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PAC Queries Relevance of Patriotism Clubs

In the report, Auditor General, John Muwanga noted that the office had spent Shillings 9.6 billion on the Patriotism program since 2014/2015 financial year but no assessment has been done to evaluate the impact of the program against the set objectives.

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The Public Accounts Committee-PAC has quizzed a team of officials from the Office of the President about the additional value the Patriotism Program that is financed by government provides. The Patriotism Program is implemented by the National Secretariat for Patriotism Clubs (NSPC) that was established in 2010 under the Office of the President.

It is mandated with developing and coordinating patriotism clubs in post-primary schools and colleges across the country with the view of grooming and mentoring young learners into patriotic citizens. On Tuesday, a team of officials led by the Secretary to the Office of the President, Haji Yunus Kakande appeared before the Public Accounts Committee to respond to queries raised by the Auditor General in his 2017/2018 financial year report.

In the report, Auditor General, John Muwanga noted that the office had spent Shillings 9.6 billion on the Patriotism program since 2014/2015 financial year but no assessment has been done to evaluate the impact of the program against the set objectives.

“Without such assessment, the advancement of core goals of promoting nation building messages and emphasizing the importance of national unity and cohesion cannot be established. I advised the accounting officer to expedite the process of conducting the process of an impact assessment of this program to enhance better performance of the Secretariat,” reads the audit report.

The PAC Chairperson, Nathan Nandala Mafabi questioned the practice of taking children through military drills and why all instructors don military fatigues or ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party colors. The Commissioner Patriotism, Brig. Patrick Mwesigye defended the use of the military to train patriotism club members.

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Kalungu West MP, Joseph Sewungu accused the Office of the President of using the program to teach young people the NRM ideology. He questioned the rationale of paramilitary training for young people. Sewungu suggested that the money be injected into Scout and Girl Guide Clubs, which are better suited at instilling values amongst students.

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Mwesigye told the Committee that an inter-ministerial team comprising officials from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and the Office of the President had been set up to undertake a pilot study during the 3rd quarter of the 2018/2019 financial year.   He said findings of the study would be used to inform the main survey exercise on the impact of patriotism training.  The officials appealed for more time to avail a detailed report on the impact of the patriotism programs.

Nandala cited the need to carry out a cost benefit analysis of the Program and asked for the syllabus of the program and complete records of the schools that have benefited from the program in relation to the funds spent.

The officials also failed to explain why they failed to monitor the program in 397 out of 800 schools despite being allocated the required funding of Shillings 2.2 billion. The PAC Vice Chairperson Okin P.P Ojara questioned how the impact of the program is measured without monitoring its activities.

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