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    OPINION: Relief Cash To The Affected Or Feast For The Well Off Servers?

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    On 18th of June 2021, the president announced a total lock up of the Country commonly known as a lock down for 42 days as a measure to curb the upsurge in cases of Covid 19 2nd wave.

    In this, all business operations were declared frozen except very few only classified as “essentials “.

    The president thereafter urged Ugandans to stay home to prevent further contraction, confirming that his led government was committed to provide relief support to them survive through the troubling moments especially the families whose businesses were severely affected by the imposed measures, through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

    Following that, the Prime Minister (PM) Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja addressed the nation confirming that the government was very committed to salvage the starving families with relief aid which she confirmed was to be cash transfer to them this time around as opposed to their approach of solid food hand out distribution of the previous lock up(2020).

    For Ugandans wherever her news reached, it was a big step in the right direction. They started to pray for its expeditious implementation. While it was a matter calling for urgent response, it took the power bearers weeks to determine the cash amount for distribution and it’s possible beneficiaries. Eventually 100,000 shs figure was resolved to be disbursed but on conditions that, first,if the beneficiary’s cell phone had never done a transaction of 500,000 shs and above, second, if they were “abawejjere” literally to mean those that are extremely poor, although chose refer to them as the vulnerables in English, before setting in another tougher condition of cashing it out to only one member of the whole house hold for those groups of selected peoples.

    This all reminded me of the Animal Farm politics  in the Animal Farm book by George Orwel in which seven rules were put in place by animals to realize restraint against excesses by some actors. One of them was,all animal’s common enemy was a man whom they regarded as a selfish character that had subjected them to had labor on his farm before conniving amongst themselves to take over it’s control from him ,all animals are equal, etc,etc.

    But when the feasting moment came, the Pigs arguably took the largest share for themselves, because the farm was enormously surviving on their supervisional efforts. Verify, the government agents have time and again chanted slogans justifying the pandemic as our common enemy to be only defeated collectively which is correct, but only to contradict it when it comes to actions.

    When the businesses were locked up, the poor and rich suffered, but when the relief aid response was effected, it was only “abawerejjere” as code named, and very few of them the 530,000 targeted households received the 100,000 cash hand-outs of  the 53 billion shs that was earmarked for the same.

    If at all only very small of the projected beneficiary’s fraction  cashed out,where did the balance in whooping billions go?!

    Potential beneficiaries in all the proposed catchment areas would be seen biting the bone, who took the flesh?

    They have been reported in the media failing to have received any iota of the said money on their cell phones to at least cushion themselves from the effects of the pandemic harsh measures. Was it then Relief Cash to the Affected or a Feast for the Well off Servers?

    Be it as it is with the Bible that all men are equal before God,the same principle is not any different with our banana republic rules that require all men to be equal before them. But why does it become and remain a common practice by a certain class (clique) of people here to squander public resources with impunity?  Incidentally the stolen resources are a contribution of the citizens that are called “abawejjere” from their hard earned incomes. They are the payers of taxes which translates into heavy wages, emoluments and salaries for public officials. All men are equal, yes, but some are more equal than others!

    Evil is becoming much in  the system and if it does not stop but continues to shine unrestrained the way it is, then our blessed motherland is not far from heading to the lane of the citizenry insurrection, its birth pains are….. When Mr. Johns in the Animal Farm novel dropped his farm responsibilities, it was taken away from him by his own hungry animals, kicked him out, the rest was history.

    When the corrupt are not tamed, the nation is a candidate of the worst. God forbid. Uganda is for God and therefore, God must be given a first place in everything. When leaders cease to love God, they can not have love for the people they lead and nation thereafter. (1 John 4:20-21)

    Is Cash Transfer Unique to the Uganda Government?

    Some government officials have argued that the cash transfer approach which was adopted by the government as one of measures to mitigate the population from the effects of the pandemic is unique to Uganda!

    This narrative can not be right. When Africa was struck by the first wave of the pandemic, African nations including Uganda adopted measures in April 2020 to cushion their population from Covid effects.

    South Africa had  put $ 26 billion (£21) for her economic recovery.  $ 2.6 billion out of that went for cash transfer to the affected. $ 38 was disbursed to every child for 6months. Unemployed people there were assisted with $18 per month for 6 months, all not from the loan fund . Nigeria put aside  $1.4 billion for a few selected groups(3.6 million people) of the affected with each granted $13. Kenya started with a $93 million Covid 19 support stipend for more than 1 million people starting in Kibera slum and so forth. Rwanda opted for giving all her citizens solid food hand- outs.

    Surface to note that , those measures were transparently and successfully realized by those nations. Uganda gave out food rations from the 59 billion that was set aside to a very few out of the many affected, not even reaching a million people, and now cash transfer of 53 billion shs. Therefore, it can not be true that it is Uganda that has started the cash transfer.

    In conclusion, all our public offices need a crop of occupants that have  truly accepted Jesus Christ to be their personal Lord and Savior, and everything will now be well with us.

     

    By Emmanuel Kirunda- Journalist.

    The author is the General Secretary Uganda Journalist Association (UJA).

    Contact: 0775271777, 0700861810

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    NATIONAL

    OPINION: What Is Good For FDC-NUP Is Good For NRM-DP…

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    “My life has been consecrated to the Ugandan people who I seek to serve guided by God’s will. Despite the slings and arrows of detractors and many personal setbacks my devotion to the tasks I set myself remain unwavering! I strive regardless. The more I fail, the more I strive!”

    This was a tweet I came across posted by the newly appointed Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Nobert Mao-an appeal for divine grace in a bid to serve his nation.

    Almost immediately, I saw another tweet from Hon. Betty Nambooze, the Mukono Municipality MP:

    “The Pumpkin was harvested, cooked and eaten and it will now face all what cooked and eaten Pumpkins face… Mao is now fully an Absolute-Zero Politician”.

    “Pumpkin” is a nickname that Nambooze gave to Mao a while back during one of the heated moments in their “inhouse” rivalry for supremacy.

    Nambooze’s tweet is a representation of all voices that have heaped scorn on Mao, the reigning President General of the Democratic Party (DP) for reaching a working cooperation agreement with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, an agreement which he signed with the NRM supremo, President Yoweri Museveni, at State House, Entebbe.

    If there is anything Uganda does not need at this time it is politics of hate and violence. Our country is ripe for politics based on finding common ground to work together to resolve challenges we face in the transformation of our country.

    For those complaining and attacking Mao for inking the agreement, what principles are they working with? On a number of occasions, and most recently in the Soroti City East Constituency elections, we saw FDC and NUP coalescing around one candidate, Moses Attan, instead of each fielding its own contestant. They believed that this would give them an advantage over the NRM candidate. It didn’t turn out well for Attan but the principle of working together for common interest was not lost.

    Obviously, if both parties had fielded candidates, they would have split votes and performed even worse. So, the idea of coming together is never a bad idea and the opposition has benefitted from it on a number of occasions much to the disadvantage of NRM whenever losers in its primaries have opted to go independent against the official party candidate.

    And such unity has always been lauded as mature and progressive. But why is it that when NRM and DP agree to work together the same people have no kind words? Is it too much fear of NRM, too much hatred of Mao or just hypocrisy?

    In next door Kenya, there is a culture of coalitions that is quite difficult to predict. At their most recent elections, they have always had formations pitting friends in a previous election stiffly against each other and foes from the same election standing together. For example, in the tensest elections of 2007, now Deputy President, William Ruto, was on the side of Raila Odinga while Uhuru Kenyatta, his current boss, was on the side of late Mwai Kibaki. However, by 2013, Ruto and Uhuru were on the same side against Odinga who teamed up with Moses Wetangula, Kalonzo Musyoka and Musalia Mudavadi. The formation remained the same in 2017, even when a re-election was ordered by Court after annulment of that year’s Uhuruto win.

    In a turn of events, in this year’s elections set for August 9, Uhuru is backing Odinga in the Azimio La Umoja coalition while Ruto is with Mudavadi in Kenya Kwanza Alliance. Kenya makes true the saying that there are no permanent enemies or friends in politics.

    The very same Ugandans who always praise the Kenyan model as maturity politics at play are the same ones attacking Museveni and Mao-they accuse the President of “buying off” the opposition while accusing Mao of selling his soul as if he had a contract with them on how to build his leadership career.

    Mao is a born leader who has always aspired at many levels and among the qualities that identify him uniquely is politics of ideas and nonviolence unlike the radical brigade of pushers who believe that they must cause regime change forcefully. While they have been at loggerheads with Mao already, cooperating with NRM is particularly annoying because deep down they know that Ugandans will more likely shift base to politics that gives them hope and which is based on unity and looking beyond elections or regime change.

    Even if the regime changed but leaders on both sides of the divide cannot come together to work on things that benefit their people regardless of their different political convictions, then those leaders become misleaders.

    There is a lot to cooperate on; all Ugandans, regardless of what politicians tell them, want development and involvement in Government empowerment programmes such as Parish Development Model (PDM); all Ugandans want security, they want better healthcare, food and a working formula for effective service delivery.

    It should be remembered that President Museveni has always operated some kind of “coalition Government” because of his philosophy of inclusivity. Right from 1986, he had “opponents” like Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, Ssebaana Kizito, Abu Mayanja, Mayanja Nkangi, Maria Mutagamba. Even now, he has UPC’s Betty Amongi as Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development and Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo of FDC as Minister of State for ICT.

    Moreover, Parliament, an arm of Government, and some local councils have membership and leadership from the opposition. What is different when Mao joins them to serve? They should let him be!

     

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug

    0776980486/0702980486

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    NEWS

    Amend Local Gov’t Act To Squeeze The Corrupt In Districts…

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    Some of the 12 suspects attached to Busia Municipality who included; the Town Clerk, CFO, Commercial Officer, Eng officer, Western Div Town Clerk, Div Treasurer, Procurement Officer, Acting Municipal Eng & the Principal Health Supervisor, who were arrested by the State House Anti-corruption unit. Inset is Faruk Kirunda the writer

    Fighting corruption and finally weeding it out is the biggest war in Uganda today. Everything must be done until all the corrupt lose appetite for it.

    Much of the corruption manifests in the districts and thrives with the collusion of “permanent and pensionable” Local Government staff. Technocrats, assured of job security and privileged to spend limitless tenures in districts of posting are able to form a complicated corrupt web which they use to swindle Government money.

    Technocrats have proven to be detached from the ground; they sit in offices all day waiting for deals and anybody seeking services from whom they can extort bribes. Despite the best intentions of the leadership to steer Uganda to greatness, such technocrats are a burden on collective national progress. They have this impression that being non-partisan and not being politicians means being actively defiant in service against Government policy objectives.

    It is much worse in regard to President Museveni; his well-articulated policies for transformation and effective service delivery mean little or nothing to technocrats assured of a stable source of income, with fixed terms no matter the state of the economy and the plight of the masses. All they stand for is how to earn more from Government coffers and this is the bedrock of corruption.

    How they work is that they starve members of the public of services and information about services until the people tire and become desperate, then they squeeze them for bribes. They make Government services look like a privilege that people must pay for even if they already pay taxes to fund those services.

    That is how patients come to be charged at Government hospitals, for example. Nothing makes me sick like a Government worker being so bent on being corrupt that they throw all caution and professionalism to the wind, while acting so confident like they own Uganda. Where the good ones exercise restraint in their duties to avoid making mistakes, the corrupt are so confident and diligent that they make everybody look bad.

    The bad apples create “impunity rings” in which they use the decentralisation cover to set their own rules and run Government service aground. You find them doing their own things, as if they operate in a different country not managed by the Central Government. It is why when the State Minister for Economic Monitoring, Hon. Peter Ogwang, went around the country, he unearthed a regime of flagrant abuse of Government resources and systems. You wouldn’t believe that the errant were our own. You find someone doing unbelievable things on the assumption that they have so much power and cannot be questioned.

    Heads of Department like District Education Officers (DEOs), Chief Finance Officers (CFOs), District Engineers, District Health Officers (DHOs), District Planners, enjoy broad powers to an extent that working together, they can frustrate operations of the units. They control budgets. They are supervised by LC 5 chairpersons who tend to have personal political interests. Then there are weak Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) who cannot make decisions and who get “commissions” from these HODs and fail to hold them accountable.

    It’s RDCs saving the situation, since they are managed by the center and with very strict guidelines of service. It would be much worse if CAOs were appointed at the districts. District Service Commissions (DSCs) are not helping matters. There is reason to believe that jobs are given under wrong influence and after, the Commission has no role in following up their recruits to ascertain how they fare in service.

    It’s my preferred opinion that the Central Government recalls powers to appoint, transfer and fire district Local Government staff. Those are HODS. Districts should only recruit Sub-County staff, and lower. These powers can always be granted back when the public regains trust in the Local Governments.

    The other safeguard is to put workers on contracts, which are only renewed, let us say, every three years, subject to performance.

    Here, “performance audit”, which is President Museveni’s preferred method for checking every Government worker’s efficiency and contribution to service delivery, would apply. In today’s standing, “permanent and pensionable” workers benefit from absence of standardised performance reviews; they are not given work targets or expected deliverables by which they can be examined. The less work they do as they await their regular pay cheque until they clock retirement age, the better for them.

    Uganda Government is the most generous Government in the world, I must say. There are people earning for doing less work, because of absence of an apparent system of rewarding mediocrity, thus making a few committed patriots in service do the donkey work. People are qualified, some very highly, but they lack the spirit of Ubuntu and patriotism but hold positions in civil service where they are remunerated for just sitting and swinging in their chairs.

    All the responsibility for implementing policy ideas is pushed back to the center which is heavy with management of national affairs. This kills the essence of decentralisation, devolution of powers and “popular” creation of lower administrative units which were meant to ease decision-making and facilitate faster implementation of policy and service delivery.

     

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    Contact: faruk.kirunda@statehouse.go.ug

    0776980486/0702980486

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    OPINION: Is There A Big Motive To Fail EAC Integration? Why DRC Is Becoming A Theatre Of Foreign Interference…

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    CDFs of EAC countries pose for a group photo early this week. Inset is Faruk Kirunda

    Who is responsible for the flare up of violence at the Congo border(s) with Uganda and Rwanda? How come that the Congolese are angry with Uganda and Rwanda at a time the two countries are engaged in battling armed groups operating in the vast country that recently joined the East African Community (EAC)?

    As Africans, we are to blame for much of the instability going on our continent due to artificial divisions and unprincipled nature of our people and weakness of some leaders. However, if one looks closely, he or she can see the hand of foreign elements in action.

    How come that the flare up of violence arises just as the EAC solidifies, thereby opening up the region for mutual trade and socialisation while strengthening strategic security? The answer is that there is no coincidence in this; the same forces that have always fought African unity and progress are at play to fail the regional integration dream.

    Last year, Uganda deployed its army, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in the DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri to flash out the ADF rebels who had been making daring incursions in Uganda, shooting big personalities in their cars and planting bombs that killed scores in Kampala. ADF has been more of a menace in DRC where they would carry out systematic butcherings of the population in the East part of the country. They had a plan to spread their reign of terror regionally, and then team up with other groups to make the region uninhabitable and ungovernable. UPDF’s intervention was a total necessity that has saved our people from bloodshed.

    Codenamed “Operation Shujaa”, the operation is still on and has so far made the killer groups sneeze; they have scattered and lost appetite for their crimes, as President Yoweri Museveni, the man behind the move to totally pacify the Great Lakes region and make Africa a powerhouse that can defend itself at all times, would say.

    Teaming up with the Congolese army (FARDC) ensured better coordination and pooling of logistics to give the rebels a bloody nose. It also gave the operation legitimacy since the Congo Government had given it a green light. The Congolese people were relieved and welcomed the operation, treating the Uganda soldiers as heroes and according them due support.

    The deployment had been long in coming and was done out of the greatest necessity given how much trouble had been brewing in that part of the region. The deployment was done transparently.

    President Museveni, in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the UPDF authorised the operations within his Constitutional powers, obligations and responsibilities as per the Oath he took while assuming office in swearing to protect Ugandans and their property.

    Since assuming power in 1986, President Museveni has emphasised security of person and property as the bedrock of democracy and transformation. He has made security his key constituency in the defence of which he has battled numerous threats and neutralised them, locally and internationally.

    ADF has been among the few latent groups attempting a resurge and he was not about to stand by and look. The Congolese were crying, Ugandans were hurting and there was no one to help. It was time to send it where all other groups that attempted to destabilise Uganda ended up and make them pay for their crimes. And paying they have been!

    Then, suddenly, we hear that the Congolese population is up in arms against Uganda and Rwanda, blaming them for the resurgence of activities by a different rebel group, M23, which is fighting the Congolese Government. I am not well-versed with the formations and motives of some of these groups but what I know is that ADF was started to fight President Museveni’s Government. When defeated, they fled and set up their bases in DRC and began to work as guns for hire and promoters of fundamentalist ideology in the region. They also went into plundering natural resources and the farms of the Congolese, on top of killing them.

    The war against ADF must not be fought in halves; it should be fought until ADF is totally no more, then, if need be, the firepower is directed to other enemies operating in the same theatre of action. I have reason to believe that there is such a plan in the pipeline and that is what is causing hostile elements backing and benefitting from the activities of the terror groups to panic and seek to redeem their schemes by stirring mass discontent among the Congolese so that Pan-Africanist forces like UPDF are turned away from completing the task at hand.

    It also has to do with the rekindling of relations between Uganda and Rwanda of recent. With the historical bonds restored between the two countries, prospects of regional stability and Integration are brighter and Africa’s enemies hate to see this. They are now behind-the-scenes engineering schemes to turn the DRC against Uganda and Rwanda so that they remain in charge of the vast resource-rich Eastern DRC territory.

    But the bigger motive is to fail EAC Integration. Africans, let us avoid being manipulated to fight each other so that we miss the bigger picture of where we could be if we agreed to integrate!

    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary
    Contact 0776980483/0783990861
    Email: kirundaf2@gmail.com

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