Uganda’s recent representation at the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York has sparked considerable controversy due to the unusually high number of delegates and the excessive allowances allocated to them.
The urgency for President Yoweri Museveni to address this misuse of public funds cannot be overstated. The United Nations General Assembly serves as an essential forum for discussing global issues and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A modest delegation of about 10 officials should suffice to represent Uganda’s interests and engage in meaningful discourse.
President Museveni assigned Vice President Jessica Alupo to stand in for him, an action that should have indicated fiscal responsibility and efficient use of public resources.
Regrettably, what transpired was far from that. The delegation was inflated to an astonishing 71 officials, led by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, causing not only disarray but also burdening the nation financially. The core issue isn’t the number of delegates but the staggering allowances and benefits that accompanied their attendance. The financial recklessness displayed is particularly troubling given Uganda’s current economic challenges.
Evidently, some officials appear to have exploited this opportunity primarily to accumulate extravagant allowances. This not only tarnishes Uganda’s international reputation but also misallocates funds that could better serve critical national priorities.
President Museveni had previously sought to limit the overseas travel of his ministers to control expenditures; disappointingly, this policy seems to have been disregarded. The scramble for per diems has culminated in a poorly coordinated and exorbitantly costly presence at the UN General Assembly.
The pressing question is whether Uganda genuinely requires such a costly and high-powered delegation at the UN, to which the answer is a resounding no. Scarce national resources should be prudently allocated to more immediate needs like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
We call on President Museveni to take swift and decisive measures against this extravagant expenditure. Such misuse of public funds is an affront to Ugandans, who face daily struggles for improved living conditions.
Uganda’s participation in UN meetings should symbolize its dedication to sustainable development rather than serving as an avenue for financial misappropriation. It is imperative to eradicate this form of concealed corruption and guarantee that every dollar spent serves the Ugandan people’s best interests.