Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Improving the quality of Education for the UPE pupils in Uganda has been the quest for every other concerned citizen since its inception in 1997 when the enrollment shot from 2.5millon to 8million. Commentators lamented and policy makers went back to the drawing board to make UPE a reality since government had made it clear that it was a right for all children to be in school.

P.4 Pupils of Mulongithi Primary School, Kasese Municipality, July 2013 after receiving the child to child gifts from RWECO staff
The directive was "let all children be in class" what about the classrooms, teachers and sanitation in schools were the key issues raised by the commentators till now when the same words are still being re-echoed after 16 years down the road with Uganda being hailed by UN as having successfully implemented the UPE policy. With that in mind, RWECO and other development partners have supplemented government efforts in giving out 1100 child-to-child gifts that were donated by The Edukans Foundation based in the Netherlands  in partnership with Education Expertise Center Uganda (ELEC-U), Association of Evangelical Churches in African and Noah's Arch  Child Ministry based in Mukono. The child to child gifts were a typical learning aid to facilitate the transition class (P.4) where children are introduced to English Language as a medium of instruction. While those who think thematic curriculum was not serving its purpose should be guided about key tenets in learning. I believe our children need to learn their mother tongue, why should we like foreign languages without promoting our own.

Hon. Win Kiiza Nyabahasa (4th left), Woman MP, Kasese district, commissioning the distribution of the child to child gifts at RWECO office, July, 2013.
I have seen and witnessed those we want to copy - the western countries- admiring our national heritage including language and dressing, food and art facets. Take an example of the early missionaries who learnt Luganda, Swahili, Luo, and Runyakitara to mention but a few, I always wonder when schooled parents introduce English to their  young children arguing that it was  good to teach children English!!! what about those who teach their native languages and make computers, phones, name them. In the west, unless you went to an International School, instruction in schools and institutions of higher learning is in native language- In the Netherlands its dutch, Frence, Belgium and Switzerland, use french. I would imagine if we want the young generation to master their language, the thematic curriculum was the way to go, lest we take our children to International schools in Uganda!!! 

Classrooms at Mulongithi P. S, Kasese Municipality: P.4 Class had an enrollment of 56 pupils as of July 2013. Such were the classrooms that accommodate large numbers of pupils at the inception of UPE in 1997
 As Mahatma Gandhi notes " .. be the change you want to see in the world.." RWECO was motivated when the children and teachers were in ululations when they received a consignment of  56 child to child gifts which to the teachers were a good learning aid right from home to the classroom. Development partners came only to supplement what the government had done though little but it brought a smiling face to the teachers and children. RWECO wants to "walk the talk" by being a change in the world that we want to see our children in the next 50 years.

Teachers taking the records of pupil during the distribution of the child to child gifts

RWECO "walk the talk"

Many more organisations and development partners support the UPE program in different ways but what are the results when we read reports about the increasing numbers of drop outs especially girls as they advance to upper primary- ARE OUR CHILDREN LEARNING -UWEZO REPORT 2012 (http://www.uwezo.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/RO_2012_UwezoEastAfricaReport.pdf ), The National Assessment Progress in Education Report,  2011(NAPE-Uganda).  The parents have been blamed for relegating their critical duty to the schools when they fail to provide mid day meals to their own children!! While Government has also shot herself in the foot when teachers were promised a 20% salary increment in the 2013/14 budget but only 4% was allocated by the Minister of Finance. Indeed, are our children learning given the biting financial crunch, prolonged famine hitting the country and the looming strike by the teachers will be a last kick to the dying horse!!! Reports of inadequate funding to UPE are the blue prints in our local media reducing from Ugx 7200/ per pupil per annum  to Ugx 2,700/. During the field monitoring by RWECO CPF at Kasanga P. S, Kasese district, it was observed that during the last quarter Apri-June, 2013, the School received Ugx. 1,400,000/ translating into Ugx. 200/ per month per child, implying that government remits Ugx.600/ per year per child to Kasanga P. School. The good lesson to learn was, the head teacher displays the funds received on the notice board in the office. The question was, will  the Ugx 200 meet the basic needs  of the child given that the children are at school for 5 days in a week giving us 20 working days per month. The expenditure per child per day  will be 200/20= 10/=

In real terms will the Ugx.10/ make our children learn, has anybody bothered to share this  analysis with government to put a case for increased expenditure on the cost of education in Uganda?. What about other members of the East African Community what is the cost of Education in the primary sector? The Uganda vision 2040 will only be achieved if the middle class in Uganda can realise that we need moral uprightness and good will in order to talk of a middle class world. Uganda is one country that was believed to be on the right path in achieving the MDG targets on halving poverty and hunger, access to basic education and reducing child mortality by 2015.

Its our duty to act now and hold those accountable to deliver!!!

Jimmy B.O
Policy Analyst 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Social Accountability in 9th Parlaiment of Uganda:Silent MPs exposed

Silent mps

By Isaac Imaka

Posted  Thursday, July 4  2013 at  01:00
In Summary
While their colleagues are contributing to matters of national importance, these MPs prefer to keep numb and rather contribute “only when it is an issue directly affecting their voters”.

The word Parliament comes from a French word ‘parler’, which means to speak. You would, therefore, expect a parliamentarian to be keen to speak.
However, a Daily Monitor study of the Hansard—the official record of Parliament—shows that 34 MPs have spoken less than five times on the floor of the House in the last two years while another 105 have contributed less than 15 times to debates.
The study focused on the first and second sessions of the current 9th Parliament, which ran from May 2011 to May 2013. Parliament resumed last week for the third session, after the President addressed MPs on the State of the Nation.
In a House of 386 legislators, these statistics mean about half of the people’s representatives have contributed less than 15 times on the floor of Parliament—also known as the plenary sessions.
MPs are also assigned to different committees where they are expected to contribute. This study did not take into account legislators’ contributions in committees. A study of the “most silent” MPs indicates that of the 34 who have spoken less than five times, 29 of them belong to the ruling NRM party, three represent the army while two independents, Mr Kaddumukasa Ssozi (Mityana South) and John Muyingo (Bamunanika), complete the list.
No opposition MP featured in this group.
Some of the notable ruling party MPs in this group are Isaac Sejjoba (Bukoto), Proscovia Alengot (Usuk), Peter Mugema (Iganga Municipality), Tony Kipoi (Bubulo), Saleh Kamba (Kibuku) and Yahya Gudoi (Bungokho North).
Ministers too
Despite sitting on the front bench and having opportunity to explain government policies and positions, several ministers also find themselves among the most silent MPs. These include Flavia Nabugere (Environment), Lukia Nakadama (gender), Vincent Nyanzi (VP’s office), Nyira Mijumbi (Agriculture), John Muyingo (Education), Ronald Kibuule (Youth), Henry Kajura (Public Service) and Christine Aporu (Teso Affairs). But Mr Nyanzi, the State Minister in the Office of the Vice President, whom Hansard records show has never spoken in two years, says he can only talk if something about his docket comes up.
“As a minister, I speak whenever I am asked a question. My ministry is the office of the Vice President and there’s no project there to report about. What do you want me to speak in Parliament?” he asked.
Asked why they are not active in plenary, some MPs said they speak most while in committees but others indicated it is not compulsory for them to talk. “It all depends on issues one wants to rise,” said Mr Mugema (Iganga Municipality). “There are cases of one failing to talk on the floor but when he/she actually contributes more in committees like me.”
In justifying his silence, Mr Sejjoba said he only contributes to quality debates and he is not “one of those MPs who just talks for the sake of talking.” But if the Hansard is anything to go by, Mr Ssejjoba is yet to find quality debate to engage him since he has not uttered any word on the floor of the House.
As for the army, of its 10 representatives in Parliament, only Gen Elly Tumwine contributes to debates. The rest have kept true to their unwritten call card: being listening posts.
Renegade General David Sejusa had never spoken a word on the floor of the House, a situation similar to Internal Affairs minister-designate Gen Aronda Nyakairima and his successor as Chief of Defence Forces Gen Katumba Wamala.
Political commentator Nicholas Opiyo says although speaking in Parliament is important, MPs are severely limited on the amount of time they have on the floor. “In a crowded Parliament, if everybody turned up to speak, it would be very difficult to debate,” he said. “But Parliaments have floor leaders who lead debates and the rest of the MPs just endorse. The Speaker always gives floor leaders more time to speak so as to shape debate.”
Mr Opiyo further argues that the return to multiparty politics has killed debates on the floor of the House and has reduced MPs activities to parroting party positions. Members, he says, often keep quiet instead of debating soberly for fear of causing disquiet and apprehension from their superiors.
The House’s 30 usual suspects
In parliamentary language, they are referred to as floor leaders while journalists call them the usual suspects. The Speaker always picks them and allows them an extra minute, probably to shape debate, and on more than one occasion, silent MPs have rubber stamped their stand. They are the most out spoken MPs in the Ninth Parliament floor because they contribute to almost every topical issue in the House for as long as it is in the interest of the general public.
You will hear their voice on issues such as the dirty public toilets in the city, a broken foot bridge in the deepest of villages, teachers’ salaries and the messy health system, to the increasing kleptocracy in the country - all with the same decibels.
Out of a pack of 386 legislators, this group has a membership of only 40 MPs, going by a copy of the Hansard chronicling the contribution of MPs on the floor since the Ninth Parliament started in May 2011.
Their continued outspokenness has helped portray the Ninth Parliament as a vocal and stinging House. Because of this, three NRM MPs were thrown out of the ruling party for “indiscipline”. Ms Nankabirwa Ann Maria (Kyankwanzi) was the only woman from the ruling party who was part of the 10 MPs who literally rewrote the Petroleum Bill.


Accessed on Friday 5th July from:http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Silent-MPs-exposed/-/688334/1903726/-/item/0/-/cy47iy/-/index.html


On 20th June 2013 stakeholders in the education sector gathered at Nyansozi primary school in Mugusu sub county Kabarole District to address challenges affecting performance of pupils in Mugusu Sub County. Among the participants were the District Chair Person Hon Rwabuhinga Richard, MP for Burahya County Hon Stephen Kagwera Kasaija, NRM Chair Mr. Nyakahuma, the Chair Person LC III Mugusu, Hon Councillors, Chair Person LC ones, the DIS Kabarole Mr. Rujumba Joseph, Inspector of Schools Burahya, Mrs Kwezi Gorret, head teachers’ representatives, Chair Person PTAs from primary schools in Mugusu sub county, Parents, pupils, NGOs and other dignitaries. The Dialogue meeting was organized by Nyansozi primary school in partnership with RIDE Africa.
During the dialogue meeting the head teacher Nyansozi Primary school Mr. Rwabutiti Vincent gave a report about the school which highlighted that the school had performed poorly in 2012 PLE exams and the contributing factors were; some pupils not packing lunch e.g. only 60% of the total population in the school packs lunch, some parents inadequately provide scholastic materials and uniform to the learners, some children come from uncondusive home environment which affects their concentration in class among others.
He also presented a list of teachers’ needs which included; monthly allowances, Daily lunch, Accommodation, encouragement and moral support from parents and other stakeholders and obtaining respect for parenting children at school. Mr. Rwabutiti requested stakeholders to support the school in all aspects as it was planning to have a boarding section for the candidate class beginning 2013 and taking children for study tours within the district.
Mr. Richard Rwabuhinga, Kabarole district Chairperson, demonstrating how a good dancer makes good strokes to attract the attention of the audience: That was during the Kabarole district community meeting at Nyansozi Primary school

Different speakers emphasized the issue of parents’ contribution to the school and one of the guest speakers Hon Rwabuhinga Richard, LCV Chairperson demonstrated that ‘what makes one a good dancer is the wrapper around the waist (Ekizinisa Kurungi Omuzini Kaba Kasaatu). He was trying to emphasize that in order  for teachers to put in extra time in teaching they needed to be motivated.

by Ms Kahunde Erina, RIDE Africa