Friday, April 24, 2015

Privatisation or Plundering

Most of our companies are privatized. The process was not obviously good and convincing and I just read the following as companies which were privatized i Uganda and the list is not exhaustive:

1. Uganda Airlines;
2. Uganda Development Corp,
3.uganda development Bank,
4. Uganda American Insurance Corp,
5. East Africa Distillers,
6. Shell U Ltd,
7.Uganda Securiko,
8.Lake Victoria Bottling Co Ltd,
9.Agricultural Enterprises Ltd, ...
10.Uganda Tea Corp,
11.Steel Corp of East Africa,
12.Blenders U ltd,
13. Uganda Hotels with its nationwide branches,
14. Tumpeco,
15.Uganda cement Industry,
16. Nile Complex Hotel,
17.Uganda Fisheries,
18.Uganda leather & tanning ind,
19. Uganda meat packers ltd,
20.Torooro cement works,
21.Winits (u) Ltd,
22. Lake Victoria.....?,
23. Uganda hardwares lts,
24.Uganda posts and telecommunicati on corp,
25. Uganda Motors ltd,
26.Uganda Hire purchase Co, 27. Kampala Auto centre, 28.republic motors, 29.Total u ltd,
30.Afrian texttiles Mills, 31. NYTIL, 32.Printpaks u ltd, 33.Agip U ltd, Fresh foods ltd, 34.African ceramics co ltd, 35.Foods and beverages ltd, 36.Uganda pharmaceuticals ltd, 37.Motor crafts u ltd, 38. Kibimba rice co ltd,
39. Uganda grain milling co ltd, Tv sales, 41.Uganda Electricity board, 42.Uganda railways,
43. New vision, 44.Apolo hotel, 45.National insurace corp. marketing board, 47. national Housing & construction, 48.produce marketing board, 49.Uganda commercial bank, 50. Dairy corporation, 51. Kinyara sugar works, 52.Transocean u ltd 53. Uganda printing & publishing corp, 54.Lango development corp, 55.Uganda spinning mills (lira)
56.Development finance co corporation of u LTD, 57. Agricultural enterprises ltd, 58.BAT u ltd, 59.Uganda clays, 60.AGIP U ltd, 61. chillington tool company u ltd, 62.Uganda bags & hessian mills,
63.Uganda metal products and enamelling co, associate paper industries ltd, 64. wolfram investment, 65.Papco industries, 66.Toro development corp, 67.Uganda Libya Arab holding, 68.cable corporation, 69.sugar corp, barclays bank,
70.Lint Marketing, 71. UTC, 72. Jonas Bro (Africa) ltd, 73 Gomba motors,
74.Soroti Agricultural impelemnts Manufacturing Co Ltd,
75. peoples transport co ltd, 76. Uganda general merchandise,
77. Gobbot u ltd, 78. R.O Hamilton ltd, 79.Agro-chemicals, etc

The list goes on and on.....

Someone needs to pay indeed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The problem of corruption in Uganda: The role for UACE

The previous article mentioned the general framework against corruption and this now specifically touches of the role of professional bodies like UACE and as the nation grapples with how to tackle this malaise; such bodies are not only important but given where we have reached, I believe they are the only way out. I suggest the following ways:

1 UACE can help to reduce delay in the disposal of corruption cases
Establishment of a special division of the High court to handle corruption and coordinate cases at the High Court to facilitate easy and quick case disposal was a move in the right direction. However, there is still lack of will and commitment on the part of professional bodies like UACE to enforce and support the framework in place to fight corruption by administering justice and bringing the culprits to book through provision of professional evidence or free advice on how to adduce and present evidence connected to engineering. In most technical cases Government is bound to lose just because of lack of this.

The longer it takes to prosecute the corruption cases the higher the risk of losing evidence and interest from witnesses. The engineering profession has been cited for occasioning delays in providing technical input as well as handling and disposing of reported and investigated corruption cases related to the profession. Many are concerned that most cases lose track because despite successful investigations there is totally no professional backup.

2 Popularizing of the policy and the professional codes
Enacting the laws and responsive bills goes by far to show the government’s will to combat corruption. However, there seems to be limited /inadequate popularization of the legislation to give room for the public’s full participation. The public is still not informed about the developments in the legislature especially the Whistle Blowers Act, client charters and the anti-corruption hotlines which would give the public confidence to report the corrupt cases. Further still professional bodies like UACE have codes that are unknown to the public.

To date many people believe it is the role of government to combat corruption because they are not informed of other bodies like UACE whose roles and responsibilities are also linked to the fight as a preventive mechanism. What if UACE punished its professionals and also guided on clear work procedures and methods? Uganda would have been a better place for investment and development. As part of UACE’s duty their input cannot be avoided.
3 Periodic declarations of incomes, assets and liabilities
Under the Leadership Code Act 2002, leaders are mandated to declare their incomes, assets and liabilities three months after commencement of the Act and for the newly appointed leaders that should be three months after taking the position and thereafter two years periodically. However while declarations have been made to a convincing level, with the existing gaps in verifying and monitoring of public servants’ assets/incomes, this law to curb corruption is constrained by the laxity to empower its enforcement mechanism. UACE can be of great help to verify the assets and also to offer various ways in which the anti-graft agencies can professionally handle real estate assets that are under investigations. Further, efforts to make these verifications will be part of the UACE’s priorities.

4 Poorly enforced laws
Uganda has a systematic anti corruption strategy to deal with combating corruption for instance the Constitution, the IGG Act, Anti corruption Act, the Leadership Code, and the Whistle Blowers Act etc. However, because of the poor enforcement of laws, there is disrespect for rule of law and undermining of the legitimacy of the enforcing authority. There is also lack of proper, fair and consistency implementation of anti-corruption legislation due to political interference and lack of professional advice. The low level of compliance with sector rules, regulations and standards has been attributed to the lack of information on the service standards, limited monitoring of service delivery; professional misconduct (like in collapsed buildings and the watchful eye of UACE) and limited application of sanctions to errant public officials.

5 Poor demand for accountability
The level of public involvement is a key in determining the quality of accountability and Value For Money (VFM) in service delivery which impacts the utilization of public resources in the long run. UACE has professional capacity to advise and also carry out VfM audits. The Government of Uganda has established financial systems to improve standards of accountability. However, one of the key challenges for the sector is poor culture to demand accountability among Ugandans.
Previously, Accountability in Uganda had been pursued from the supply side and without support from bodies like UACE, thus service providers were at liberty to provide any kind of accountability to financiers without citizens’ opinion or professional input about the validity of the accountability. This is partly due to the low level of awareness by public about their rights to demand accountability for services delivered to them and limited consciousness of bodies like UACE to support such initiatives. This is further compounded by limited access to required information (financial releases, work plans, progress report etc) at the lower local councils and mistrust of bodies like UACE with capacity to interpret the engineering data. The information deficit currently creates a sense of powerlessness and apathy and prevents people from making the connection between public resources and their right to services and accountability.

6 Limited capacity by institutions
There is a clear limited capacity due to inadequate staffing and high staff turnover in some if not all accountability institutions that affects the execution of their huge mandates and thus a bottleneck that requires innovative approaches. The professional bodies like UACE need to create a strategic approach to capacity development that will have a long-term and substantial impact on the ability of the anti-graft sector members. Framework agreements that require bodies like UACE to committee themselves should be drawn.

7 Lack of definitive collaborative framework
The UACE is made up of individuals of different mandates, considering the diverse roles and mandates of the various members, the creation of the such a body was to have a common focus through which coordination, cooperation and information sharing among the members’ core members and key stakeholders could be enhanced in the promotion, supervision, as well as implementation of accountability systems, in the realizing of efficient and effective planning and delivery of services in Uganda.
However lack of definitive collaborative framework to compel sector institutions to work as a unit to attain national accountability goals has impeded the progress of the Sector. The lack of effective coordination has affected sector priorities to be identified and supported by Government and International partners as well as other stakeholders like UACE.
In conclusion, UACE’s role cannot be over emphasized. The earlier they wake up the better. UACE therefore has a serious problem as far as promoting and fulfilling their professional role is concerned role in this era of individualism and corruption. So the only call is for UACE to shape up and wake up!

Saturday, July 26, 2014


When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:
"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to sceek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good", but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
* We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
* We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
* We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
* We have shot anti-abortionists and called it justifiable.
* We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.
* We have abused power and called it politics.
* We have coveted our neighbour's possessions and called it ambition.
* We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
* We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!"

The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in protest.In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively.The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea.

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, "The Rest of the Story," and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and whole-heartedly become our desire so that we again can be called: "one nation under God.

"If possible, please pass this prayer on to your friends. "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for everything."

Think about this: If everyone forwards this prayer to everyone on their e-mail list it would be heard by the world.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Still the same- ugly face of corruption....

As I continue to grapple with the faces and effects of corruption in Uganda, I wish to re-focus the debate. The number of people affected is very big and the national resources are eroded because of corruption.

I have seen people drinking water that cannot wash the feet of our politicians who are “sacrificing”. I have watched mothers with children on their backs lining up in health centres with horrid sanitary conditions without any hope for drugs.

I have also seen children studying under trees and using the ground as their exercise books! Since lack of medicine, water and scholastic materials is not because of failure to invest, those responsible should face the law.

I have compiled cases of malaria and other curable diseases from the Ministry of Health. It was hard for me to believe that in spite of all the efforts put in by all stakeholders, the situation is worse than even pre-1986! Branding of drugs has only helped to identify that one is purchasing â free services but there has been no positive change in the health sector.

Grand corruption is like the historical cases of Global Fund, junk helicopters, NSSF's various frauds and the disasters on our roads. All these have had a negative impact on the national economy. That notwithstanding, three recent examples have modified my perception of grand corruption as compared to petty corruption in this country.

In Oli Division in Arua, I witnessed young mothers and children making holes in the ground in order to extract a cup of dirty water to drink. In Pallisa, where a shallow well was constructed instead of a borehole, I saw people sharing it with a pig!

In Manafwa district, I saw about 50 disabled persons sharing one three-wheeled bicycle to move and fetch water from a distance of about 3km! These are direct effects of corruption.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Comic PLE questions

1. If John earns Ush1.5m, owns a 10million dollar complex and a fleet of cars. What is the probability that John is a minister? (20 marks)
a) 0.25
b) 0.50
c) 0.75
d) 1.00

2. Calculate how many times Besigye has got tear gased given the radius of his eyeball is 12 cm (20 Marks)

3. If Besigye leaves his house at midday and police is notified at 11:30am. Calculate the time left for evacuation of the city. (20 Marks)

4. If a polling station is located more than 100km from the city centre and there are 20 registered voters, how many votes will Museveni get? (30 Marks)
5. Constituency X is located 5 km away from the Electoral Commission and won by an opposition candidate Y. How long will it take the Electoral Commission to gazette Candidate Y (10 Marks)
a) 4 weeks
b) 5 weeks
c) 6 weeks
d) after approval from NRM.

1. Write NRM in full (start with twakowa) (25 marks)
2. What is the alternative name for a thief in Uganda
b) government official
d)all of the above (this one deserves 200 marks)

3. "The cow died" begin sentence with "death" using SEYA tense
a) Death deaded the cow
b) Death alas the cow
c) Deathent the cow?

4. Ottunu is single. He may get a wife (rewrite using impossible)
5. Rearrange "BIGEYES" to give the name of the opposition leader
6. Her name is Aaaaaaaaaaaaaagnes Nandutuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Now round off to the nearest vowel.

1. Besides Straka, name any other major land feature in Uganda (4 marks)
2. Name the country that sends troops to foreign missions but can't afford to capture Kony for 30 years (50 marks)
3. The answer is Nantaba. What is the question (99 marks)
4. Who will be Uganda's next president
a) Yoweri
b) Kaguta
c) Museveni
d) all the above

5. Which TV station do you watch if you want to sleep early
a) UBC
b) UBc
c) uBc
d) ubc

6. What is OPM in full?
a) Office of Professional Mugging
b) Organised Muggers Pub
c) Only Members' Pockets (the dime)

>>1. What do Moses Ali and Otafiire have in common with the fauna of uganda (hint it's natural habitat is Mgahinga forest)
>>2. Amama Mbabazi is
>>a) a robber
>>b) thug
>>c) prime minister
>>d) all the above (50bn marks) I think this qualifies to be a science question!
>>3. Explain why the Ugandan returned from India with an American accent
>>4. What is the common disease in parliament
>>d)day dreaming
>>e) all the above
>>5. Excluding straka, how many planets are in the solar system

Blame God-excuse me!

I no longer respond to pieces that are written out of lack of a fresh touch- but allow me to respond to John Nagenda ( which means I went literary in Rukiga) attacking God that He caused all the mayhem including Bududa because of His vengeance and jealousy (NV, 16th Nov 2013).

While it is true in terms of quotations John alluded to in scriptures ( he quietly never mentioned God's mercy upon souls like him because of his godly parents-the Williams- upto one thousandth generation) he misinterprets and attributes actions resulting from our own selfish and insatiable greed to God rather than to man. When he was penning this piece, apparently some one from Philippines who understood the cause of the problem was pleading to the world leaders meeting in Poland with tears on TVs to stop abusing what God gave us in our environment.

I need to mention to John and others that God will not come to plant for you a wind breaker if you uproot it, He cares indeed for the dying in hospitals but our duty is to stop thieving genocide-rs in offices, He cares for the pupil in a rural school in Nebbi, Pader, Kalangala, Kisoro or Karamoja but our duty is to ensure that the little resource sent is not devoured by the devious sysyem, He cares for the pregnant women but surely ambulances, family planning, theaters and essential medicines are the duty of man that has turned that as an industry for greed to build houses possibly near John's residence; he is aware of dictators who cling and abuse rights but surely social justice is demanded by citizens....

Finally while God remains a soft target for the ignorant, we need to understand that His quiescence is not a weakness rather a silent reminder that when He awakes then none can escape. A book titled 'Where is God when it hurts?' by Phillip Yance would help Nagenda and his ilk to attack a proper target for better humanity.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Perceptions matter and are factual-Police shut up!

I have read the article by David Lumu titled ‘Police is to investigate corrupt talk’ The New Vision 31st Oct 2013, where Police wants to engage an independent body to probe reports that the institution is the most corrupt in the country. This absurd statement was attributed to Mr. Okoth Ochola, the Deputy Inspector General of Police who insinuated that the only way to change the public perception is to investigate the process of the survey and challenge it to eliminate ‘public misnomers and perceptions that the force is the most corrupt in East Africa’.

He may be forgiven for trying to doubt whether the institution, he heads is the most sick-he is a lawyer and hence I may doubt his research skills but for Mr. Edward Ochom, the director of Police research to state similarly thus ‘…..the bad thing with perception is that ‘people don’t differentiate between a court bail and police bond. They see a person out on a court bail and they think that it is police that has released this person because of corruption’…. is neither a true perception nor professionally explicable.

The East African Bribery Index 2013 conducted in the five East African Community member states — Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania- is a survey that measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and departments around these countries. It is an index that focuses on perceptions and not hard data, then a reflection of views of experienced observers, such as country analysts and business people. It checks on how people experience corruption in a certain period of time.

Highlights of the perception index are to do with use of indicators of bad governance. It uses indicators that point to something about the state of governance or corruption in a country. These indicators “combine” different sources of information into a single measure that gives a ‘perception’ about a sector, institution or a department under: that the public perceives to be corrupt or corrupt prone. Diagnostic survey on the other hand goes for measurable and actionable indicators like how much was a bribe, or amounts involved in grand corruption scandals and whether the one who bribed was helped?

The survey aims at establishing institutions where respondents sought services in the preceding year (12 months) and if they encountered bribery situations. This information is brought out by questions on which institutions-( public and private)-the respondent interacted with in the preceding 12 months while seeking services and whether a bribe was expressly demanded or expected during the interaction. It further asks whether the respondent paid the bribe where it was demanded and if the services they sought were delivered either upon paying or refusal to pay. The survey results are then analysed along five study indicators: likelihood, prevalence, and impact of bribery, share of national bribe and average size of bribe.

The main purpose of such is to create public awareness of corruption within sectors and how it is perceived outside by potential users; and this should arouse public debates to create a climate for change within. It also offers a snapshot of the extent of the corruption problem so as to enhance comparative understanding of levels of corruption and trends over time. For example Police to date has been among the top corrupt institutions for a period of over twelve years (since I began taking interest in these surveys) and honestly, instead of defence the question should be why Police for all these periods? Is it only Transparency International (TI) that gives this picture?

These perceptions could also be a precursor and motivator of new research and complementary diagnostic analysis on causes and consequences of corruption for example in the Justice sector. So, instead of spending on any resource to refute such an index, researchers in Police should help and find why it is ever, their department implicated. Let their findings address internal changes. Indeed it will be interesting in terms of which department (other than Traffic which is known) is perceived to be more corrupt so as to create systems changes.

Apparently, Mr. Ochola has totally misrepresented the above intentions and argues that:... “We have resolved as Police to engage an independent body to undertake for us a survey on those allegations of corruption in order to avoid these perceptions,”… This is (un)fortunately what the survey is not for. It is not an in-country diagnostic tool to offer analysis on causes, dynamics or consequences of corruption and hence not a tool to draw simplistic analytical or policy conclusions nor to design policy actions for country reforms. It is a perception and therefore a tool for reflection on why even after some changes services like Police are not appreciated.

So, for Ochola to state that the conclusion by the Transparency International 2013 bribery index report that the Ugandan Police is the most corrupt in the region ‘is not acceptable’ and that it was based on “perception” and not solid research and assessment is risible in the least and ridiculous in fact. He assumes too much and seems to be aware of what is happening to other states compared to our motherland situation.

I have traveled along the EA boarders by road and by air. I recently-two weeks ago-traveled in a bus that operates in the region we passed seven check points with an overload of passengers and each stop was just to facilitate pay of a bribe without any question. When I interviewed the conductor why he is paying (5,000 UGX), he told me that even if you have no overload, it is to help you move quickly and that failure to pay will make them delay the bus for more than thirty minutes checking and moving around. (By the way this happened at Sanga near Kampala during Easter this year, I was in the bus that whose driver was arrested because he had made a return trip, when I confronted the traffic police he told me so but others were passing and leaving behind a package…. We spent two hours with Rwandese who were welcomed to the pearl of Africa in a Ugandan way…). Conductors get an average of 100,000 per trip mainly for the Ugandan Police; details will be later in a paper am publishing on benefits or the goodness of corruption in institutions like Police where salary can delay for two months!

On the same journey, when we reached one of the check points the bus conductor threw the money down on the ground as the Traffic Police nodded, many passengers laughed at Uganda… I could not; and the absurdity of picking bribes like chimps fighting for mangoes thrown from a moving vehicle hit me hard! I swallowed hard and wished that instead of these Police chiefs moving in vehicles armed with sirens they would quietly enter a bus and observe what happens-may be then they would throw in the towel-knowing the temerity these bribe takers have in broad daylight and the shame of Uganda…. Does this happen else -where in EA? Yes, but not as direct.

I write this painfully, because somewhere there are friends of mine in Police who are clean and are fighting all forces of darkness to work decently. But of course those are very few and are to be most pitied. Why? Because I know (I don’t suspect) many of their colleagues that use cases as ATM cards- in fact every Friday you will find Civil Servants in ministries that are under investigation doing similar acts in order to get money to pay Police so that they frustrate investigations. I wish somebody could also investigate all imports for just one year from China in the name of Uganda Police…. Why do we seem to deny the obvious?

Mr. Ochola apparently admits that there is corruption. He states that; ….“we have found it pertinent to put some things right. Although it is not in dispute that bribery exists in police, the report should be thorough in terms of methodology and literature review. What they have done is to do random surveys of a few individuals and then compile a report on the perceptions of these people,”… this is a similar argument advance by the IGP last year and this year. What they would be doing is simply to build systems that prevent abuse and taking action against perpetuators rather than them re-writing the book of lamentations- in fact Prophet Jeremiah becomes an amateur when you see some of their eulogies.

He states that he after the 2012 bribery index report that ranked Police highly on corruption, Police called Transparency International for a meeting. But that they (TI) refused, again, for those of us who are in the know, he is telling lies- not that the meeting was necessary anyway. What he should be doing is to do a more methodical survey and as stated earlier may be that will only help him to see that the survey after all is not as bad- and it would help him to shape up or shut up or simply shut-up and shape out.

He wants Police to get involved in the survey. He laments thus: “Now, they have released another report without our involvement. Transparency International is not serious. What criteria did they use? Who did the interview? Their report is more of a posture than substance. It is meant to justify donor-funding,”… what I know is that we have had three National Integrity Surveys by IGG an arm of Government and the lamenter should simply re-read them. I participated as a supervisor in one of them and that helped me to appreciate the problem some of these institutions are faced with and why reform is no longer a question except to those who benefit.

I would continue but sometimes it is hard to advise those who are drowning and they behave as if they are in a swimming pool. East African Bribery Index 2013 put corruption by sector in Uganda as Police (1), Local Governments (2), Land Services (3), Judiciary (4) and Licensing Services (5). The discussion should be what do we do with these sectors rather than whether they used proper methodology. Mr. Ochola should know that even if a ‘bad’ methodology identifies you as bad then you are far from being good. He should know that we are really tired and angry!

Statistician working with the Anglican Church Kampala