Conferences will not develop Uganda’s economy and society

Uganda has become a conference country. Ugandans are attending conferences or workshops at home and abroad and hosting international conferences. The international conferences are hosted largely to boost Uganda’s sagging image but are very costly in human and financial terms.

This article is a response to a request at the UDU Boston conference (October 2011) to provide information that may help to understand why Uganda despite all its endowments and generous external support poverty remains high and is deepening for some 20 percent in the lowest income bracket.

By and large, these meetings are organized or attended to analyze Uganda’s development challenges, draw lessons and recommend solutions.

A closer examination since 1986 indicates that Uganda’s development problems have been analyzed in detail, lessons learned and recommendations articulated as outlined below. Consequently, conferences could be significantly reduced, resources saved and the focus reoriented to address emerging challenges.

First, Uganda’s development challenges have been exhaustively analyzed and solutions adequately articulated. The analysis and recommendations in the ten-point program later extended to fifteen remain valid as subsequently elaborated and expanded or refocused in research findings and other documents like UDU’s National Recovery Plan (NRP) which was officially transmitted to the government and Uganda’s development partners. The Plan is accessible at

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

The Rome Statute came into force on July 1, 2002 and Uganda is a signatory.

The States Parties to this Statute are “Determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of these crimes”.

It is the duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes.

Article 5: Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court

(a) The crime of genocide;

(b) Crimes against humanity;

(c) War crimes;

(d) The crime of aggression

Genocide (Article 6) any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court


The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the Statute) was adopted on 17 July 1998 at a United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. The Statute establishes an international criminal court to try individuals for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole and seeks to establish a fair and just international criminal justice system with competent and impartial judges and an independent prosecutor. Unlike an ad hoc tribunal, the Court is a permanent institution, which ensures that the international community can make immediate use of its services in the event of atrocities occurring and also acts as a deterrent to those who would perpetrate such crimes.


The Statute establishes a Court composed of the following organs: the Presidency, an Appeals Division, a Trial Division and a Pre-trial Division, the Office of the Prosecutor and the Registry. Its judges will be persons of high moral character and integrity and in their selection the Parties will take into account the need for the representation of the principal legal systems of the world, equitable geographical distribution and a fair representation of female and male judges.

International assistance as development, bribe or punishment

In this article I am referring to multilateral-to-government and bilateral or government-to-government development assistance. I have spoken and written that when development assistance is given, received and used strictly for development purposes it produces tangible outcomes that improve human quality and accelerate growth and development.

For example, assistance that was given to Uganda between October 1962 when the country became independent and December 1970 before Obote’s regime was overthrown in a military coup in January 1971 was put to good use in institutional and infrastructural capacity development.

Unlike in the past when health services were concentrated in towns, under Obote I regime, quality hospitals, clinics and staff houses were concentrated in rural areas. Doctors, nurses and midwives were trained, paid well and retained in Uganda. Because there was no need for moonlighting and corruption to make ends meet, patients received good services. Private health services were subsidized to reduce charges. Primary health care received a boost in immunization, safe drinking water, sanitation, general hygiene, housing and food and nutrition security.

In the area of education, quality schools and teachers houses on school premises were constructed again mostly in rural areas, teachers were trained, well paid and sufficient instructional materials provided.