ActionAid International Uganda has enjoyed a cordial relationship with the people and government of Uganda since 1982 - working with the most vulnerable and excluded people to improve their lives. However, this long dedicated service was on 20th September disrupted when agents of the police and other security operatives took siege of our head office in Kansanga, Kampala, cordoned and searched it for over nine hours over 2 days.
The raid took us all by surprise as it was the first time we had experienced such a magnitude of disruptive action by the government in nearly 35 years of dedicated service. We continue to experience unwarranted scrutiny and in some cases disruptions of our and partners’ activities across the country.
Aware of a tragic political history of Uganda characterized by civil strife and conflict and persuaded about the need for a peaceful transition, equal opportunity and shared prosperity, the CSOs assembled here, make the following observations and call for action:
On the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that seeks to amend Article 26 of the Constitution in accordance with articles 259 and 262 of the Constitution:-
We the members of Civil Society Organisations including SEATINI Uganda, Oxfam, Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG),Uganda Debt Network(UDN), Action Aid Uganda (AAIU), Citizens Watch-Information Technology (CEW-IT), Women and Girl Child Development Association (WEGCDA) and Inter University Tax Justice Forum, that are gathered here at SEATINI Uganda offices in Kampala this 21st April 2017 hereby present our observations and recommendations in respect to the tax measures that were presented to Parliament.
 Southern and Eastern Africa, Trade Information and Negotiations Institute
On 5th February 2013, the National Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill, 2012 was presented to the House, for its First Reading and was referred to the Committee on Science and Technology in the 9th parliament for its scrutiny. Consultations were undertaken by the Committee then and a report was produced. At the dissolution of the 9th Parliament, the speaker saved all the business that had been tabled in the house. On 21st July, 2016, a motion to reintroduce business that had remained outstanding at the dissolution of the 9th parliament was passed by the 10th parliament of which included the Biotechnology and Biosafety bill (2012). However, Rule 221(3) provides that restatement of the bill, petition or any other motion is treated as a fresh reference to the newly established committee. It’s within this space that AAU is making submissions to committee for consideration in discussion of the Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill (2012)
This is the fourth Annual CD’s Message in a series since 2013 (if you would like to read previous annual messages, follow the link Here) and like all previous ones, this year’s is anchored around a theme to rally our individual and collective efforts towards an important goal.
This year’s theme as captured above is all about Fundraising, Fundraising and more Fundraising!
We don’t have to think hard why this is the case and the end of section B below re-affirms it for those that need a reminder.
Your Excellency, on 15th November 2016, Parliament returned the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to you with a proposal to exempt MPs allowances from Taxes. The new Insertion under the Income Tax bill by MPs under Sec.21 “(qa) the employment income of person employed as a Member of Parliament, except salary” intends to create a tax exemption on MPs’ emoluments and allowances, adding them to the list of special groups including Police men, soldiers and prisons officers, that are exempt from paying tax on their allowances.
We are consortium of Ugandan civil society organizations working with ordinary Ugandans across the country. Our work gives us the privilege and honour to interact with our people on a day-to-day basis, often coming face-to-face with the reality of unfulfilled development promises, the impact of a broken public services delivery system and publicly funded projects that fail to meet the expectations of the target beneficiaries and those most in need. More importantly, we are deeply conscious of the unwavering determination of our people to better their lives, and the shared objectives of our Government and the World Bank to end poverty and improve the wellbeing of every citizen.
On Monday 4th April 2016, the world woke up to the shocking leak of confidential information by the “Panama Papers” that, among other global scandals, revealed a paper trail of evidence showing how Heritage Oil and Gas Ltd attempted to avoid paying its tax liability in Uganda.
Jiggers continue to be reported as a major public health problem in Uganda, particularly Namutumba district. They have become a community horror increasing poverty and social exclusion of the affected people and sometimes leading to death.
This year’s Annual Message is themed on ‘Responding to the Fundraising Challenge by Improving Programme Quality’. This theme doesn’t only capture the key challenge AA Uganda is facing but one that the entire AAI Federation in concerned about.
There was no better way of realising this reality than when at the 2016 Resource Allocation Meeting we realised that we start 2016, UGX 6.5 Billion less in terms of income compared to the previous year, 2015. It is a theme that reflects the critical nexus between fundraising success and programme quality and remains in line with our commitment to Program Led Fundraising - simply put, money following great ideas and quality programmes.
In February 2015, AAU embarked on a process of conducting a midterm review of the implementation of its Country Strategy Paper (CSP IV) as well as areview of its efficiency in delivering its work. The review team (consultants) completed this assignment and submitted their reports which contained anumber of recommendations aimed at: 1) enhancing possibility of achieving CSP IV objectives by 2017 and; 2) enhancing the delivery capability of AAU.This Change Management Plan is thus aimed at enabling AAU implement the findings and recommendations of the midterm and organisational efficiencyreview in a well-structured and flawless manner. It will also guide AAU on how best to successfully implement the last half of the CSP IV (2015-2017) withmore efficient and effective structure, systems, procedures, processes and approach. Internally there are changes that have arisen from the review process justconcluded that will entail adjustments and realignment of our programmes and the way we are organised at the different levels.
It is exactly three years and 1 week since I took up the mantle and responsibility of leading ActionAid Uganda after signing a 3 year Contract. Together with you all and with the incredible support from the Board, I have presided over three rewarding years for the organisation. On account of what we have achieved together and the positive direction in which we are moving in, the Board has given me an opportunity to serve a second and last term of 5 years as Country Director, an honour I have accepted with humility.In the last years, I have prepared and shared with you a New Year’s Message, reviewing the year and setting forth the agenda and priorities for the year ahead. This year, I have called it an Annual Message and it covers not just developments in the past year but also a forecast for the one ahead. It also includes a deeper reflection of my three years at ActionAid as well as my new and renewed commitments for the second and last term as Country Director of ActionAid Uganda.The theme I have chosen for this Annual Message - ‘Business as Usual is NOT an Option’ - reflects not just my persuasion but also a reality in our operating context from the local to global levels. Development is facing strains globally as the operating environment (internal and external) for especially NGOs is getting murkier and financing is suffering a double tragedy of a difficult economic situation. Millions of our former sponsors largely in the west, as well as West and a development financing paradigm that continues to favour a move to private sector - (read commercial profit) oriented trajectory. A Business as Usual Approach in these circumstances is therefore not an option!
It is often said that the ‘Sky is the limit’! For ActionAid Uganda, it may just as well, be the beginning. As I welcome you all from a deserved Festive/Holiday Season to yet another year we expect to continue our service to humanity through this incredible organisation, I found it prudent to share with you some retrospective as well as prospective thoughts as below:
Ugandans will be electing a new president and over 400 members of Parliament in the general elections that will take place on Thursday 18th February 2016. This election has been billed as one of the most critical in a generation and stakes have been made very high. The build-up to the elections has been less than ideal but hopes/fears remain high.
KAMPALA - Some media houses in Britain, the East African Region and Uganda have recently published articles about ActionAid Uganda’s work on GM crops. The origin of their stories is a very short part of a wide-ranging interview about our work given by our staff in February 2015.
Launching the Eastern League of the Anti Corruption Caravan
ActionAid Uganda in partnership with 6 national and 15 district based Civil Society organizations (CSOs) today are launching the second leg of the Anti-Corruption Caravan to cover the North-East and Eastern Uganda under the theme “Stop the Silence! Shame the Corrupt! Fame the Good Leaders! The Caravan will traverse 15 districts of Kotido, Abim, Amuria, Katakwi, Soroti, Kumi,Bukedea, Kapchorwa, Mbale, Tororo, Pallisa, Kibuku, Budaka, Namutumba and Iganga.
We the citizens of Uganda are greatly concerned about the recent budget speech by the Minister of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) which revealed a new tax regime that hits the poorest citizens while high earning companies and individuals still do not pay their fair share.
ActionAid Uganda is saddened and disappointed by recent and false claims made by a previous employee around purchase of land at an inflated price. The land was bought for the construction of ActionAid Uganda head office and other support facilities and was purchased to 600 million Uganda shillings (approximately USD 240,000).