Published by Patra K on

Government prioritizes political administration over citizen’s welfare

The state of ganga-hospital (Photo courtesy of Uganda multi-media news and information)

News concerning Ugandans having received suspected fake COVID vaccines is an indicator of a state failing to police social service delivery, abdicating its responsibility to the forces of the market. The interpretation of a private sector-driven economy by government needs to be re-visited to appreciate that social services like Health and Education can’t be left to the private sector for the very reason of profit maximization being preferred over quality of life and welfare.

To understand how toxic the private sector led economy can be in absence of regulation from a strong arm of government, just take look at how private health facilities are pricing treatment of COVID-19, albeit the reasons they advance. Again, examine how the prices covid treatment drugs have escalated as if the market is run by a cartel.

Ugandans seem to be in a hopeless situation of an absent government when it comes to the welfare of its citizens but very present in political and military administration. For instance, Uganda’s wage bill on public administration over ailing and underfunded public facilities fails logic in all ways. For the last two Financial Years 2019/20 and 2020/21, government has allocated over UGX 600 billion ($168.6 million) on Public Sector Management. This investment is a reflection of what we currently see in the health sector concerning staffing and remunerating health workers. Because the market dictates, most health workers have sought greener pastures in private practice.

Conversely, Uganda’s biggest problem is its politics. Maintaining the political machinery under President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is at the expense of the welfare of Ugandans. The SecretKnown is that most of the public resources are invested in the burgeoning political administration. Consider the resources government spends on maintaining the bloated parliament, cabinet, advisors, Resident District Commissioners, Local Council leaders with a minimum return on investment. 

For instance, Ugandans will spend UGX 158 billion ($44.2 million) annually on the monthly remuneration of the 11th Parliament that has 527 MPs. The president has over 130 advisors, majority have never advised him albeit hardly see him. On average, each of the advisors earns a gross monthly salary of UGX 2.2 million ($616) totaling to over UGX 2.8 billion ($784.3 thousand) annually. Uganda has 145 RDCs and 87 deputy RDCs according to the records from the President’s office. 

Every month, RDCs earn UGX 2.2 million ($616), while their deputies earn UGX 1.8 million ($504) cumulatively amounting to UGX 3.8 billion ($1.6 million) and UGX 163.4 million ($45.7 thousand) respectively annually. District chairpersons countrywide earn UGX 1.5 million ($420) monthly minus allowances which translates into UGX 2.62 billion ($732.882) spent annually. The figures are higher for Municipal and City mayors. When you add the 82-member cabinet remunerations the expenditure on political offices burgeons. 

Going by the political expenditure, the country’s priorities as expressed are far from improving the welfare of its citizens. To date, better remuneration of health workers and teachers is still a disguised challenge of inadequate resources yet politicians like MPs can find resources to remunerate themselves.

Budget allocations to security even when the country is considerably at peace with most of its neighbors in the region presupposes whose priorities are on entrenching regime survival through military presence and control of masses including quelling political dissent and alternative voices. Politics aside; Where is government when Ugandans are vaccinated with fake COVID vaccines? Where is government when Ugandans are facing an oxygen crisis?

Where is  government when prices for COVID-related treatment drugs including the indigenous innovation of covidex, keep rising like it’s a stock market of cartels? Where is the government when critically ill covid patients are turned away from hospitals because they have run out of hospital beds and ICU facilities? Where is the government when private hospitals are charging exorbitantly to treat COVID? Even in isolated circumstances when government is present in the welfare of its citizens, it’s always playing catch up after deafening public noise.

The answer to the absurdity lies in the NRM’s preference to run and maintain a political system underpinned on patronage. It’s the very reason fighting corruption is next to impossible because patronage breeds political corruption. Fighting political corruption in a patronage system is like having body cells fighting each other. 

Figures don’t lie, citizen welfare is secondary!

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