REQUEST FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND INVOLVEMENT
Activists For Change (A4C) is a non-partisan pressure group that uses nonviolent, peaceful action to hold the government accountable for its actions and policies; and we are writing to ask for your support during our next campaign against rising cost of living, inflation and wastage of public resources. The peaceful protests that we will engage in, with your support, will address the two most pressing issues today: the economic crisis and corruption. The economy is in crisis, with rising inflation, escalating unemployment, and soaring fuel and food prices. It is becoming harder and harder for Ugandans to feed their children and provide for their good health and education.
When we started protesting over cost of living in April 2011, the annual inflation rate was at 14.1 per cent, it is now at 28.3 per cent. The shilling has depreciated to an all-time low and is now trading at UGX 2850 to one US dollar from UGX 2170 to the US dollar last April. Yet as you know there has been no adjustment in the salaries for workers to cater for inflation. The purchasing power for middle class Ugandans and workers has diminished drastically yet the increase in cost of essential commodities like household goods, fuel, health care and education is unrelenting. In April petrol was UGX 3,400= per liter, it now goes for UGX 3,900=. Sugar was UGX 2,800/- a kilo, now it is UGX 6,000/=; charcoal was UGX 25,000/= a sack, now it is UGX 75,000/=.
Government has responded to our appeal for austerity measures with arrogant denial of the harsh economic reality. It has chosen instead to brand those who speak up as ‘terrorists.’ There have been no serious policy interventions that match the seriousness of the current economic situation. The cosmetic attempts at lowering taxes on kerosene and sugar in the budget for the current fiscal year had no impact at all on escalating prices of food and fuel.
As Ugandans struggle to keep up with the rising cost of living they learn of billions of shillings lost in shoddy government contracts every day. Taxpayer’s money is stolen and ends up in people’s bedrooms. When teachers went on strike for increased salaries, government’s response was that there is no money, but a week later Parliament was presented with a supplementary budget of 190 billion for State House and soon thereafter, billions of shillings went missing from State House vaults! Government continues to encroach on taxpayers resources through secretive deals like the sale of shares in Kinyara Sugar Works and the oil deals whose magnitude we are yet to fully grasp. We pay special tribute to those among you who have worked tirelessly to expose the rot in government. Government’s attempt to whitewash corruption and wastage through selective prosecution of public figures, is ineffective and an affront to the people of this nation.
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT OUR CAUSE?
This month, activists from across the nation will once again be working together to focus the attention of policy makers on the harsh economic realities and on the wastage of public resources. A calendar of our events will be released shortly so that you can prepare to participate directly by not driving or riding on campaign days. We invite you to participate in the campaign as an important way of showing solidarity with an increasing number of people who walk to work every day. We appeal to everyone to speak up loudly and clearly when we resume the Walk to Work campaign this month. Your voices will strengthen advocacy for the ordinary people of Uganda and also save lives and protect the rights of activists and innocent people. .
Thank you for supporting the cause for economic justice and responsive government.
Hon. Mathias Mpuuga (MP)
National Coordinator, A4C