SCHOLARLY AND RESEARCH ARTICLES
- Safe motherhood – a compelling task for all.
- Commercial sexual exploitation – how does theRwenzori region compare to the national picture?.
- Oil exploration in Uganda: prospects and challenges.
- Coffee Beans in the Value Chain.
- Use of manufacturing model mMicro-enterprises in higher/further education in Uganda.
- Student’s Research April-August 2010
- Corporate governance and strategy in SACCOs in Uganda.
- The current performance of Microfinance Associations (MFAs) in the Rwenzori Region.
- A Study on Promoting Women’s Participation in SACCOs.
- Effects of Computerization on Saving and Credit Cooperatives in Uganda.
Safe motherhood – a compelling task for all
By Rev. Kalyebara B. Stephen (email@example.com)
1. In a nutshell
Safe motherhood is a concept that no woman or fetus or baby should die or be harmed by either pregnancy or childbirth. This can be realized by providing timely, appropriate and comprehensive quality care at
- child birth and
- post delivery
To women, men, adolescents and new born babies with special emphasis on skilled attendance at delivery.
Skilled attendance at delivery and health workers’ critical involvement to provide timely, skilled and user friendly services can greatly reduce the burden of maternal and infant death. This would make safe motherhood a reality in urban and rural Uganda and be able to improve on the Millennium Development Goals (box 1) of infant and maternal mortality that is far from being achieved by 2015.
2. What is the burden?
Worldwide every minute 6 women die either trying to give birth or because of pregnancy related complications. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over half a million women die each year from complications of pregnancy or childbirth.
In Uganda 435 per 100,000 women die while giving birth or 28 days after, and 76 per 1,000 babies die during delivery or 28 days after. Motherhood can be made safe for the world’s women if for national governments, multilateral and bi-lateral development agencies, NGOs, communities and individuals make maternal health a top priority.
Basic facts on maternal mortality (death) in Uganda:
- In developing countries like Uganda, pregnancy and child birth are chief causes of death, disease and disability among women of reproductive age 15-49 years. This disease burden becomes bigger than any other single health problem, yet pregnancy is perceived to be a normal event.
- Reproductive stress is caused by too many children, too frequently delivered and poorly spaced birth leads to poor maternal and infant health. At least 30 – 40% of infant deaths are as a result of poor care during pregnancy and delivery.
- Poor maternal health and poor nutrition contributes to low birth weight resulting in almost 20% of all birth leading to infant death.
- When a father dies, 31 sons and 55 daughters per 1000 children are likely to die, but when a mother dies 80 sons and 190 daughters per 1000 babies born are likely to die.
|Box 1: Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) No. 4 and 5.
The MDGs comprise of 8 goals for poverty alleviation, improvement of education, health, gender equality and environmental protection; since adoption of the Millennium Declaration in 2000 by the United Nations member states. They are tracked through 60 indicators (the list of indicators was adjusted over time).
MDG No. 4: Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
Indicators: (i) Under-five mortality rate; (ii) Infant mortality rate;
Mortality of children under the age of five has reduced from 190 to about 130 in Sub-Sahara-Africa, but it is far off the 2015-goal of 60.
MDG No. 5 A: Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
Indicators: (i) Maternal mortality ratio; (ii) Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel
Maternal Mortality in Sub-Sahara-Africa has reduced from about 900 to 650 (per 100,000 life births). However, it is far off the 2015-goal of 218. In 2008, more than half of births in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa were not attended by skilled health staff, compared with less than 1 percent for high-income countries.
MDG No 5.B: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health
Indicators: (i) Contraceptive prevalence rate; (ii) Adolescent birth rate; (iii) Antenatal care coverage;
In Sub-Saharan Africa only 23 percent of the women ages 15-49 use contraception- the lowest rate among all developing regions. In 2008, 116 out of every 1,000 girls of age 15-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa gave birth.
Source: Global Data Monitoring Information System, under:
The benefits to promote maternal health can be seen below:
- Prevention of disease and early treatment can be affordable and cost effective to many people and families.
- Maternal and child health interventions can be among the most cost effective investments in health if all stakeholders have shown concern.
- The presence of trained medical staff could greatly reduce the number of maternal deaths during childbirth.
- A health seeking behaviour and good maternal health services can strengthen the entire health system. Building women’s trust and empowering them economically will promote preventative care.
3. Provision of maternal health services
Role of government policies and agencies
Maternal health services have a potentially critical role in the improvement of reproductive health. Skilled attendance at delivery and health workers’ critical involvement to provide timely, skilled and user friendly services is one key to reduce the burden of maternal and infant death.
The use of health services is related to availability, quality and cost of services as well as the social structures, traditional health beliefs and personal characteristics of the users.
The health of women is a human rights issue and is a fundamental pillar for progress in low income countries. Addressing reproductive health issues is an important element in the Uganda’s National Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP II). This plan stipulates that the utilization of maternal and child health services is still inadequate mainly because of low education and cultural practices, including power dynamics at household and community levels.
Lacking involvement of men
The participation of males in antenatal care is singled out as a critical element because of their significant influence on decisions that affect both the mother and the child. Besides, males are the major determinants of the social, political and economic issues that directly affect community health matters.
Antenatal visits are used to educate pregnant women on nutrition, family planning, immunization, sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, personal and domestic hygiene, and environmental health.
In Kyenjojo district, research on male involvement in antenatal care found that there is limited male involvement in antenatal care. In particular, men are rarely involved when it comes to going with their pregnant wives for antenatal visits and provision of the basics of a pregnant woman. This has resulted into problems related to the maternal and child health as earlier mentioned whose urgent intervention is critical.
In summary, Uganda has made good progress to lessen the burden of poor pre- and post-birth maternal care; however, a lot remains to be done on all levels, in particular involving male family members, as to realize the vision of safe motherhood.
Commercial sexual exploitation – how does the Rwenzori region compare to the national picture?
By Martin Muhereza (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The hidden nature of the subject matter makes it difficult to establish concrete statistics, one study (commissioned by ECPAT [End child Prostitution and Trafficking] (2007) suggests that the number of children exploited for commercial sex in the Kabarole, Lira, Mbale and Busia districts of Uganda are between 7,000 and 12,000. Although there are praise worthy efforts to discourage commercial sex exploitation in many areas, a lot still is desired. Furthermore, a lot of work needs to be done on developing rehabilitation and reintegration programs for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Whereas a lot of services are being given by Non Government Organizations (NGOs) there are no government interventions in this regard. NGO-initiatives are challenged by inadequate funding. Little has been done to rescue children from commercial sexual exploitation and provide them with alternative livelihoods.
Sex on sale is against the dignity of a human being. Those engaged in commercial sex are there because they are unable to meet basic needs of life due to social and economic factors. The problem is particularly pressing where children below eighteen years of age are also involved in commercial sexual activities.
“Child sexual exploitation in [Eastern and Southern Africa] exists in many forms, but the main forms are child prostitution, child pornography, sale and trafficking in children. Other forms include incest, early child marriages, rape, sodomy and defilement, kidnapping with intent to marry or indecent assault. In this region it is becoming clear that child prostitution, pornography, sex tourism and trafficking are very intertwined. Usually a child begins in one and is caught up in the others in the process. It is, however, worth noting that the non-commercial types of sexual exploitation are more pervasive […]” (UNICEF 2001)
These children are often got from rural areas and are adopted into homes to work as house helps. They are faced with a number difficult circumstances such as over working, underpayment, abuses, insults, being despised and under looked, which eventually cause them to be ejected from the homes and if they are unable to go back to their rural home areas, they end up in what has been termed as ‘survival sex’. That is sex offered in exchange of money to buy some meagre necessities in life, such as food, clothes, rent. Before long, they regularly find they are already in a vicious cycle of survival sex.
Other young girls are put in what is commonly known a ‘Karaoke bars’ to entertain customers who often also demand sexual servicing. The owners of the bars actually expect the girls to comply, because it is part of the business. Many girls who have been rescued from this kind of business have been able to testify.
2. Literature Review
UYDL (Uganda Youth Development Link) is an NGO that works to help these young women to overcome that vicious cycle of survival sex. Box 1 presents a testimony that has been given by one of the victims, now undergoing rehabilitation. It is a story not different from the other girls’ stories undergoing rehabilitation at the drop in centre of UYDL in Nakulabye, Kampala.
|Box 1: “Survival Sex” – the case of Nalugya (16) from Masaka district
Nalugya was 14 when her father died of AIDS. Her mother too is infected with HIV, the virus that causes the disease, and could barely fend for her six children in rural Masaka district. So when her aunt promised to get her a job in Kampala, Nalugya who was the eldest child felt it was a great chance for her to put food on the table.
Two years later and only 16-years old, Nalugya bears a label that sadly she shares with an increasing number of teenage girls; she is a “sex worker” – well “former sex worker” because she is now undergoing rehabilitation.
Nalugya says the aunt who promised her a job lives in Bwaise Kimombasa, a low income suburb of Kampala renowned for sex trade. Nalugya first worked as a maid in the home of her aunt’s friend. She was never paid a penny.
“My aunt would pick all my salary and take it. After three months at work the lady I was working for became quarrelsome. One night she chased me out of her house. I didn’t have money to take me back home in Masaka or to my aunt’s place,” says Nalugya.
That night she met girls who plied the sex trade.
“One of the girls took me to where they were staying and said I could sleep and the next day she would tell me what to do. In the morning, more girls returned, they came with bread, milk, eggs, meat and food and they also had a lot of money. That evening they took me with them to a pub. I had never been to a place like that in my life. It was all shinning.
They bought me sodas and one of them told me she was going to introduce me to a man friend of hers. David, as he was called, was friendly and asked my friend whether he could take me to his home. I got scared as I had never slept with a man in my whole life. The girls convinced me to go with him and promised to pick me in the morning. David gave me UGX 20,000 in the morning as I was leaving his home. I had never touched that much money in my life. That was the beginning of my prostitution until when these people brought me here.”Source:
According to Basaza R. / Kaija D. (2002), the majority of sex workers were young women 72 % were 15-24 years of age and although children aged below 18 years per law cannot consent to sex, 31.5% were children aged between 15-19 and 41.4 % were aged between were 20-24 years. This means that a significant percentage of those who are active in commercial sexual exploitation are vulnerable children who have not attained the majority age. This is a violation of the laws against child labor.
Slightly more than half 50.6% of commercial sex workers were single and there was a significant proportion of 29.5% who were in stable relationships. Surprisingly 14.8% were legally married and 11.1 % were cohabiting. About two thirds 60.5% of child sex workers reported having children (table 1).
Table 1: Status of women involved in commercial sex in Kampala.
|With children below 2 years||47||0-2|
Source: Basaza R. / Kaija D. (2002)
Evidence suggests that child prostitution takes place mainly in slums, rented rooms and in certain lodges and hostels. Contact points are on roadsides, on the streets or near wells and springs. The children usually live independently or with peers who are also exploited through prostitution. Some children identify themselves with ‘solidarity groups’ referred to as ‘ebiduula’ and follow rules to which every member must conform, such as the amount of money charged for various sexual acts. Child victims of prostitution are stigmatized and often harassed, including by the police and the Local Defense Units.
Basaza/Kaija (2002) discovered that although culturally sex was restricted to marriage, this is no longer the case. The age bracket of commercial sex workers has widened and this has implications for the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Truck stop points on the route to Rwanda
The commercial sexual exploitation of children by truck drivers is common along most truck routes, such those going to the border with Rwanda. Truck rest stops in Idudi, Naluwere, Lukaya, and Ntungamo were the subject of a study carried out by the NGO ‘Women and Youth Services’ (ECPAT 2007). Ninety percent of the 143 child respondents who reported being sexually exploited on a regular basis were girls, most of who were aged between 8-18 years old. The study indicated that these children are abused in lodges, in the bushes, and inside or under the trucks. One girl reported that she was ‘forced under the truck many times’ by perpetrators that included rough men who refused to sleep in lodges because they were expensive, ‘and at the end of it all I would be given as little as 2,000 Uganda shillings’ an equivalent of USD 1 or less.
In the northern part of Uganda many orphaned girls whose refugee camps and night commuter shelters have closed have ended up in towns where they resort to prostitution in order to survive. MoH/WHO (2007) revealed for the northern districts of Apac, Gulu, Kitgum, Lira and Pader that girls as young as 11 years old are in the sex trade. “I would rather die of HIV/AIDS, because through sex I can at least buy basic commodities like salt, soap and sanitary pads,” a 17-year-old girl in Lira told the New Vision newspaper. Others said they offered sex for as little as UGX 200 (USD 0.11).
In some places especially in slum areas, protected sex goes for as little as UGX 200 while unprotected sex goes for about UGX 5,000 (ECPAT 2007). Maj. Kinobe (Chairman for security at the National Resistance Movement) said the difference in payment has forced more children to go in for unprotected sex.
Rwenzori region, especially Kasese
According to SCHIPPS (2009), 41.2 % of 120 respondents from twenty two sub counties in Kasese were engaged in multiple sexual relationships. The age of sex debut is at 12 for girls and 15 years for boys.
According to FHRI (2009), the rate of poverty is very high; and it is because of this that women and young girls are forced into prostitution in a bid to earn income to sustain their lives. Because of poverty,
- parents and guardians force their daughters into early marriage with intent to gain wealth in form of dowry;
- many women leave their marriages to engage in commercial sex at the border with the business men from the district and across the border;
- even some of the business women, men and school girls engage in commercial sex. Children who engage in sex trade in Kasese are 10-18 years of age and do so with the excuse to earn money for their upkeep; others do so because they are neglected by their parents.
3. Drivers / causes of commercial sexual exploitation
Given the above scenario, it is self evident that poverty-induced economic hardship plays a big role in making most of the commercial sex workers susceptible to sexual exploitation. Thus, commercial sex is sometimes referred to as survival sex, because it is engaged in to meet the essentials of life like food, shelter, clothing, and school fees.
However, it is also true that not everyone who is pressured by poverty ends up in prostitution. There is a possibility of moral degeneration being one of the factors at play that makes some to choose commercial sex as one of the responses to economic pressure. Moral degeneration refers to the erosion and gradual losing of the cherished morals. Morality here refers to knowing the difference between good and bad. Immorality refers to knowing the good and doing the bad.
This is particularly obvious in relationship between commercial sex and HIV/AIDS. Most of the ‘sex workers’ are not emphatic on using some of the prevention measures, like using condoms, and those who insist on them are told by clients that they will receive more money if they allow them to go without condoms. This makes commercial sex a window to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Moreover many of the clients are married men who go back to their wives, and some of the prostitutes, are married women who go back to their husbands after the trade.
From the preceding information, the low value attached to a woman by some men plays a role where some men look at girls as sources of financial gain. This also plays on the psychology of the young growing girls, and they may unconsciously think they are sexual objects to be exploited. This is not to say that they willingly accept their fate, but they may be faced with of hopelessness, and are left with no better choice in their circumstances.
In line with that argument, laws against prostitution do not directly address customers, e. g. specifically prescribing penalties – except for the case of child abuse. Moreover the laws of Uganda require two or more witnesses for an accusation to be considered by the courts of laws. Rather, most times when the police arrests women in prostitution they are charged for being idle and disorderly.
Demand stimulates supply and vice versa. The men who are willing to pay for the services create a fertile environment in which the girls look at it as one of the options available to earn income; given the meagreness of that income it is the low value or self-esteem that is attached to these girls’ body and being and hence to what they are offering it for.
In a moral value-perspective, there is actually no monetary price that is high enough to purchase a human being. That is precisely why slave trade was eventually abolished which is being reintroduced in the wave of human trafficking.
4. Research gaps identified in the literature review above
A comprehensive study is needed to establish the scope and impact of commercial sexual exploitation in different regions of Uganda, here: Rwenzori region, with regard to some of the social policies that are in the process of being implemented. Moreover, regular surveys need to be made to give up to date information about the status quo as the findings may have a bearing on the health policies and campaign on the AIDS/HIV scourge.
Research also needs to be carried out to discover the possibility of establishing rehabilitation centres in every district town that are well equipped and staffed to deal with people who are traumatized because of getting involved in such activities and are looking for protection and rescue.
Research needs to be carried to establish the usefulness, impact and applicability of the pornography bill that is to be passed to regulate what is being published.
The national budget should always set aside some funds and make it known that they are available by calling upon the interested organizations and individuals to apply for the funds specifically set aside for addressing issues to do with commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Methodology and Data of study suggested
The study would cover the Rwenzori districts of Kabarole, Kasese, Kamwenge, Bundibudgyo,Ntoroko and Kyenjojo; controlling for locational influences like border, main highway, urban centre and specific risk groups like seasonal day labourers (tea/coffee plugging), fishermen, youth gatherings (students, maybe soldiers).
The study would use semi structured interviews designed as follows;
- making a topic guide;
- designing different types of questions and using prompts and probes,
- designing interview, questions,
- going through the experience of doing the interview and being interviewed with critiquing interview skills.
This methodology is suggested because it obtains relevant information, it is structured so as to allow comparisons, it gives freedom to explore more views or opinions in more detail.
The study would also make use of the ‘snowball method’. In its simplest formulation snowball sampling consists of identifying respondents who are then used to refer researchers on to other respondents. Snowball strategies provide a means of accessing vulnerable and more impenetrable social groupings.
Although many people and organizations are aware of the problem of prostitution, they seem to be hand tied when it comes to addressing it. The buyers of the ‘sex commodity’ are always hidden because the nature of the product is such that the transaction and consumption of it is done in privacy. Therefore it is difficult to lay hold of factual information.
Some of the organizations that are engaged in intervention measures are inadequately funded, and in order to get some funding from international organizations, they always have to tailor their proposals to AIDS/HIV prevention or to abuse of human rights or to human trafficking.
The lack of robust data is particularly felt in the regional perspective; therefore a comprehensive study has been suggested to study the issues of commercial sexual exploitation for the Rwenzori region.
Basaza R. / Kaija D. (2002): The Impact of HIV and AIDS on Children: Lights and Shadows in the ‘Successful Case’of Uganda, chapter 2 of Cornia, G. A. (2002): AIDS, Public Policy and Child Well-Being, UNICEF 2002.
FHRI (2009): Promoting sustainable access to justice for vulnerable women and children in Uganda, report of the baseline survey for Kasese district, 7-13 June 2009, under: www.fhri.or.ug/Kasese%20District%20Baseline%20Survey%20Report%20.pdf [24.11.2010].
ECPAT (2007): Confronting the commercials sexual exploitation of children in Africa, under: www.ecpat.net/ei/Publications/Journals/Confronting_CSEC_ENG.pdf [24.11.2010].
MoH/WHO (2007): Survey in the Northern districts of Apac, Gulu, Kitgum, Lira,and Pader, Kampala.
SCHIPPS (2009): Strengthening Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Prevention among those at the most risk groups in Kasese District report.
UNICEF (2001): Analysis of the situation of sexual exploitation of children in the Eastern and Southern Africa region, paper presented at the 2nd World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, Nairobi, Kenya, October 2001, under: www.unicef.org/events/yokohama/csec-east-southern-africa-draft.html#_Toc527979975 [24.11.2010].
Oil exploration in Uganda: prospects and challenges
By Kyaligonza Tadeo (email@example.com)
1. Introduction – socio-political and economic context
History of oil in Uganda
The existence of commercial oil in the Bunyoro sub region of Western Uganda has a historical context. The natives in the locality , that is, the kingdom of Bunyoro Kitara, came to learn about the oil potential in the region prior to colonization of Uganda as early as 1909 (Mirima 2008:12). This knowledge was further affirmed by John Wayland, one of the prominent explorers, who visited the Lake Albert region, where current commercial oil exploration is taking place , in 1919 and found 52 hydro carbon occurrences (Kasozi 2010:5).Soon after this documentation, many other explorers have been making significant attempts to explore the resource but with limited success. Successful commercial oil exploration venture was only effected in 1997 when the current government of Uganda signed a secret agreement with the exploring companies of Tullow Oil, Heritage Oil, Neptune Petroleum and Dominion Petroleum (Kasozi 2010:6). Consequently, these companies to date have zeroed down their activities in 10 exploration sites namely Rhino camp basin, Packwach basin, Lake Albert basin, Semuliki basin [EA, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D], Lake Edward and George basin [EA, 4A, 4B, and 4C].
The oil potential in Uganda
The recent commercial oil exploration activities in afore mentioned locations have revealed the existence of 2 billion barrels of commercial oil in the great Albertine region (Kasozi 2010, 5). Thus this exploration, it is anticipated, will help in freeing the country of import dependence and the according need for foreign currency (oil is usually contracted on US-$-basis), estimated to the tune of about a billion US-dollars a year. Moreover, Uganda will register an expansion of Gross Domestic Product through cost efficient provision of oil-based energy to its industrial sectors and through processing of oil and/or energy. Chances are even high that the country will soon become a net oil exporter (Rulekere 2006:2). With prospects of refining the resource in Uganda, as it is being pursued by the government, chances of creating employment opportunities for the nationals are high. Last but not least, the windfall revenues would be used by government to avail social amenities like schools, hospitals, good road network and a higher institution of learning in the Bunyoro sub region (Kasozi 2010:2).
Commercial oil exploration developments
Given the fact that Uganda commands insufficient financial resources and inadequate skilled personnel to exploit its oil reservoir, it is consequent to contract international oil companies which possess the necessary financial and human resources; note that these come with far greater negotiating capacity (Kasozi 2010:3). These companies have been invited to spearhead the exploration and exploitation of oil. In doing so, their operations are regulated under the Production Sharing Agreements [PSAs] (Kasozi 2010:6).Under these contracts, the oil exploring companies pay rent to the state to commercialize what was previously dormant capital. In effect, the percentage share of the companies is dependent on the agreement they made with the government which acts on behalf of the citizens. Under the joint and production sharing agreement, a rationing procedure of 80% for the country and 20% for the companies after all costs have been paid for is allowed (Kasozi 2010:9). This is the guiding principle that is to regulate the conduct of oil companies with the government of Uganda.
2. Challenges and potential for conflict
Challenges of commercial oil exploration in Uganda
The challenges that accompany commercial oil exploration in Uganda will emanate from
- poor management mechanism of the oil resource revenue and
- failure to manage societal expectations on the part of the state.
The factors that account for these inefficiencies are both internal and external to the state.
Furthermore, it is important to note that challenges are being raised both
- in anticipation of oil extraction process and
- as manifestation of claims, interests and tensions from the pre-production level.
They draw from the experience with other developing economies that have undergone mineral exploration as well as a baseline survey carried out in Uganda more especially in those regions that have potential oil. Two major categories of these challenges have been envisaged. These include those to the state and those to the community at large.
Challenges to the government
The first challenge of the oil exploration and exploitation exercise to the government is the fact that the legal instruments in Uganda are characterized by contradictions regarding the question of ownership of the oil resource (Kasozi 2010:6). In principle, among the stakeholders of the oil revenues included are the citizens of the country, the government that represents the citizens, the oil companies and the different local governments in the exploration areas. In addition to these are among the officially recognised stakeholders: the land owners where extraction is taking place, the people living in the oil producing area whose way of life is affected by the exploitation of the minerals and the people/workers in the oil sector (Kasozi 2010:6). Conversely, the legal instruments in Uganda to date do not clearly spell out the issue of ownership. According to the 1995 amended constitution article 237, all land belongs to the citizens and the government as guardian of the state while in the amended act section 244; all minerals are vested in the hands of the government. Accordingly, in no circumstances can any citizen in Uganda claim shareholding in the oil revenues. Not until these instruments have been amended, Uganda shall be susceptible to conflict just like other African states such as Angola, Nigeria, Congo and Sudan that have witnessed conflict scenario arising from poor mechanisms of sharing its revenue (Kasozi 2010:6).
In addition, for the last 15 years, the country has been pursuing a policy on decentralization which has seen the creation of many new districts. With the event of oil exploitation, the number of stakeholder claiming the resource may increase and this may complicate the government’s role in meeting these expectations as to date there is no clear guideline or clarification on whether the districts and regional provinces own resources such as oil (Kasozi 2010:3). Given the fact that oil exploration activities are taking place at the time when the country is undergoing political transformations, it is plausible that many stakeholders will advance several interests which the government may not see itself fulfilling.
The oil exploration exercise is taking place at a time when a decline in confidence in the government has been observed among the nationals of Uganda (International Alert 2009:7). It has been allegedly asserted that the current government seems to favor the Banyankole at the expense of other tribes in the country. At the same time, possibly by coincidence, the government of Uganda happens to move at a slow pace regarding formalizing the legalities of sharing oil revenues. Thus, oil exploration activities are anticipated to exacerbate these pre-existing ethnic tensions in the communities in Uganda (International Alert 2009:7). This is coupled with a reportedly spreading perception that the current government leadership may be reluctant to get out of power in order to oversee and benefit from the oil prospects (Rulekere 2006:9).
The other challenge to the government of Uganda regarding commercial oil exploration is the fact that private contractors – here: international exploring companies – tend to design agreements that favour their side of the bargain (Kasozi 2010:5).
Just like any other developing country, Uganda has weak institutions that enhance transparency. To date the country lives a fragile democracy with economic and political governance institutions that are not well developed. According to Transparency International, the rate of corruption is high in Uganda and among the leading departments included are the Police and the Judiciary. The past record of corrupt tendencies in public office more especially the Global Fund saga arouses lots of doubt regarding transparency in the sharing of the oil revenues (Bategeka/Kiiza/ Ssewanyana 2009:7). Given the current rate of corruption in the country, it is plausible that as the oil exploration activities commence, this “social ill” will impede the country’s ability to get good oil deals or even impede the native communities from having an adequate share of these revenues. This is evident in Nigeria’s scenario whereby 85% of the revenues end up in 1 % of the population (Kasozi 2010:10).
The fact that oil exploration is taking place at a time when politics in Uganda is at an electoral junction also raises the potential of conflict. There is a tendency for most politicians to promise wind fall benefits from the oil resource once voted into political positions coupled with making claims on the process of oil exploration (International Alert 2009:7). Chances are high that elite led claims and counter claims on resource sharing will escalate yet some of these promises and claims and counter claims are unrealistic. This may stifle development efforts in the region on the part of the government.
Among the envisaged strategies by the state in a bid to prevent potential conflict scenario related to oil exploration is the compensation of the adversely affected people and the harmed environment during the process of exploring the resource (Kasozi 2010:7). Despite this strategy bringing about harmony between the state, the exploring companies and the communities, chances are high that the process will raise other historical issues of compensatory claims that were made by the Coffee, Tobacco and Cotton farmers whose surplus income was used by the government to ensure that the country recovers from the economic crisis that had been caused during the secessionist wars of Obote I and II (Kasozi 2010:7). Apparently the government may not have sufficient resources that could calm down these claims.
The outlined lines of potential conflict might be accentuated if Uganda’s currency, as an effect of oil exportation, rises up to 6% to the dollar (Kasozi 2010:8). This might cause “Dutch Desease”, a scenario which we shall not explore here.
Challenges to the communities
Some analysts doubt the extent to which the proceeds will be evenly distributed among the population of Uganda and as to whether those living within and near the areas of oil reserve will benefit at all (Rulekere 2006:1). It is anticipated that these exploring companies might end up repatriating all the profits back to their country leaving Ugandans suffering from environmental problems. This is exacerbated by the fact that Uganda has a staggering economy and is accustomed to attracting foreign investors thus a tendency of giving many incentives.
The current law, i. e. the 1985 petroleum [exploration and production Act sect. 59 cap. 150] prohibits public disclosure and discussion of oil agreements the state signs with oil companies (Kasozi 2010:8). Furthermore, prior to the drafting of these agreements, no local consultations was held with the grass root communities who are part of the stakeholders in the exploration activities. Experience with other African oil producing countries have seen dreams of plenty and happiness turn into frustration and
 “Dutch disease is the negative impact on an economy of anything that gives rise to a sharp inflow of foreign currency, such as the discovery of large oil reserves. The currency inflows lead to currency appreciation, making the country’s other products less price competitive on the export market. It also leads to higher levels of cheap imports and can lead to deindustrialisation as industries apart from resource exploitation are moved to cheaper locations. The origin of the phrase is the Dutch economic crisis of the 1960s following the discovery of North Sea natural gas.” Source: Financial Times Lexicon, under: http://lexicon.ft.com/term.asp?t=dutch-disease [23.11.2010].
poverty for the majority of the people (Kasozi 2010:4). Thus Uganda nationals wonder whether Uganda’s experience will be any different. As a result, it is anticipated that the country will suffer strife from the indigenous communities more especially the Banyoro whose expectations may be frustrated as they weren’t consulted (Bategeka/Kiiza/Ssewanyana 2009:12).
In addition to the above challenges, part of the locality where oil exploration is taking place in Uganda’s Albertine rift valley has been occupied by immigrant herdsmen commonly known as “the Balalo”. Their occupation of the same has developed negative sentiments and perceptions that senior government officials or top executives support them to have access to the potential oil revenues (International Alert 2009: 8). These preconceived ideas are a potential source of confrontation from the local communities and a cause of resentment to the current and future immigrants in the region.
Ultimately, commercial oil exploration in Uganda is taking place in a locality that is multi ethnic. It is anticipated that the process of oil exploration will stir pre-existing tensions such as access to land often bound up with inter ethnic tensions. Already some conflict scenario has been manifested to include political ones, land related ones, economical, social and environmental as well as problems concerning communication between oil companies and the communities , and issues related the inter relationship between Ugandans and Congolese living at the border(International Alert, 2009:8) . These conflict scenarios are likely to intensify as the process of oil exploration moves into production and processing.
3. Strategies to prevent oil exploration related conflicts
From the foresaid analysis, it is apparent that the lack of transparency about exploration activities is at the root of exacerbating oil related challenges in Uganda. This calls for the concerted effort of different stakeholders in the oil exploration exercise to improve on information flow among the communities. The legislature needs to speed up the process of developing with a new legal instrument that would regulate the oil exploration activities. In the process of streamlining this legal instrument, clear roles and responsibilities of each of these stakeholders need to be articulated.
The need to hold grass root consultations with the various stakeholders can not be underrated. This will help guard against misperception that the state has deliberate intentions regarding oil revenue sharing.
Once this information gap has been bridged, citizens will be enabled to raise realistic expectations, gain confidence and trust in each other as well as more citizen empowerment. Through this, they will be enabled to take charge of their own future by being prepared to harness development out of their personal initiative.
Once transparency is ensured, then social strife shall be curtailed, long term social ownership increased, corruption checked and the quality of the contracts improved on (Kasozi 2010:6). In addition it will unleash economic benefits that come along with oil exploration. For example, large scale employment, investment in infrastructure, development of ancillary industry to support the oil sector, increased foreign exchange (Kasozi 2009:3). To arrive at this, a concerted effort of the government, the oil exploring companies, the civil society, the local leaders, the parliamentarians and the media houses should be sought.
The government of Uganda should persistently pursue the option of training local oil engineers in a bid to beef up the stock of human power to be involved in the oil extraction process. This will ensure sustainability of the project, promote local ownership and also create employment opportunities to the young generation as they will have their competencies enhanced.
The government of Uganda should continuously develop the non oil sectors of the economy. This would be enhanced through the promotion of the growth of other crops like coffee, cotton, tobacco, and tea. The promotion of the tourism industry and others sectors of the economy is of paramount importance as these have laid a firm foundation for the last decades to Uganda’s economy. Stakeholders should thus be assisted to understand that the process of oil exploration will only make meaning to them if they have laid strategies that can tap the demand for goods and services that are needed by the workers in the exploration activities. This would take the form of beefing up the production of traditional commodities like agricultural products, being more enterprising in business and encouraging them to educate their children so that future opportunities are not foregone (Rulekere 2006:11).
In conclusion, the various stakeholders to include the government of Uganda and the oil exploring companies must not underrate the fore mentioned challenges. The moment check measures are not incorporated in their program design, any time the exploration exercise may create scars in the history of the country.
Bategeka L. / Kiiza J. / Ssewanyana S. (2009): Oil Discovery in Uganda: Managing Expectations. Economic Policy Research Center and Makerere University: Kampala.
International Alert (2009): Harnessing Oil for Peace and Development in Uganda, 2009. Issue No.2, International Alert, Kampala September 2009.
Kasozi A.B.T. (2009): How Uganda Can Avoid Depending on Oil as a Sole Export, in: The New Vision, November, 24th 2009.
Kasozi A.B.T. (2010a): The Niger Delta – An Enclave That Bunyoro Should Not Become, in: The New Vision, January, 20th 2010.
Kasozi A.B.T. (2010b): When Was Oil Discovered, in: The New Vision, February 3rd 2010.
Kasozi A.B.T. (2010c): Uganda: Negotiating an Agreement, in: The New Vision, February, 17th 2010.
Kasozi A.B.T. (2010d): Who Owns Uganda’s Oil? The Government or the Citizens, in: The New Vision, March, 17th 2010.
Rulekere, G (2006): As Uganda warms up for oil… the prospects and implications.