Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) has yet organized for a teachers’ day this year. I for one would think that teachers should keep mourning until Uganda Government gets serious over their concerns. During those bad days as sung by many politicians when Luyimbazi Zaake (Dr) was Minister of Education, a teacher in Uganda was a dignified person. Teachers by then were kings because Government realized that their role was crucial in the social and economic transformation of Uganda.
To day, Uganda Government will have funds to facilitate UPDF operations in South Sudan as Ugandan teachers go with out salaries, disguising everything under the payroll problems, yet some teachers have continued to have their loan obligations met! Uganda is a sad story.
Recently, a relative of mine, and a teacher went to a hospital over a swollen leg. She was told to pay shs 80,000 for the scan. Shortly after, the Doctor realized that the injections to be administered required her to be given a bed. She was told to pay a deposit of shs 100,000 for the bed, as the Doctor was to inject her for 7 days. The charges for the bed are shs 10,000 per day; shs 10,000 for the Doctor services per day and shs 7,500 for the attention of the nurses per day. My relative was given the drug particulars and dosage but it was not at the hospital. The agent who went to Entebbe to buy the drug was told that it was available at Wandegeya, ad so, that day the medicine was not got. On arrival at Wandegeya with shs 120,000, it was found that the prescription required shs 420,000 as the day’s injection costs shs 60,000 and these were to be administered for 7 days.
So, when the people in Uganda government sit in the comfort of their offices, with all the benefits that accrue to those offices, they should know the try of economy Uganda is, and stop giving excuses of payroll defects for failure to pay the small salaries given the cost of living.
Another side affecting the teachers can be viewed from the registration of a new school. I recently participated in this process. The starting point is getting a Health Report from the Sub – county. In Makindye Ssabagabbo, this costs shs 150,000 but there is no receipt issued. You have to get the school building plans in place. Around Zana the LC 1 Chairman wants shs 100,000 from the school before he gets to attend to the matter. You need an inspector from Wakiso. Whenever he comes to the school, you have to look for shs 50,000 as his transport, and mind you, he has to get raw data and come back with the report which in all costs at least shs 100,000. Once you are through with those and other documentation worked on as required, you travel to Wakiso district offices. You need a NEMA report. Here you still pay shs 50,000 for transport of the NEMA Officer. You are given the information of how much you have to pay before the forms are endorsed. The Licence fee is taken as shs 50,000; the District health Inspector gets shs 50,000; the District Inspector of Schools also shs 50,000 and the District Education Officer’s office shs 100,000. Unfortunately, you never get a receipt for all these monies. And however incorruptible you may be, I highly doubt that you can get the licence without paying the monies as advised.
Lastly, commenting about the shs 5bn the teachers were given by the President, I think the teachers should not ignore this opportunity. If Government has the organized framework to see teachers get the shs 5bn, I don’t see why some people misadvise the teachers to go and get this money. There are procedures through which Government business has to be undertaken. 2nd, such money has administrative costs, an 11% interest charge is not so big as long as worthy investment is done. My opinion is that the teachers’ SACCO may not have capacity to handle the 5bn, but teachers should go and access the money in a Government approved infrastructure, and if they can establish that non – teachers accessed the funds, then they can complain, but ignoring that money is not good politicking.