On Friday 29th May 2015, UDN held its 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Hotel Africana, Kampala-Uganda. This was an exciting time for all the 89 members who attended as they looked forward to reviewing the Annual Accountablity report for members and stakeholders, as well as electing a new Board of Directors.
UDN on behalf of all its members wishes to express their appreciation once more for the deligent self sacrifising spirit of the previous Board, who successfully completed their 3-year tenure since October 2012.
Our congratulations go out to the new Board; we warmly welcome you all aboard and look forward to passionately working with you to strategically accomplish our vision: "A prosperous Uganda with sustainable, equitable development and a high quality of life of the people".
UDN Members attending the 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Hotel Africana, Kampala- Uganda on Friday, 29th May 2015.
With microphone above; UDN Director of Programmes, Julius Kapwepwe Mishambi makes a clarification at the AGM, May 2015
Behind row, L-R: Mr. Patrick Tumwebaze (UDN Executive Director/ Ex Official), Mr. Walter Akwat (Member), Mrs Obel Stella (Member)Front row, L-R: Ms Nyalulu Florence (Secretary), Daniel Lukwago (Member), Prof. Ezra Suruma (Chairperson), Christopher Iga (Treasurer) and Gaamuwa Edward (Vice Chair - not in picture) comprise the new Board, elected at the AGM in Kampala-Uganda, May 2015
On 15th April, Civil Society Organisations under their umbrella, the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) organised a pre-budget dialogue at Hotel Africana in Kampala to discuss Government’s budget proposals for the next financial year (2015/16). The meeting was chaired by chaired by UDN’s Board Chairperson, who is a Senior Presidential Advisor on Economics, Prof. Ezra Suruma. and attracted 500 participants across the country at Hotel Africana in Kampala. The civil society group demanded that Government should present a people-centered budget for the Financial Year 2015/16 that would enable Ugandan citizens have a decent life.
Presenting a paper titled “CSO reflection on the National Budget Proposals FY2015/16: Assessing Government’s Financing and Expenditure Choices for FY2015/16,” Julius Mukunda the Coordinator of CSBAG pointed out that because every shilling that the Uganda government spends counts, it is important that the national budget reflects the interests of the Ugandan citizens. Mr. Mukunda highlighted critical sectors of health, education and health which are to suffer budget cuts and sought the intervention of the legislators to reverse these proposals. For example, he noted the meager allocation to school inspection. “With the allocation to school inspection, government will spend UGX 940 per UPE School in the next financial year” he said. The CSOs further decried wasteful expenditure by Government, quoting the Auditor General’s report FY 2013/14 in which USD 3.6mn (UGX 7.4bn) was considered wasteful. The issue of poor absorption capacities of sectors and Local Governments was also a major concern for CSOs. “In the FY 2013/14, CSOs noted that Government entities returned unspent balances of UGX.9.4bn to the Consolidated Fund.” He thus urged Government to refine the procurement system better to improve the absorption of the development budget. In his final request, Mr. Mukunda on behalf of CSBAG members urged Government to deliver on the unfulfilled pledges like the revamping of the cooperative which the Budget Speech FY 2014/15 mentioned. “To our dismay, the Cooperative Bank is now listed as an unfunded priority under the Trade Sector requiring Ugshs 35bn for its revival", Mukunda said.
The Ag. Commissioner, Budget Policy and Evaluation in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr. Okudi Bellarmine, informed the meeting that Government’s focus in the new financial year will be increasing investment, employment and economic growth in private sector for sustainable development, increase social service delivery in areas of education and health with the little resources available, ensure there is revenue mobilization in order to expand tax base to facilitate government programmes, accelerate infrastructure development and maintenance and many others.
Representatives from different groups, youth, PWDs, Farmers also made presentations and raised concerns that they hope will be taken on by the Government before the budget is passed. The theme for this year’s budget is Maintaining Infrastructure Development and Maintaining Excellency in Public Service.
Participants at the Pre-Budget Dialogue
On Friday 20th March 2015, UDN participated in an Anti-Corruption Marathon organised by the Church of Uganda - Sebei Diocese, who are a local partner of the Democratic Governance Facility. The event, held in Kapchorwa Town, drew over 200 participants from the Sebei region, including the young and old, male and female alike. Several local and national Civil Society Organisations participated in the event, including: UDN, TI, ACCU, CSBAG, Teso Anti-Corruption Coalition (TAC), UDN Community Monitors from Kumi, Tororo and Bukedea Districts, among others as an expression of solidarity in the fight against corruption.
UDN's Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Tumwebaze gave a speech on behalf of the Civil Society fraternity and he thanked all CS actors for their efforts and dedication in Anti-Corruption advocacy, urging all Ugandans to keep up the good fight for a corrupt-free Uganda. The Kapchorwa District RDC, Mrs. Jane Frances Kuka represented the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity as the Chief guest. In her speech, she recogninsed the contribution of Civil Society and reiterated Government commitment to fighting corruption. She also called upon the communities to utilise the institutions in place and provide as much information to the state on matters of corruption to help curb the vice.
The Kapchorwa District Sports Officer decried widespread corruption tendencies within the Sports sector as well as underfunding for Sports promotion in the region and the country as a whole. Government was called upon to increase support for Sports talent nurturing, as a means of overcoming societal challenges like youth unemployment, school dropout rates especially for the girl-child and household poverty. The Bishop of Sebei Diocese (Church of Uganda) also graced the occasion.
DGF pledged continued support towards the anti-corruption marathon activities.
UDN Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Tumwebaze (speaking) introduces UDN community-based monitors working in Teso Sub-region while giving his speech during the Marathon event