Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Civil Society and the dawn of corruption in Uganda

Uganda's civil society has several challenges. Among others is corruption. I wonder how we can advance our cause when CSOs are themselves not beyond reproach. Many organisations exploit donors and recipients, even some good organisations with a clear vision originally attract membership; Such a vision that can be bought by anybody, such original ideas usually build or kill an organisation. Ugandans are superb in designing such original ideas. When money for HIV/AIDS global fund was released, many CSOs were coined out of the desire to attract. The famous one is that of Teddy Sseezi Cheeye a convict serving in prison after 'manufacturing' an organisation he named 'Center for Accountability". What began as supposedly a center for accountability became a center for forgery ....

Then the second thing is the founder members. In a way CSO in Uganda have a problem I call Founder Member Syndrome (FMS). People create an organisation and in a way they think that that’s their means of survival, they want to remain there, irrespective of whether they are useful or not. And those founder members will even determine the direction the organisation will take and in a way if founder members never had a good idea-to out live them, they may halt the growth of an organisation.

FMG in a way is also a facilitating factor, toward collapse of CS because founders claim that they are the mother, father and have a natural right to kill it rather than cutting the umbilical cord! FMS has made many organisations in Uganda take on the face of a person- the founder member and FMS determines the direction an organisation takes including changing colours like a chameleon leading to loss of original values or collapse. I have seen for a fact many CSOs coined out of greed and donor facilitated programs. Founders are in touch with Donors and the eventual process is facilitated by desire for money rather than service; need for survival rather than vision. FMS helps in swindling of funds and in some cases money is taken out of the account the day it is given- such members seem to suggest that they have a natural right to get since they own the 'original vision'.

As such, i know an organisations that was set up to promote ethics and integrity and while the idea was clearly brilliant, problems came when they got money from a certain donor- in good governance. They sat and decided to contract a company for a close friend and later 'agreed' to share the remaining balance. One of them was not happy with 'how much he got' and his complaint only earned him more money.

He was like bought out and I have never met him after that. Other Organisations seriously infected with FMS are those that obtained global fund for HIV/AIDS from Uganda Aids Commission in 2008. The grant was managed by Chemonics and its Finances by Delloitte and Touche an auditing firm. The selection process was a disaster, eighty three organisations succeeded, and the first disbursement out of about 59 million Ug. Shs attracted a bribe (kick back) of 10 Million that was received by a Uganda Aids Commission Official before approving forged accountabilities. The balance would normally be shared by the members. I have evidence of at least two organisations who pretended to have been training communities only as an accountability gimmick.

FMS is real and I uncovered two organisations involved in fighting corruption whose main goal was to tap physical resources from donors. They had got wind that about 160 million was available to support activities and shrewd as they normally are- they quickly registered the organisations and one of the indicators or symptoms of FMS is that they are good at mobilising one category of people- either ignorant or the uninformed. They hurriedly opened their accounts and made what looked like a work plan. Because donors normally indicate when they are to visit, such insidious FMS infected individuals normally 'borrow' an office and they make posters- due diligence yields positive results but what happened is that there was a delay and some of the FMs thought they had been funded. A fight only helped in exposing their original intention.

One founder infected with FMS has held different positions in the organisation that I know to the extent that he has now exhausted all possible options. He now uses his firm to win all big consultancies in the organisation and his evil hand is still in the dish. Donors role and their corrupt practice as I have seen it will come in the next posts.

Watch this space....


Anonymous said...

Dear Japser,
I salute you for releasing yet another volume of such an informative and appealing news letter. To the editorial team, congratulations!
My concern is about FMs, corruption, and selfishness in an NGO you know that had trouble sharing money meant for a governance project.It sounds like one of the Fms who was disgrantled gave you the information.First hand and eye catching as it may have been, men of wisdom may never believe things without question. Mind you the tongue is the most wicked thing of all man's possessions
In the AC fraternity, if am reliably informed, ACCU secretariat takes a central position in coordinating the AC activities in conjuction with other member organiztions. Am sure the mentioned Ngo is a member organization that had thought was working closely with the secretariat.Your role would have been that you arbitrate and establish the truth of the matter from all stakeholders. The little management i know tells me that all organizations big or small have internal conflicts just like families have. This is why there is provision for conflict management in the curriculum.If man was all perfect, then this would not be necessary.
Think about the wise man in African traditional society, without any formal training, he settled conflicts without biase, not to divide but to unite and together they stood.King solomon-a man of wisdom never hurried, was patient till he established the truth.

Dear collegues, we should not be so egoistic but help each other to grow. We are not in a class struggle that aims at kicking out the new and weaker members. Documentation is such a sensitive area that we should be a little more concious about what we put forward
Best regards

Jasper said...

OOh. What is the truth? Uniting when there is corruption? No way. We just need to clean up. There is no use in pretending. I wish we walk the talk or simply shape out.