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....