Target: United Kingdom Officials
Goal: Redirect suspended British financial aid from Ugandan government to non-governmental organizations working in Uganda
The United Kingdom has announced that it is suspending aid to the Ugandan government after an investigation revealed cases of corruption and theft. While such underhanded practices should not be tolerated, cutting aid to this developing African nation will hurt the poorest of Uganda first and worst. Rather than ending financial assistance, the UK should redirect its monetary contributions to more transparent organizations that have the capacity to more directly impact the local situation of Ugandans. Ask that the UK resume its necessary aid programs, but rather than funnel the money into corrupt government leaders’ pockets, provide assistance to non-governmental organizations working at the grassroots level.
The UK’s Department for International Development reported that nearly $18 million will be immediately suspended—and perhaps the entirety of the $151 million set aside for Ugandan aid this year—in light of the evidence being uncovered by the UK-commissioned audit. The Ugandan auditor-general informed UK officials in October 2012 that millions of dollars had been found to be transferred from Ugandan Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s office into private accounts. While the Prime Minister recognizes that money has gone missing, he does not acknowledge any involvement on his part. Regardless, the preliminary findings have persuaded the UK to take immediate action, cutting funds and having—as Ugandan officials have claimed—a devastating effect on the nation’s poor.
Advisors to the Ugandan president have pledged the government’s intention of investigating the alleged corruption and ensuring justice. The UK, though, has threatened the Ugandan government with administrative and criminal sanctions—not to mention a full recovery of lost funds—if the money in question is not found and those responsible not held accountable. Fearing for the tax dollars of their own citizens, Ireland, Norway, and Denmark have also suspended aid to the Ugandan government, meaning that Uganda will be taking a massive loss in financial aid this coming year if nothing is done. Advisors to the Ugandan president have encouraged the UK to give aid to non-governmental organizations to ensure that the poor still have support.
This seems to be the correct course; rather than cutting aid, the UK—and other nations—should redirect their financial support to NGOs on the ground. Encourage the UK to take this action.
Dear United Kingdom officials,
The recent findings by the Ugandan auditor-general reveal corruption and theft at the highest levels of governance. Rather than supporting the poorest of the poor, financial aid provided by UK taxpayers for the betterment of Ugandan citizens has gone missing, possibly funneled into private accounts held by the Ugandan prime minister. In response, the UK has taken measures to cut $18 million and perhaps the entirety of the $151 million budgeted for Ugandan assistance.
This cut will have devastating effects on the country’s poor. In addition to the suspension of aid from Norway, Denmark, and Ireland, Uganda will experience a tremendous drop in assistance this coming year.
While it is true that corrupt government officials are not the ones who should be benefitting from this assistance—rather, they should be imprisoned—the impact these cuts will have on the poor should not be forgotten. I encourage you to redirect those funds meant for the government to non-governmental organizations that work at the grassroots level in Uganda. With transparency and oversight, this course should allow the financial aid to meet its proposed goals.
Thank you for your consideration on this important matter.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: treesftf via Flickr