Op – Ed: Ugandans should realise that stealing is bad for the Country

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By Martha Leah Nangalama

Martha Leah Nangalama, Moncton, Canada

This is a true story.  Well, I only write from life experiences so you will have to deal with reality.

My sister and I used to work with Education in Uganda, specifically Bududa District.  When I was living and working in Toronto, money was nothing.  However, besides family needs, my sister was my partner in crime so her and I used to provide school supplies for a school in Bududa.  Every February when kids showed up, they had their school supplies for the whole year.  P1 to P7.  We also provided past Exam booklets and gave some cash to the teachers plus giving them school supplies for their own kids.

Come UPE.  Our head master who used to wait all year before mzee could send money from Nairobi, was transferred out of our school. You have to understand that mzee put us all in village schools for some years before sending us to the boarding schools so we have roots there.  Anyway, after UPE, we contact the school to give us the numbers of the kids they had.  Just so we could buy enough supplies.

My sister rents a pick up truck, goes to book stores and stocks up.  Shows up at the school and the new HM tells her to put everything in the office.  we are not that stupid.  She insists on doing it as in previous years.  She goes classroom to classroom handing each kid their material.  Pays the teachers and gives them their own materials for their kids who might not be in that school.

The pickup still has too much material so she goes to the next school and the next one.  That is how we learned about ghosts.  We cancelled the project the next year.  Yes, kids lost out.  But we had gotten a friend in Switzerland that was also sponsoring one school.  Then another friend in Canada.  Accountability is crucial.  If we could be ripped off and we are from Bududa, how about our International friends.

The funny thing is some of the kids who benefited from all that work are now on Face Book abusing me.  AND I will never tell them about the Iron Lady who used to do the ground work.  You see, if you steal from your own, then how do you expect them to bring others to help you?  For the years we supported the schools in that district, kids excelled.  Now I hear they are failing.  Blame it on the administrators.  No ghosts.  We sacrifice much to help but you abuse the help.  WAKE UP UGANDA.  No more games.  The jig is up.

When Bududa had those horrible landslides where far too many died, I was invited to do the sermon in our parish. I told our church not to send a penny to them. They were rather shocked but I had other places around Moncton which needed the money and could account for it.  NOW, for Bududa, I was not wrong.  One of your ministers managed to make sh. 8 billion vanish mbu for Bududa Resettlement.

Welcome to the world. Not much will be hidden anymore.  You people steal and you cheat your own people.  I will never work on any project which injects money into Uganda without accountability because of all the stealing.

BUT I do love you all though.

By Martha Leah Nangalama
Moncton, Canada
Born and Raised in Uganda (Bududa District)


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