In the wake of Covid 19 in the world, Ugandan public service and political elite displayed high level patriotism. Was it because they love the country? Was it because Covid 19 is so dangerous that it knows no status-rich or poor? Was it because of what was expected thereafter? These and many other questions lingered in my head!
Time check is 2:00 Pmy. The relevant Minister presents a suplimentary budget to Parliament to fight Covid 19. When money comes in, patriotism is put aside, halted and then, everyone’s true colors displayed. This is where the good banana republic goes bad!
That no sooner had corona virus
became an issue than the locusts disappeared. I am sure if it hadn’t been Coronavirus, we would still be funding more suplimentary budgets to fight the locusts. What a beautiful Pearl of Africa!
Back to the point, take a look; of the sh30 billion needed by KCCA, sh3 billion will be allocated to risk communication and social mobilisation, I think here we need a Professor from Makerere University to explain how such money will be spent.
Coordination and Preparedness will take sh4 billion. The unique thing with this budget is that the planned activities are as ambiguous as the budgetary allocations because, what is preparedness? I thought the whole budget is about preparedness! You prepare by doing certain activities, having certain targets, materials, deploying certain personnel or resources etc. Preparedness is not an activity in itself but rather a set of timely deliberate activities geared towards achieving something. The whole Budget is about preparedness, so when you allocate billions of money for preparedness, it remains vague on how you will spend the money.
Then you have one billion to monitor print, electronic and social media plus coordinating all communication. This is also amazing, what does it take to monitor media? Simply buying newspapers and reading stories? Somebody reading what people are writing on social media like Linda Nabusayi does in assisting the President, does that need a whopping one billion?
Then, you have sh50 million to compile and distribute Presidential directives to different officers. I don’t know whether they are going to compile the less than 20 directives or whether they are going to compile UNEB question papers since 1986? In this era of information do you need sh50 million to compile and deliver Presidential directives? Are the directives going to be written on stones like God’s Ten commandments? Are they going to be transported using Post Office? Are they going to be delivered to each office using a chopper? Cry my motherland!
Then you have sh10 billion allocated for 5 TVs and 200 radio stations talk shows where obviously 90% of the radio stations are owned by NRM politicians and government servants.
For example, assuming sh1 bn is for the 5 televisions (200m per TV) & 9 billion for 200 radio stations. Save for Kampala, an hour upcountry on air goes between 500,000/= to 1,000,000/=. Take an example that on average an hour will be charged sh800,000 per talkshow since this is a health issue and every body’s concern.
Also aware that all media outlets have been patriotically giving free coverage to all Coronavirus related information, this means that each radio station will have 56 talk shows to spend this money totaling to 11,200 radio talk shows, is this reasonable in any way?
Wasn’t it possible for the President to issue a directive or even make a request to all media houses to give publicity to government officials on messages regarding corona virus
since this is a global pandemic? Wouldn’t the sh10 billion be saved?
Then you have sh3 billion for billboards. Oh my God! This Coronavirus thing must be another Chogm!
I will not go into the whole budget and all it’s abnormalities but all this is about what we call taking advantage of the crisis (okuriira mukavuyo / tomulabula).
What is clear is that amidst this crisis when government revenue’s have dwindled, businesses at halt and everything at standstill, the heartless in government have found an opportunity not only to cheat but also to exploit Ugandans. This explains why the President left it to a few of his henchmen disregarding any involvement of those not in his inner circle!
Whereas Covid 19 and its cost is bigger and more threatening than the billions we are talking about, allocating of this money reasonably would not be a bad idea.
At some point in time after this crisis, these questions will be posed and will need to be answered. The emotional state of the country right now do not permit asking any reasonable questions since every Ugandan has been silenced into submission by this threat.
Since emotions overrun logic, few will logically understand my point, they will actually claim that I am being political but indeed like the message of salvation will be delivered in parables, even this, the fools will not understand.
I thank those that have tirelessly worked to fight this corona virus
/Covid 19, Your efforts will be remembered. For those that have taken advantage of it, we shall keep remembering you until your time to answer these questions comes.
May God bless Uganda.
Do you have a story in your community or an opinion to share with us: Email us at email@example.com
The writer is a member of the Alliance for National Transformation.