It is not very often that an article on taxation is described as “heart-wrenching”. Yet our journalist fellow from Uganda – Alon Mwesigwa – managed to spark an online debate by linking taxation with governance and focussing his story on the healthcare system in Uganda.
Alon highlighted in his article, published in The Observer, how the administration of the tax regime is directly related to the quality of services that the government provides to citizens.
He captured the voices of those affected the most by the issue, telling the story of five-year-old Fred, who suffers from AIDS, and primary school teacher, Cecilia, who died at Mbale hospital, allegedly after health workers neglected her because she had not paid for her caesarean section. The article uses multiple sources, grounding the argument in research done by the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), a local think tank. Alon also quotes a World Bank report and cites World Health Organisation (WHO) findings, as well as making reference to the Millennium Development Goals and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).
By linking the issue of taxation and governance with the healthcare system, his article opened a channel for a discussion among readers. “It was a good article because it led to questions being asked … It evoked a lot of emotions and a lot of response,” says Maureen Ndahura, Relay’s Research Assistant in Uganda.
In this video clip Maureen explains what she believes makes a good story on tax.
During a Roundtable Dialogue that is being held today in Kampala, bringing together different stakeholders to inform a debate surrounding tax and governance, Alon is being presented with a certificate in appreciation for his contribution to improved reporting on tax and governance in Uganda.
Alon Mwesigwa participated in Relay’s fellowship programme, which brought journalists and researchers together and encouraged them to work together to strengthen research communication of critical development issues in the media.