73% of the people sampled believe the media is doing a good job of exposing corruption related incidences even ahead of the government instituted anti-corruption bodies such as the IGG and the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).
This lofty media ranking is partly attributed to the liberalisation of the sector which has seen a number of privately-owned newspapers, television stations and hundreds of radio stations spring up.
Time and again, the media especially print, has broken and kept alive several stories detailing outright theft of public resources by public officials or irregular dealings by public institutions.
More notably, the media broke the Temangalo-NSSF saga in July this year in which the Minister of Security Minister, Amama Mbabazi was accused of using political clout to pressure the Fund purchase his land, at a price independent valuers said was above the market rate. Mbabazi was later exonerated by Parliament but the feeling that he committed some wrong within the public still lingers.
Amongst institutions perceived to be at the forefront of fighting corruption, the IGG’s office ranks second to the media at 69.7% and below it is the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament at 55.1%, and the DPP at 42%.
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) comes last at 36.5%.
The survey was conducted by Reev Consult, whose lead consultant is Prof. Augustus Nuwagaba–– on behalf of IGG’s office. In the survey, 12,201 households, 670 public institutions and 533 private enterprises in 80 districts were randomly sampled for the perceptions about corruption.
The consultants employed various research methodologies, including Focus Group Discussions and secondary data.
Generally the survey reveals that there is a general consensus among respondents that corruption in public institutions and private enterprises is on the increase, whether real or imagined.
The perception is partly borne out of media reports but many people have also individually encountered incidents where they have had to part with money in order to get a public service that is ordinarily supposed to be free.
It is little wonder, therefore, that 71% of the households surveyed cited bribery as the main form of corruption because like the survey notes, “corruption in Uganda has evolved to the extent that the public tend to value services for which they have paid a bribe.”
Among private enterprises, 36.8% of the respondents conceded they had paid bribes for tax payments, 22.4% had offered bribes for judicial services, while 11.3% of the respondents said they had paid their way into securing contracts.
ost of the respondents said they had been asked directly by public officials to pay bribes, others offered without being asked and some said they knew it before hand that to get a certain service one has to pay a bribe.
Those who resist paying bribes, the survey reveals, are frustrated from seeking a given service until they give in.
The survey documents the experience of a 27-year-old female respondent at Mulago Hospital who was asked for Shs 700 by a health worker to buy a needle and a syringe.
She said: “They ask you, don’t you have something to offer so that you can be offered a service?”
The cost of corruption to Uganda remains huge. According to a 2005 World Bank survey, Uganda loses an estimated Shs 510 billion a year through corruption, while the Global Integrity Report of 2006 put the figure at about Shs 1 trillion, which was about half of the annual budget then.
Even then, many people, the survey discovered, remain unaware about the cost of corruption and how the stolen money could uplift their welfare. Few people hardly link problems such as shortage of drugs in health centres, poor roads, hospitals or boreholes to corruption.
Part of the reason is that corruption has been glorified as an acceptable way of life.
“Wealthy members of society are regarded as heroes even when they are known to have acquired their wealth through corrupt means. On the other hand, those with integrity but less wealthy are regarded as failures in society,” the survey indicates.
In some public institutions, the survey discovered that officials deliberately delay planning for certain high level activities until the last minute when they hurriedly pass hefty expenditures. This is a conduit for siphoning public money, according to the survey.
The survey hints at what it calls a new dimension of corruption characterised by wide discrepancies in public officials’ salaries. For instance, the survey says that the Commissioner General of URA earns a gross monthly salary of Shs28 million, the Managing Director of NSSF, Shs 15 million, while that of Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) earns Shs 10 million. Clearly, the top management is paid very highly compared to mid-level personnel in the same organisations.
"This creates disgruntlement, erodes productivity hence impacting negatively on the service delivery as the less paid attempt to engage in corrupt practices so as to close the remuneration gaps,” notes the survey.
Even when people are aware that corruption is taking place, many are not willing to report the culprits to law enforcement authorities for a number of reasons.
Some consider it risky, like the unnamed public official working in Bundibugyo who tells the survey team that his life was in danger because of exposing graft in the district.
Others are simply not aware of their rights while some feel satisfied with the service for which they have offered a bribe and see no need to report it.
Generally, the Police (88.2%) was perceived by the respondents to be the most corrupt public institution followed by its sister Traffic Police (87.9%), Judiciary (79.4%), Uganda Revenue Authority (77.0%) and District Service Commissions (73.7%) in that order.
Generally, 72.5% of the respondents said they are aware of the existence of the IGG and the survey notes a marked improvement in the performance of the watchdog.
There is increased compliance and awareness of the Leadership Code from 88% in 2005 to 92% in 2007 due to vigilance in enforcement.
Secondly, the institution last year remarkably investigated all the 2,088 cases it received.
The survey lauds the DPP’s office for assisting in prosecuting cases and the Auditor General’s office for keeping tabs on government expenditure and bringing to light many high profile corruption cases.
The contribution of anti-corruption agencies, civil society organisations and the media is acknowledged by the survey as these usually publicise the cases.
Parliament too is praised for passing anti-corruption legislation although it is blamed for not acting enough on the IGG’s annual reports.
For instance, over the last five years the IGG has called on Parliament to enact a law protecting witnesses but to this day, it is not forthcoming.
The survey notes that the IGG’s office is still constrained by weak enforcement of laws and lack of goodwill on the side of the public, which fears to testify against the culprits.
Then some of the high-ranking officials implicated in corruption usually interfere in the investigations, eventually getting off the hook.
Borrowing a leaf
Uganda is urged to borrow a leaf from some of the countries that have initiated successful anti-corruption programmes such as Rwanda, Singapore and South Korea. The survey for instance notes that Rwanda has taken commendable steps towards fighting graft through rationalisation of government operations such as the sale of government vehicles a couple of years back which saved the country significant resources. Rwanda also holds monthly meetings where government interfaces with the private sector to share information and discuss problems in their respective areas of operations.
“It is worth noting that all these achievements have been possible by the high commitment of the political leadership,” the survey notes.
Fighting corruption requires a concerted effort of every player in the private and public sector.
But building political will at the highest level, like Rwanda has done, is the most effective way of dealing with corruption, notes the survey.
“Political leadership at the highest level should come out and play its vanguard role of inculcating national values and building the moral social fabric,” urges the survey.
The survey calls for radical measures to be instituted such as prosecuting the corrupt at all levels and administering reward and sanction measures, including recovering of stolen funds.
Also, government is called upon to abolish the provision for permanent and pensionable employment, which encourages public officials to engage in graft in the knowledge that they will not lose their job easily. Instead, performance based contracts should be introduced because they foster accountability, the report advises.