Operating under an un-complete facility with no toilet, near Entebbe Botanical gardens in Entebbe Municipality, Entebbe Redcross branch struggles to remain relevant in the community within Entebbe sub-district that covers Entebbe Municipality, Katabi town council, Kajjansi town council, Kasanje town council and Busi Sub County.
The blow that hit Entebbe branch to date, crops from allegations of mismanaging funds that were meant to build a multimillion office structure, a project that was donated by the Swedish Redcross Gotland region. The construction of the Redcross offices that kicked off during Muhamed Kawuma’s regime as the chairperson, came to a standstill when the Swedish Redcross branch stopped funding it, following allegations from one of the then, treasurer Arthur Namara.
The latter claimed that his then, chairman Kawuma was mismanaging the shs6million finances that had been sent to start on the construction process.
“The office construction came to stand still because of some politics,” Arthur Namara wrote to funders branding Kawuma as a mistrusted leader to handle the finances of the project. Due to the sensitivity of the matter, the funders pulled out,” intimated a former member of the Redcross executive committee.
Little did Namara know that his letter could not only affect the branch, but also his position. He was reportedly suspended for unofficial communication and replaced by David Kasule Wasswa who acted as the treasurer.
In order to get issues ironed out, the branch managers sent Wasswa and the youth chairman then, Ramathan Juuko to evaluate the said programmes. It was at such a point after the evaluation, that most of the branch activities started falling apart, construction halted, football team disintegrated, and all other programs stalled. The findings of the evaluation were not disseminated to the stakeholders which raised unanswered questions of who, why and what exactly happened, to date.
The two members who made investigations and submitted the findings, are currently out of the country. Micheal Mpunge the current youth chairperson at the branch says, amidst the rough trail, they are trying to rejuvenate the youth wing through entrepreneurship skills programs that empower youths to become economically independent.
“ Our youths are involved in liquid soap production and selling tree-seedlings. We hope such projects if are done with commitment, will not only benefit individuals but also the branch because we intend to have these developed into income generating projects of our Redcross branch,” explained Mpunge.
Isaac Rukundo the volunteer focal person for Entebbe Redcross branch says, they are looking out for new twinning partners that can help complete the work that was started by the Swedish Redcross branch. Much as people may have an idea on what the Redcross does, Rukundo says, they need to be understood more because they are a non-profit movement, whose thriving greatly relies on support from people and other organisations.
“Red cross is not a profit making business, so infrastructure development is only possible with support from partners, or through community resource mobilisation,” expressed Rukundo.
He added that the few donors and well-wishers at hand, prioritise humanitarian aid like food and other life necessities, but do not give money to build offices and structures.
Entebbe municipality is the mother of the Redcross society in Uganda that was founded in 1962. From 1941, it operated as a British Red cross branch, and in 1964 under an act of parliament, its constitution was adopted bringing into existence the Uganda Redcross society in 1965.
The society now with its headquarters in Mengo – Kampala, has 51 branches and 30 sub-branches and is fully recognised as a member of the International Committee of the Redcross and Redcross society.