A campaign codenamed ‘misuse of government vehicles’ by Uganda Debt Network (UDN) in partnership with Red Pepper almost a year ago is beginning to cause the desired change.
UDN is a non-governmental organization aiming to “promote and advocate for poor and marginalized people to participate in influencing poverty-focused policies, demand for their rights and monitor service delivery to ensure prudent, accountable and transparent resource generation and utilization.”
In our second episode (call it part II) against misuse of government vehicles, we bring you the changes the previous campaign has caused in various government ministries, departments, institutions, the Local district governments to mention a few.
Some of the questions we asked included; did the relevant authorities appreciate the first campaign/awareness? How did they respond to the campaign? Did they take any action against misuse of government vehicles? If not, why?
The results are quite revealing.
According to Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) administration, Red Pepper and UDN did a tremendous job by exposing government officials who misuse government vehicles (tax payers’ money).
Peter Kaujju, the KCCA spokesperson says they (KCCA) have put in place operation systems to ensure government properties are protected. He adds that the campaign didn’t only remind KCCA officials but the entire government of its obligation to protect its properties.
“This campaign has worked a lot for us and indeed it has created change because all of our officers are aware of the implications if they are caught on the wrong side of the law especially regarding this matter (misuse of government vehicles),” Kaujju said in an interview.
He said some of their officers had been prosecuted after being caught by our cameras misusing government vehicles though he couldn’t give actual figures as he asked for some time to consult the prosecution unit.
At the Ministry of Works and Transport, Susan Kataike, the Senior Communications Manager says although the awareness has not yet brought much impact at the ministry; they are doing everything possible to ensure government vehicles are not misused.
She noted that soon after the campaign, the Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Works and Transport, Okello Bwangamoi issued an order to have all the Ministry’s vehicles recalled to the head offices located at Old Port Bell road in Kampala.
“The point here is to know who drives what car, how many cars do belong to the Ministry. How many are old? Which ones deserve to be disposed off or auctioned,” Kataike said, adding that this will help them keep records and know which officials are responsible for which vehicles so that if a picture of a vehicle being misused appears in the papers; then they will know the officer to implicate.
Kataike says it is the Ministry policy to have all cars parked by 5pm and those who breach the law are dealt with.
She highlighted an incident when one of their officers whom she refused to divulge was pictured misusing the vehicle and was interdicted. However, she couldn’t confirm whether the said officer was sacked.
Kataike concludes that since the pictures of government vehicles being misused and published in newspapers have drastically reduced, UDN and Red Pepper campaign could have “created awareness.”
About the campaign
The campaign was designed to expose all government officials who misuse government vehicles by using them for private businesses, breaching rules (by driving them past the official time of 5pm) and auctioning them illegally.
In our first campaign, amazing pictures of government vehicles loaded with charcoal, animals, food stuffs, passengers and merchandise among others were published in this newspaper. The pictures taken from different parts of Uganda became a talking point on social media sites, traditional media and in offices.