By Pendie Wasswa
BBC’s Comic Relief showcased proof last Friday (15) of the British as a blessed and giving breed to African children and women who are dying in poverty every day.
It celebrated 25 years of giving to disadvantaged African and British people but questions still remain unanswered as to whether foreign aid reaches those who need it.
There are currently many international charities working in Africa to prevent poverty and diseases, but many suspect they high-jack aid through consultations and paying for their living costs before it reaches the deprived child/mother.
Unfortunately the Freedom of Information Act does not cover charities nor are most African governments willing to disclose this information.
Collins Ozuku 40, from Infax Nigeria, a consultancy firm emphasised the need for aid to be distributed directly to local charities or hospitals rather than governments. Officials divert the funds into personal businesses so aid does not reach the local people that need it most.
He said; “It is appalling.
“Aid makes Africans dependant.”
Barbra Jones from The Daily Mail wrote that the UK gives £19 million British taxpayer’s money in aid to South Africa to reduce AIDS but just recently, the current president Jacob Zuma used £17.5 million to upgrade his rural family home where as people are living on less than £1 a day!
In Uganda, the previous Minister of Health Mike Mukula embezzled Ush 210 million earmarked for Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation in 2006 and claimed that some of it was requested by the president’s wife’s secretary.
David Kalama, 52, an opposition party activist and a Human rights lawyer in Uganda said “My heart bleeds.”
He described how children and women are dying of diseases and living in poverty while the aid given by UK and other developed countries are meant solve such situations. Aid is complicated by corruption.
Many Africans believe that Africa is a blessed continent with raw materials, oil and minerals and that aid undermines the capacity of African leaders to solve their own problems creating dependency instead. They believe African leaders should fight poverty and diseases by achieving better deals with developed countries through fair trade.