Access to Public Information in Uganda: Rhetoric or Reality?

By Loyce Kyogabirwe

Norah Owaraga, a Ugandan researcher, recently narrated her experience on accessing government-held information in the country. She recounted a trip to Tororo district in eastern Uganda where she sought information on Tuberculosis prevalence in prisons. “I was told to go back to the prisons headquarters in Kampala (the capital) to get authorisation yet I had already received clearance from Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) and the President’s Office to access government information. Why did I have to travel back to Kampala when I had all the clearance?” asked Owaraga.
Her question was directed at Frank Baine, the spokesperson of Uganda Prisons, during a dialogue held in Kampala to commemorate the International Day for Universal Access to Information, which falls on September 28.
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Thanks to ICT, government secrets get ever fewer

In Summary

  • Social media tools were deployed to mount vitriol against perceived enemies, along the usual tribal contours that define our politics while degrading our capacities as a united nation.
  • Many government agencies have deployed ICT platforms to share documents that were previously inaccessible in their “hard-copy” state.

By John Walubengo

Have ICTs enhanced political participation, social accountability, public service delivery and citizen engagement in East Africa in the recent past?

These were the research questions behind a study commissioned by CIPESA, a regional think tank focusing on ICTs in East and Central Africa.

In Kenya’s case, the answers are found in its recently published ICTs in Governance report. Some, which make for interesting reading, are highlighted below.
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It Is Important to Have a Budget, says Expert

The Business Lecturer Mountains of the Moon University, Mr. Mawenu Vicent has appealed local citizens especially in the Rwenzori Region to have a budget to enable them reduce wasteful expenditure and hence improve on their livelihoods.

“It’s important to have a budget, it’s also important to have the discipline to stick to your budget because it will assist you control wasteful spending. It’s also important for people to identify and plan for their basic necessities of life early like feeding, clothing, housing, etc so that they can be able to fulfill them in time to have a better life.” Said Mawenu.

A sample of the Uganda Currency (UGX 50,000)

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