presserFor over a month now, the country has been running without an Inspector General of Government (IGG) after the office fell vacant on July 5 when the term of office for Justice Irene Mulyagonja expired and she has since been appointed to the Court of Appeal.
The third National Development Plan (NDP III) identifies corruption as one of the key obstacles to Uganda’s development and the country being ranked as the second most corrupt in the East African region, the situation has not been helped by the absence of a substantive Inspector General of Government.
While the Inspectorate of Government is very central to the fight against corruption by virtue of its special powers to investigate, arrest and prosecute cases involving corruption, the office is poorly resourced and underfunded to carry out its duties. The absence of a substantive Inspector General of Government has further paralyzed the situation, leading to case backlog. Successful prosecution of cases hangs in the balance, such as the most recent one in April 2020 where four top Ugandan Government officials were arrested for inflating Covid-19 relief food prices thereby causing government losses in excess of shs1.9 billion.
The Civil Society Organisations said the Inspectorate of Government in its current state cannot initiate new charges neither can institute new investigations, apart from continuing with those already in the system. This alone is an impediment to Uganda’s anti-corruption fight, especially now that the country is headed into the 2021 general elections. Although members of the Leadership Code Tribunal were in July officially sworn in, they cannot effectively do their work without a fully functional Inspectorate of Government.
The Civil Society Organisations argue that the presence of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Lt.Col. Edith Nakalema cannot substitute the office of the Inspector General of Government which is a fully constituted office with branches around the country.
There are many parallel anti –corruption units put in place by the President and the intentions might be good but we think for streamlined fight against corruption, the office of the Inspector General of Government should be reinforced with staff from these units. However, with the absence of a substantive Inspector General of Government, we think President Museveni is undermining his efforts to fight corruption in Uganda.
Jacob Opio
Uganda Debt Network

covid 2Time is known to heal all wounds but at the same time makes us forget the existence of sensitive issues. A few months ago, Uganda was under a full lockdown with many restrictions and guidelines for the public on how to prevent the spread of COVID19. As time went on, it became inevitable for the economy to reopen for normal business. In the beginning, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Government including; mandatory wearing of a face mask, social distancing, among others, were strictly observed by the public.
To date, many individuals seem to not only have forgotten about the SOPs but also the existence of COVID19. Some Ugandans believe the whole situation is a myth whereas others are convinced that the Virus is far from their reach. However, the reality is that the virus is still around, as witnessed by the 8 number of deaths registered so far. One would ask himself/herself whether the government has become so complacent with the current state of affairs or has totally forgotten its mandate. It is flabbergasting to see huge crowds of people gathering without observing social distancing and wearing a mask. Some top government officials whom society looks up to as role models have continued to defy safety protocols all in the name of making campaigns. This surely fulfills the saying that “do as I say but not as I do”. The life of every Ugandan is precious to our motherland and it is appropriate that adequate measures are taken to reverse the increasing likelihood of a mass viral infection.
The government must penalize all individuals that do not observe safety protocol for holding public meetings irrespective of political affiliation and social status. There is a need to enhance public awareness campaigns to the grassroots levels as a way of reminding Ugandans about the dangers of careless living. Enforcement operations for the SOPs should remain a key strategy in this battle of keeping Ugandans safe.

Let us not leave the progress so far made to ruin!
 

By James Ssempijja
Writer works at Uganda Debt Network, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ConstituenciesAs Ugandans continue to grapple with the effects of coronavirus, a controversial decision by parliament to create 47 new constituencies sent a different message. Many Ugandans are asking themselves whether a crippling economy at the moment needs such new expenditure waves.
This decision brings the number of MPS to 497 in the next parliament. This means more tax payers’ money will flow to the August House. The growing size of parliament is surely going to affect the quality of debate and management. I subscribe to the school of thoughts, which believes in medium numbers to oversee national matters.

These new constituencies have been created one month after the financial year 2020/2021 came into operationalization, this means they were not catered for in the National budget. This means Ministry of finance will have to provide funds for running these new administration units, bank rolling salaries and allowances for the new MPs, let alone purchase of vehicles for each of the new 72 MPs in the next parliament from I don’t know where, but most likely government is going to borrow! Sooner or later we will be seeing supplementary budgets or loan requests tabled in Parliament for approval to cater for these new administrative units. More and more loans, more debt burden for the taxpayers at the end of the day.
The philosophy of “bringing services closer to the people” through creation of new cities and constituencies remains debatable. A number of new districts do not have the required structure, labour and suffer from budgetary funding gaps. This poses a risk of having a repeated cycle of unfinished projects and plans, which could have an adverse effect on the quality of social service delivery.
There is need for government to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the macroeconomic effect of creating new constituencies and cities vis-a-vis achieving national development objectives. A cost-benefit analysis is required so that the populace will understand the role of these new constituencies and cities in the country’s development as well to ensure that tax payers’ resources are put to the best use.