Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Theft and #corruption in #Uganda deter many donors

#Issue 22

Accountability Is The Way To Go!

By Wabuyi Denis

One time I landed on a young man complaining to his peers that his benefactor is mean.

The cause for complaint was a little bit comical but real. This boy would be given money to go and purchase items for home use but every time he was sent the items, he would not return the change (call it balance). Being Ugandan, he didn't see much importance in giving back the "balance" or accounting to his benefactor.

To him, retaining a sum as little as sh.200 or 500 needed no explanation to a man who earns over 10 million in a month.

But this boy was astounded one time when he asked for a book from his guardian; the man reminded him of the 200 he retained previously when he was sent for sugar, 500 he kept when he went to buy salt, 800 when he was sent for soap, and 700 when he was sent to buy fuel. He therefore added for him 1000 to buy a book of 3000 and bring back 200. Of course he did not have the money as he had used it for whatever;

To make matters worse for him, he was asked to present the book as evidence that he had bought it. This was a stunner and since then, the boy learnt to return change whenever he was sent for purchases. It is a simple example but may be a clear description of our society. We are being faced with a populace which is highly dependent and expectant of provision from the people who work hard to earn their money.  There is always that feeling of entitlement, that the world owes us something which is not worse, the worst is the refusal to account for even what we are given for free.

If we were a developed country, we could say that everything is okay because there are those who have worked and they have some reserves to cater for the handouts and other social programmes maybe, but to a nation like Uganda everyone of us needs to take the bull by its horns inconsiderate of our position in life, government and society.  Even when you're not working, you need to be seen to be working.    
To develop an economy like Uganda from the scratches that we are; we all need to play a part in building the nation and truth be told, all those that will not accept symbiotic relationship will lose their relations and any existing hold to sanity. We need to harness and build a symbiotic sort of relationship because no nation works unless everyone plays their part. However this sustained hard work should be backed up with a simple principle or rule; Accountability.

It does not only have to be accounting for money that you received from a person; no but of course money takes first place when we talk of accountability because it alone defines your level of integrity and helps create trust and keep friendship. You can do many bad things to a friend and you bury the hatchet but when it comes to money, it often goes an extra mile into the mud and sometimes into madness!

Before getting into finance, let us look at how Ugandans are still struggling with Accountability;

Mutahi is a husband and a father of three. He returns home after 10 pm everyday apart from Sundays. Mutahi’s children have never known the sweetness of playing with a dad and many times they forget his voice and skin colour. On Saturdays when he would return earlier, he spends it away with his buddies while watching his favourite team Arsenal. His friends call him a fool because Mutahi says that he can never engage in promiscuous activities like Kundu and Katamba. However, his wife is still bitter with him, his children are never comfortable in his presence. But what does he do with over 16 hours a day? Toil to make their lives better. What would make a difference is if he could sit with his baby mama and tell her where he gets the money that keeps their children in the best schools. If he could only account for the time he spends away from home, there could be a jovial mood in the home. He could actually be having twins.

Wanendeya Bosco is in Senior 3. He has a sight problem and does not see the blackboard as well as Ndagire does.  He therefore stays back with Ndagire every evening after class and she helps him with Maths. On Wednesday when the Senior Woman teacher found the 2 in a dark corner of the class, she pulled Wanendeya by ears to the staff room and had them lashed for “coupling”. In his mind, Wanendeya regards Ndagire to be a caring sister. That is why it hurts him when they associate their relationship with romantic intimacy. Bosco has never told his teachers that he has a sight problem, not even his parents. He therefore runs late for house chores every evening because he reaches home at 7pm and when his mother asks, his adolescence reminds him that he is a man not to be controlled.

Waiswa wakes up at 4 am every morning and goes to the banks of River Nile not to swim because he can’t swim. Every morning while going to work at Nytil, Zubair meets Waiswa jogging towards his muzigo. Even Waiswa is suspicious of Mukili who he meets every morning in a vest and shorts. Zubair therefore knows that Mukili and Waiswa are night dancers and he keeps telling his children to avoid their homes.

However, Mukili was told to start intensive exercise or risk heart attack. Because he has no other time to do the exercise and muscle flexing, he has committed his first hour of every morning to road work on their village footpath. Waiswa was told by his music producer that he needs to work on his voice to perfect his music. He therefore has to wail along the river bank for at least one hour and the appropriate time is night when all other noises are out. It is why he wakes up at 4 every morning.

From the above examples Waiswa and Mukili are doing perfectly what is right but because they have not accounted their actions to the people, in a closed society like Bulyankuyege of Buikwe they were told to vacate the village.

Back to finance; Waweyo went to withdrawal his father’s pension. He spent 20,000 on his girlfriend, used 5,000 to buy pineapples and watermelon, bought a nice watch at 1500 for his mother and some herbs for his father. When he reached home, he explained everything to his father  including 20,000 which he said he spent on “some personal issue”. His father understood and thanked him. Because Waweyo was at campus, they sent Timothy to withdrawal money last month.

Timothy bought many things and brought them home but he could not recall everything he bought including the 50,000 he paid to Pande for the items they had taken on credit. He tried to recall but could not remember where 50,000/- went. His father abused him calling him a cheat but he knew that the money was spent rightfully.

The issue here is accountability. Waweyo wasted 20,000 on his chick but because he was smart enough to even account for it, he beat Timothy who didn’t waste any money but had a stone for a head.

So many times we have seen organizations start and close in the first 5 years of operations; it is accountability.  We have seen relationships collapse and marriages collapse just because people cannot account to one another. We take it for granted that maybe the money is little.

I spend just a few hours outside home they will understand not knowing that we are killing a marriage, relationship or business. It reminds me of some incident with my ex-girlfriend. She asked whether she could join me in town and I just told her no, she asked why and I told her not to mind. After helping mummy do the shopping we returned home and being that I was tired, I went straight to bed at 8pm; all the calls my girlfriend made went unanswered. Waking up with no airtime I thought I would call her when I reach office which I didn’t because of an arising situation that called for a meeting.

By then it was 1pm and I had not called her neither did she. At around 5 pm a message came into my phone; “I did not know that our love could end like this”. Did I say she is my ex?

If this post was too long but you still read it, thank you. It was meant to pass just two messages; communication and accountability, ditch them and you too will be ditched!


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