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Social Justice: Perspectives from Uganda
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Centre for Applied Ethics. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2013 (English)Collection (editor) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]


John Barugahare

Injustice in Uganda manifests in many ways. One most serious, yet least discussed social injustice, is inequity in Health. Although there are two equally important aims of health systems – efficiency and equity, in Uganda too much focus has been on ensuring efficiency and as a consequence concerns of equity have been relegated. Ultimately, health policy in Uganda has disproportionately negatively affected the poor’s livelihoods in general and the trend seems to be worsening by day. Even though it is possible to borrow a leaf from the Western literature on how to design a good health policy, low income countries like Uganda have special features that render the extrapolation of the Western input good but not enough. In particular, these special features are the level of resource constraints, poverty and the financing mechanism of health care services. These three have very serious implications for equity in health. In general, there is a lot of injustice in the Uganda health care and this has been mainly due to poverty levels and the financing mechanism which the system relies on. Hence, there is an urgent need to concentrate on a discussion of injustice in health because health enhances people’s functionings and is a mandatory condition for people’s enjoyment of other life opportunities to the extent that if a section of a society is made to suffer injustice in health, this will translate into injustice in all the dimensions of their lives. This is something that fair‐minded people cannot afford to live with for long. Therefore, it is important in this work to illustrate how the above three special features play to cause and sustain inequity in Uganda health care system and to  suggest the starting point to overcoming this injustice, not only in Uganda but as a general trend in health policy analysis.


Dickson Kanakulya

Reports indicate that there is an erosion of professionalism and ethics across most of the East African public service systems and this is limiting the efficient service delivery and negatively impacts on social justice. Because of this challenge many approaches are being applied to mitigate it, such as the institutional, legal, cultural and the political. This paper discusses the political approach and particularly problematizes the political push for patriotism in Uganda. Most of the critique and analysis was done while carrying out research and consultancy with Makerere Centre for Applied Ethics (MACAE) in selected districts in Uganda under the project “Pro‐poor Integrity” (PPI) funded by Tiri and DFID. The paper argues that the government’s policy of patriotism is more of politicking than real improvement of service delivery to the people. Political interference in public service has engendered a culture of impunity and increased unethical conduct among ‘politically‐connected’ civil servants right from the grass root service to the top administration, The paper argues that if ethics in Uganda’s public administration is to improve politicians ought  to be divorce party‐biased ideology from the patriotism discourse such that it can appeal to a wider spectrum of Ugandans.


Gervase Tusabe

Since 1962, all Uganda’s major centres of power i.e., political, economic and military have always been dominated by a chosen few, and the attendant wealth that goes with such powers has always been disproportionately enjoyed in favour of these chosen few when a considerable large number of people in the country are living under the weight of abject poverty.

The major argument advanced in this paper is that the fundamental cause of this experience of injustice in Uganda is the persistent domestic colonial mode of political administration that is managed by a particular closed group of individuals who more or less conspired to work together to promote their self‐centred interests at the cost of deliberately ignoring the legitimate interests of the Ugandans who are outside their group.


Michael George Kizito

Since time immemorial, poverty reduction interventions in Sub‐Saharan Africa like everywhere in the South, have focused on the individual as the basic ingredient of a moral society (ethical individualism). According to this perspective, in order to lift human persons out of poverty, it is imperative to integrate poor persons into poverty eradication interventions irrespective of sex, social status and gender. Scholars and institutions that subscribed to this conception of poverty thought that individuals were poor because of personal weaknesses (case poverty).This perspective has been greatly challenged due to the upsurge of gender and human rights scholarship in the 20th century. Gender scholars have painstakingly argued that in order to understand poverty, we need to look at society (ethical collectivism). They have rejected the Women in Development(WID) discourse that aims at integrating women into the development process in favour of the Gender and Development(GAD) approach to development and poverty reduction that aims at confronting power relations between men and women (empowerment).This GAD perspective looks at poverty in terms of the powerlessness speared head by prevailing structures in society (structural poverty) and hence the need to empower vulnerable persons such as women to challenge structures and strictures of oppression. The International Monetary fund (IMF) and World Bank as vehement promoters of economism in Sub‐Saharan Africa for decades have urged governments to include the perspectives of the poor in poverty polices through what they call participatory poverty assessments (PPAs). Despite its deceptive appearance, this PPAs stance of the IMF and World Bank tacitly looks at poverty as a case and not structural issue and that is why Uganda’s ambitious poverty reduction policy though greatly informed by Participatory Poverty Assessments greatly ignores structures and strictures that render women vulnerable to poverty. This paper critically assesses the obliviousness of Uganda’s Agricultural poverty policy to structures and how this has militated on the gender poverty production in Uganda. The paper contends that in order to realise engendered poverty eradication in Uganda, it is pertinent for the agricultural policy to ultimately make paradigm shift from focusing on the individual as the basic ingredient of a moral society (ethical individualism) to confronting structures and strictures that disempower and vulnerablelise individual moral agents (ethical collectivism).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. , 89 p.
CTE, ISSN 1402-4152 ; 14
Keyword [en]
Social justice
Keyword [sv]
Social rättvisa
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-90920ISBN: 978-91-7519-635-0OAI: diva2:615162

Contrubution authors to the chapters are John Barugahare, Dickson Kanakulya, Michael George Kizito and Gervase Tusabe.

Available from: 2013-04-09 Created: 2013-04-09 Last updated: 2014-11-05Bibliographically approved

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