statehouse websiteA mini-survey has  indication that while the world has gone online, the government of Uganda is yet to warm up to this modern platform. Although much of the world is using the internet to disseminate and access information, visitors to Uganda must be warned to treat information on many government websites with due skepticism.

There is little effort to update the sites, and as such they carry wrong and misleading information and careless typos. Many of the web pages of some government departments hide under phrases like “Information on … will be updated soon”, “Information to come shortly”, or “Please check this page again.” But even when you check after six months, you find the same words.

And the problem starts right at the head: according to the website of State House of Uganda, Prof Khiddu Makubuya is a minister in charge of General duties in the Office of the Prime Minister. And for avoidance of doubt, his moustached portrait still graces the Cabinet page. But in the real world, Makubuya resigned from Cabinet a year and two months ago – in February 2012. The docket is currently held by Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere.

The State House website lists 27 cabinet ministers, but some of them just have names only and a graphic cartoon stands where the minister’s portrait should be. Missing are the photos of ministers Moses Ali, Wilson Muruli Mukasa, Mary Karooro Okurut, Tress Bucyanayandi, Crispus Kiyonga, Jessica Alupo, Irene Muloni, Maria Kiwanuka, Abraham Byandala, Peter Nyombi, Amelia Kyambadde, Ephraim Kamuntu, Christine Ondoa, Ruhakana Rugunda and Janet Museveni.

Although his picture is missing, Adonia Ayebare is still listed as Permanent Representative to the UN, although he was replaced by Dr Richard Nduhura, nearly a year ago. Other ministers are completely missing from the website list. These include Frank Tumwebaze (Presidency), Richard Todwong (without Portfolio), Justine Kasule Lumumba (Chief Whip) and Abraham Byandala (Works and Transport).

State House also says on its website that Eriya Kategaya is still the first deputy prime minister. However, Kategaya died seven weeks ago. On this, the website of Parliament of Uganda takes the kudos: it shows Kategaya’s docket as “vacant”.

The State House website labours to define what cabinet is. It states: “The Cabinet of Uganda, according to the Constitution of Uganda, “shall consist of the President, the Vice President and such number of ministers as may appear to the President to be reasonably necessary for the efficient running of the State.”

So, even though the names and photos of Yoweri Museveni, Edward Ssekandi and Amama Mbabazi are under the webpage called The Executive, they ought to be on the cabinet list as well. And so should the photo of Karamoja Minister Janet Museveni, which is only provided where she is mentioned as the First Lady.

Although Yoweri Museveni got the rank of full General in February 2004, the State House website calls him a lieutenant general, saying: “Lt Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is the current president of Uganda.”

Some ministers, such as Maria Mutagamba and John Nasasira, are given the wrong dockets.

The NRM Secretariat website has a banner reading “Daily Update from the Secretary General” but nothing is shown under it. Instead immediately below is the “Welcome to the NRM Secretariat” message.

In fact when you click on the webpage “Daily Message”, you get the latest message dated Tuesday, 12 August 2008, 10:00 and it is “Written by Administrator”. On the “Party press briefings” webpage, the latest is dated Friday, 19 November 2010, 22:41. It is actually the “President Museveni’s Liberation Day speech”, yet it is “Written by Administrator”.

Asked how long it would take to remove Kategaya’s photo and name from the State House website, Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi said: “The length of time doesn’t matter because there is no government policy on removing dead persons from cabinet. But that’s the work of the webmaster and I wouldn’t want to do other people’s work.

But the whole world knows Kategaya died; what would be embarrassing is if someone today referred to Kategaya as minister.”

Asked whether it was not even more embarrassing that Khiddu Makubuya is still listed as a minister, Mirundi said: “Maybe someone is trying to preserve history. For me, I would like to be kept a hundred miles away from State House website.”

Source: The Observer