Close to 80 people flocked to the Fairway Hotel and Spa for a workshop aimed at skilling a select set of women, men and the youth who are presently involved in private business with corruption fighting skills in Kampala.
The meeting was organised by the Africa Freedom of Information Society with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to popularise the United Nations Coalition Against Corruption (UNCAC) among members of the business community in Uganda.
The grant was meant to impart skills pertaining to the Access to Information Act 2005, and Regulations 2011, Open Contracting, the Whistle Blowers Protection Act and the UNCAC Framework.
The 74 participants who included 20 males, 18 females and 36 youth (both male and female), came with a number of expectations that ranged from understanding the UNCAC Framework to business and marketing skills.
“I am happy that you are still in the room despite me telling you that we shall not be talking about how to market your businesses. What you are going to learn about, however, is the UNCAC Framework, Open Contracting, the Whistle Blowers Protection Act and the Access to Information Act, we shall also talk about the UNODC and the role the UN has played in ensuring that corruption, as we know it, ends in our generation,” said Mr. Gilbert Sendugwa, the Executive Director of AFIC.
Mr. Sendugwa also led the session on the Access to Information Act and the practical sessions on filling in actual access to information request forms. Some of the requests being made were quite interesting. Some were out of scope of the Act and others were too academic.
“My father lost money when the Government of Uganda took over the now defunct Greenland Bank. I want to know if that money is still somewhere out there, and how can I get it?” asked Wilson Mutuuse.
Sendugwa’s response was optimistic. “Fill in an information request form and we shall send it to the Bank of Uganda. We shall also help you to follow this up,” emphasised Sendugwa.
The other requests were addressed to the public works sector, supply of relief items and the tendering process. These are the areas in which the Government of Uganda spends the most money and also the areas in which corruption thrives the most.
The session, that was initially planned for 50 people ended up with 74, most of whom were in the youthful age of 35 years and below.
A follow-on training is planned in which three focus group discussions will be held, radio quizzes and conversations on Social Media as part of the second phase of the project are also planned.