OUR Own APRM had had faulted Right from word go! Evidence below. The East African Opinion July 2 8, 2007 Fatally flawed Nepads failure was expected (J. Harrison Kinyanjui) At a meeting of African heads of state in Lusaka, Zambia, on July 7, 2001, Senegal's President Adoulaye Wade was co-opted into the Nepad bandwagon, to join Nigeria's former president Olusegun Obasanjo, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika in steering the new initiative. He thus became an insider, and a key proponent of Nepad. Six years hence and unfazed, Wade announced his unofficial disaffiliation from Nepad, attributing his disillusionment to its embarrassingly dismal performance against a backdrop of what he termed its monumental funding. Was that pronouncement from such a knowledgeable source obliquely spelling the end of Nepad? Wade's blunt admission that Nepad had failed to impact the African continent in any meaningful manner as initially envisaged is perhaps more revealing of the nebulous nature of the initiative than its perceived failure. BUT NEPAD'S abortion was imminent, and the writing had been on the wall far much longer than the timing of Wade's inauspicious denouement. In its expression, Nepad exemplified an elitist approach to African issues that sought to integrate Africa into the Western hemispheres economic and political scheme of things. Fatally, it operated on a parallel agenda with the African Union (AU). The AU may have in fact been the perfect forum to launch Nepad and articulate its objec¬tives as an African initiative. Yet by and large, its proponents failed to sell the idea to individual African countries via that forum, even though at various African heads of state summits it had been mentioned as a vehicle to recast Africa's image in the arena of globalisation. If indeed it was a homegrown concept, why did African heads of state give Nepad a cold shoulder? Perhaps it was hoped that those co-opted into its narrow club of members would assume an elitist status that inevitably would impel and draw other African countries to emulate them, being microcosmic exampling of Nepad's good objectives. IN NEPAD, however, African governments were being asked to overhaul overnight the economic and political paradigms that had crystallised after years of oppression and skewed economic policies deliberately perpetrated by Western institutions against them, precipitating the abject poverty in Africa that pains every rational human being. Nepad's other shortcoming was that it was framed within the old belligerent and patronising relationships of "us" against "them," and therefore talk of "new" partnerships between "developed" G8 countries and "underdeveloped" African nations was a poor smokescreen. It failed to demonstrate the reality of the touted partnerships and the exit plan out of the "donor-beggar" relationship. Its exponents' failure to integrate Nepad into the African Union proved costly, and this externalisation made it appear as a masked instrument of neo-colonialism, granted that Wade and company had first to "defend" its viability to the G8 members at their meeting in Genoa, Italy, on July 20, 2001. Even at that stage, Nepad's expressed aims were too theoretical, overly ambitious, or altogether too difficult to achieve with limited financial resources. Worse, even at face value, its objects assumed African nations functioned in a vacuum - as though their destiny and its crafting were exclusively in the hands of African governments. Overnight, the economic dictators of the West had been transformed by Nepad into eager "partners" of development, ignoring the realities of aid and conditional lending within the strangling international trade and financial systems already functional in all African countries. AN INSIDIOUS failure of Nepad stems from the paternalistic attitude that its proponents assumed at the outset, led by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, over African nations that were not founder members of Nepad. This was overly assumptive. In reality, no African leader has moral authority to spell out to another leader "peer review" issues for their nation to qualify for an assessment on Nepad's score sheet. This attitude served to alienate rather than attract more nations into Nepad's conceptual fold. Lacking any form of legal, political, or governmental authority, Nepad's decisions could not bind any African government, no matter how glamorous the manner of these decisions' rendition or superficial attractiveness. Supranational decisions require a cross-national forum such as the AU, which Nepad overlooked. It can be speculated that Nepad's take-off was sabotaged by Tony Blair's Commission on Africa, with glitzy media hype in Western capitals touting superficial solutions to African problems. Were Nepad's technocrats blind to these manoeuvres aiming at overshadowing and eclipsing Nepad? Why did they not speak vehemently against the propping up of the Commission on Africa when Nepad existed as a vehicle to propound the same issues the Commission sought to publicise and achieve? If Nepad's "peer review" mechanism was meant to create a new iconic bond between African nations where none existed or then it was a myopic intention, and a primitive hope, and Nepad's death was inevitable. The East African NEWS July 2 8 July, 2007 Funds hitch hits Ugandas peer review exercise (BARBARA AMONG) Uganda last week launched the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) country self-assessment field research against the backdrop of poor funding and limited sensitisation. The assessment is a national exercise involving government, civil society, the private sector and the general public, whose voices must all be reflected in the national assessment. It has 25 objectives, 58 questions and 183.indicators, which are divided into four thematic areas of Political and Democratic Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance and Socioeconomic Development. The process, which is already behind schedule by several months, has been hit by lack of funding from both the development partners and government. The government owes the APRM secretariat more than $600,000 in arrears. Counterparty funding from the government of Uganda has not been forthcoming to supplement development partners' financial support," said a statement from the APRM national secretariat. "Uganda has outstanding arrears of $400,000 being its annual contribution." Last October, President Yoweri Museveni asked Finance Minister Dr Ezra Summa to release $100,000 to the trust fund, but the order has not been effected. Contacted for comment, acting Permanent Secretary to the Treasury Chris Muhakanizi referred The East African to the minister, who was out of the country. "You ask Dr Summa, not me," said Mr. Muhakanizi. The Uganda APRM fund was created in October last year to hold funding from government and donors. Donors such as the United Nations Development Programme pledged $1.5 million, the Department for International Development $500,000 and the Danish International Development Agency $400,000. The APRM process in Uganda is a three-year programme that started in 2006 and is expected to cost $ 4.6 million, of which only $1.07 million has been collected, leaving a funding gap of $4.5 million. This year alone, the Uganda APRM needs a total of $2.8 million, of which only $1.07 million has been received, leaving a shortfall of $1.72 million. The governments contribution to the process this year is $653,482. As a result of lack of resources for sensitisation of the APRM stakeholders and the general public the process has seen low levels of awareness countrywide, even as the secretariat prepares to start its field research and data collection. Limited sensitization of all the stakeholders may affect the quality of the countrys self-assessment and the resultant programme of action, says the APRM first quarter report for 2007. In a bid to make the review assessment independent, the field research that starts this week will be carried out by four research institutes. The exercise will be finalized with the submission of the draft country self-assessment report and programme of action by the Technical Partner Institution by September. This will be followed by a validation exercise, first by the APRM National Commission and later by the External Country Review Team from the APRM secretariat in South Africa. Uganda is to be peer-reviewed in January 2008. It will be done by a team of yet-to-be named African Union member states who have voluntarily acceded to the APRM. "APRM creates platforms and opportunities for national dialogue, hence the process is much more than the production of a report," said Prof Elisha Semakula, chairperson of Uganda's APRM National Commission. Prof Semakula said, "It requires rebuilding trust and creating opportunities for dialogue. A realistic country self-assessment and a sound, achievable programme of action are paramount." Uganda's peer review was expected to take place last month.