Why Ugandans are asking many questions

When students ask questions or make comments or readers/audience seek more information, it means that they are following the story under discussion but need more information before drawing conclusions.

As more Ugandans read my stories largely on Ugandans at Heart Forum and on www.kashambuzi.com, I am getting more questions or requests for more information. Sometimes I am asked to comment on articles written by others. And that is good news for Ugandans and our country because knowledge is power.

Questions I have received relate mostly to why Ugandans have remained poor in spite of abundant natural resources, generous donations from development partners, remittances from Ugandans in the diaspora and foreign exchange earnings from our diversified exports.

As you know, I have been a constant critic of NRM policies since 1987 not because I want to give the government a headache but because I am convinced that the government is driving Ugandans on a wrong bus in a wrong direction. With all the resources and revenue at our disposal, Uganda should have enough money to get everyone out of abject poverty and the associated ills. Instead human conditions are getting worse. When people eat one meal of maize or cassava a day or in two days or when households reduce eating meat from three times to once a week that is regression. And that is what is happening in many homes in Uganda. It has been reported that some mothers give their children warm water for dinner because there is no food! The poor are getting poorer and the rich richer.

Where did all the generous development donations to Uganda go?

The rapidly deteriorating economic, social, cultural and ecological conditions as manifested in the diseases of poverty, ecological deterioration and a breakdown in moral values to make ends meet have raised questions about the destination of massive donor development (as opposed to security and defense) aid money to Uganda. Since 1987 when the government signed an agreement with the IMF that opened the door for contributions, donors (bilateral, multilateral, UN and NGOs) have generously extended a helping hand. Additionally, Uganda was the first country to get debt relief under HIPC (Highly Indebted Poorest Countries) initiative on the understanding that the funds released would support critical poverty eradication programs such as primary education, primary health care, rural feeder roads, agricultural extension and water supply.

Donor funds were released on the basis of meeting aid conditionality (including zero-tolerance for corruption), drawing up, monitoring and evaluation of comprehensive rehabilitation and development programs.

Regarding development programs, Uganda developed excellent blue prints that received international recognition and praise for their quality in design and comprehensiveness. Here are the objectives of five of these development programs that were prepared in consultation with all stakeholders including development partners.