We Have Shortchanged the Poor – Kadaga

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In short
Last week, Oxfam reported in its study on inequality in the country that the gap between the rich and the poor has continued to widen at an alarming rate.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has said the rich have shortchanged the poor, old and the youth in the country.
Kadaga says that the international community has fallen short of its commitments to ensure dignity and equal rights for men and women.
Kadaga was on Sunday speaking to the 136th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Over 650 legislators from 132 countries are meeting in Dhaka under the theme "Readdressing inequalities: delivering on dignity and well-being for all."
Last week, global charity, Oxfam, reported in its study on inequality in the country that the gap between the rich and the poor has continued to widen at an alarming rate. Oxfam, an international confederation of 18 Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), works with partners in over 90 countries to end the injustices that cause poverty.
Oxfam's report revealed that 10 percent of Uganda's richest people have had their income grow by an impressive 20 per cent per year. These richest Ugandans now own 35.7 per cent of the country's wealth, leaving the remaining 90 per cent to share the remaining 64.3 per cent of the national income.
The report also revealed that the poorest Ugandans have seen their possessions decline by 21 per cent over the past 20 years. According to Oxfam, the poorest 10 per cent of Ugandans own only 2.5 per cent of the country's wealth, while the poorest 20 per cent of Ugandans own a meagre 5.8 per cent of the national income.
Kadaga described the widening gap between the rich and the poor as a primitive accumulation of wealth by a few individuals. She said that the situation indicates that the rich have shortchanged the poor citing a need to avail clear opportunities for them.
Kadaga noted that the most obnoxious drivers of inequality are corruption, impunity and failure to reign in the corrupt.
Kadaga urged world parliaments to deal with the international drivers of inequality, such as corporations that have degraded the environment and evaded taxes, those financing militias and companies engaged in natural resource exploitation and have pushed indigenous communities from their lands.
She said leaders and parliaments should plan and budget for uniform infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, roads and electricity in different parts of the country so as to reduce their concentration in a few areas.
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The Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament, Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, said every political and development agenda should be attentive to the needs of those who might be left out.
Sharmin who also doubles as President of the 136th IPU Assembly said the new development agenda would need a multi-pronged approach that defines a set of principles that would ensure proper distribution of wealth.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate and children's rights activist, Kailash Satyarthi, said that if women were empowered and treated equally, the world would not be facing the problems it has. He urged the legislators to use their positions and power to change the world for the better.
Uganda's delegation to the 136th IPU includes Speaker Kadaga, Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebaggala, Igara West MP Raphael Magyezi, Arua Woman MP Osoru Mourine, Mayuge Woman MP Mukoda Zabwe Julie and Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye.


About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.