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    Remarks at the Event; Meet the Candidates: Videos and Voting Behavior in Uganda

    Serena Hotel, Kampala, and August 9, 2017.

    Thank you so much. Let me, first of all, congratulate lead researchers – Professors’ Melina and Pia for concluding this work. I also wish to thank IPA for organizing this event.

    This is a particularly interesting day in politics –Few days after Rwanda carried through an election and Kenya is settling dust of counting votes. Clouds of democracy are gathering and heaping on East Africa! And only last year, Uganda went through the same, and not far from here, a decisive and consequential videolized debate at Presidential level happened – echoing memories of the first televised general election presidential debate in 1960 between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. This debate in Uganda happened not necessarily because candidates wanted it – but because people wanted it. People demanded it. And people got it.

    The soul and spirit of debate is well captured in words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall in 1903 “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. And here we some times say, let’s debate until cows come home! It’s a good thing. Joseph Jourbert was also instructive, “It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.”

    Lead researchers Melina (New York University Abudabi) and Pia Raffler (Harvard University)

    Debates are important to shape our policy and development discourse from Villages, Subcounties, districts and national level. Debates’ promote weighing and refining of views, and perhaps it’s what we need to move ahead. The now sometimes inconvenient discussions all over social media are even more important because that platform provides a voice to millions in a society. Authority figures should indeed peep and see what’s going on there, pick great stuff and translate it into policy.

    At the Agency for Transformation, we believe that Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment and imagination. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of information and contest of ideas, there can never be rule of law, accountability – there can only be abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.

    This is why when Melina and Pia said they want to test the correlation between voters knowledge of candidate’s position on a range of issues – and voters choice in both Primary and General elections – we were like HOLA- this is useful and decided to partner with them all the way.

    In a world where fake news run faster than light – a post truth world becoming self evident; where with a stone face politicians and authority figures pander to prejudices and emotions as pathway to power, where money and voter bribery is a new normal- it was important to figure out- if along this leaky sewer pipe there was or there is a solid clean water pipe – of a people pursuing logic over emotions’ and policy issues over prejudices. Let’s see what Melina and Pia figured out – and probably use it to build a resilient democratic society. To repurpose words of Katelbey, let flames of debate leap skyward in this Country.

    Thank you so much.

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    Thoughts on Improving the Education Standards in Uganda

    I’ve just wrapped up a visit to our Fundi Bots Eastern Uganda office, and while it was a lovely and inspiring visit, there’s this one thing I can never shake off each time I travel.

    The one thing that truly scares me about this lovely country of ours, more than anything else – put aside corruption, misuse of resources, nepotism, political entitlement, etc. – is how bad the education system truly is. Of course, the reason for this is in the very things I asked us to put aside.

    Basic literacy and numeracy are severely lacking. Reading, Writing, Speaking and Maths.

    I’ve spoken with, engaged, mentored and interacted with students of UPE and USE (Universal Primary and Secondary Education) and it’s heartbreaking how the most basic foundation of education is failing; S4 and S6 students who are nearly incapable of effectively communicating in English, and that’s before you get to asking them to communicate the subject matter of their classes.

    And this is in relatively urban areas; the problem gets exponentially worse the deeper you go into rural areas until you reach a point where you might as well stop using English.

    Of course, we can use our mother tongues, and there are proponents for the idea of using local languages as a pedagogical foundation. But we are one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. Fragmenting an already weakly implemented curriculum into more than fourty local languages is a logistical and implementational nightmare, not to mention the inevitably of once again circling back to English as the dominant global language that will be necessary once the student travels or engages beyond the confines of their district.

    So where does this leave us? We need an overhaul, that much is true, but fundamentally, we need very strong and rigorous implementation at all levels, specifically at the grassroots. I could fill a small book with ideas and suggestions for improvement, but here are just a few off-head suggestions.

    i) We need to respect, honour and reward teachers, not treat them like second-class citizens who have failed at other professions. And sadly, the majority of teachers are teachers because they have literally failed to find better career options to study at tertiary levels.

    Teacher training, skill development and career preparation need to be given the same prestige and rigorous investment as any engineering or legal profession. They need to be paid well and paid on time so that they can exclusively focus on the dissemination of knowledge.

    On a side note, I find it ironic that we relegate the education and upkeep of our (beloved) children to people we consider second-class citizens, like teachers and maids.

    ii) We need to treat classrooms and schools like the core foundation of society and knowledge that they are. Student attendance should be priority, teacher absenteeism should be dealt with strictly and resources should be provided equitably in a timely and efficient manner.

    We need to provide tools that enable and maximise knowledge acquisition and retention and improve learning outcomes for ALL students, irrespective of age, location, tribe, gender and socio-economic standing.

    A government student from Nakapiriprit should be at the same level as a government student from Kampala. Let the difference be a result of intellectual ability, passion, skills, etc, not resource availability.

    iii) Girl education needs to be highly prioritized. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. We need gender equity and equality in education.

    For example, a lot of men scoff dismissively at menstruation, but we underestimate how much the stigma affects the performance and mindset of our girls.

    Those of us – men and women alike – who’ve grown up in entitled and privileged societies where sanitary pads are relatively available and affordable are especially guilty because we cannot imagine prioritizing other things during menstruation periods.

    In many societies, the average girl student is absent from school almost 25% of the time during her periods because they cannot stand the stigma and embarrassment at school, not to mention the societal beliefs that she is now ready for marriage. All of this is a foundation for very high failure rates and a continued culture and downward spiral of disillusionment, disenfranchisement, illiteracy and patriarchy.

    iv) We need to URGENTLY move away from rote memorization/cramming as a benchmark for academic performance. We should strive to create a culture of learning, exploration and the consistent quest for knowledge as a means for intellectual achievement. Education should be about opening the doors of the mind and showing the possibilities, not about forcing students down pre-determined paths and boxing and locking them into systems that take away passion and creativity.

    Things have gotten so bad in schools that many parents are moving towards homeschooling their children to maximize their learning potential.

    In summary, our societies have an incredible amount of vices, many of which are quite simply the result of our eccentricities and peculiarities as inherently self-centered humans, but at their core, the majority of our problems in Uganda (and Africa at large) can be solved by simply creating a strong educational foundation in our children and in future generations.

    Each time I work with students in science subjects, my mind always wanders back to the ultimate question: how do we create a standard baseline for excellence in education and build up from there? And each passing day, I realize that the standard baseline is numeracy and literacy.

    Reading. Writing. Speaking. Maths.

    And the big question on my mind now is, how do we get there?

    Img Src: purecharity.com

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    The #HustleTales of Alexander Twinokwesiga, Lawyer and Founder of alextwino.com

    Brief Bio:

    Alexander Twinokwesiga is a lawyer and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a writer (babatwino.com), and a serial social entrepreneur (alextwino.com).

    Current Location:

    Kampala, Uganda.

    Current gig(s):

    The three careers highlighted in the brief bio, a writer at The Deuteronomy, East Africa’s first and only weekly legal newsletter, and The Writers Block Uganda, a news and social commentary website.

    alextwino.com is composed of,

    1. Umoja Bridge
      Umoja Bridge is an administrative services (immigration and business registration), legal and business consultancy, and investment advisory firm for East Africa.
    2. Something Ugandan
      Something Ugandan is an online shop for products of artistic expression as made by Ugandans or coming from Uganda. Products range from art, to music, to movies, to fabric, to fashion and its accessories, to innovative creations, and to unique creations.
    3. Turn The Page
      Turn The Page is partly an online bookstore, partly a book club and partly a book reviewer. Its main interest is African literature.
    4. Sweet Safari.
      Sweet Safari is a ground travel agency and reviewer of destinations of interest in East Africa. It is an online tour booking site.
    5. Hikes And Runs East Africa
      Hikes And Runs profiles upcoming marathon or running events in East Africa.
      It prepares packages for those intending to participate in such events,
      It prepares packages for those intending to go on hiking tours to various destinations in the region.
      It also hires out necessary hiking equipment to those without.

     

    Current computer(s)?

    An HP Probook 4540s, core i3.

    Why this one?

    It was, as I was advised, the best I could find at the time and for the fee that I bought it.

    Current mobile device(s)?

    A Huawei.

    Why this one?

    I got it as a temporary phone after I had been welcomed back to Kampala with a beating and robbery as I left the Ne-Yo Concert in October 2015.

    One word that best describes how you work:

    Effective.

    How did you end up at your current gig?

    A conflation of my innate capabilities, exposure to educative experiences, and the quest for a better fathomable world for many beyond myself.

    Are there any career decisions/life choices/failures that were fundamental in making you the person you are now, doing what you are doing now?

    To pick on a few; losing my beloved Father at the age of 24, working an 8-5 job and career, which I retired from at the age of 25, and returning home (to Uganda) helped me exploit all the education and experience that I had amassed prior to each of those definitive moments.

    Is your start-up able to fully support you or do you have side gigs to sustain you as it grows? Any stories of some of the struggles/sacrifices you’ve had to make to see this dream come to life?

    Even in as much as it drains me in all ways imaginable, as I have sacrificed all that is available to me, my work has, thankfully, been a source of, to use the word, pride every other day.

    I do lots of these so-called side gigs for so many people, but, unfortunately, I/we live in a culture that does not value the efforts we render. Most, which I would value and ask to be paid in millions of UGX, do not even earn me a decent meal or a cup of coffee.

    What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

    I believe in marketing like the year you live in. As such, I cannot do without Chrome, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Telegram, and, of course, WhatsApp.

    What’s your workspace like?

    I live and or work in five towns in East Africa; Kigali, Mbarara, Kampala, Nairobi, and Arusha.

    When I am not working from my bedroom or living room, my workspace is, as mobility has made it possible, in the palm of my hands, and on the road – if that is not so problematic to appreciate. I work from anywhere, really. I can draft a notice of motion on a morning matatu in Nairobi, write an article while waiting in a foyer in Entebbe, attend to orders while on a boda-boda in Kampala, attend a meeting in a café in Kigali, and deliver a product in a bar in Mbarara.

    I do have colleagues in all major and minor towns in the East and Horn of Africa that believe in me, or that I work with, and/or who can deliver satisfaction as well as I would fancy. So, phone calls, emails and texts help make the otherwise overwhelming processes a little less so.

    How big is the team of people you work with and what’s your formula for managing them?

    As reflected on my entrepreneurial website, alextwino.com, the team is made up of six core persons; a Chief Executive Officer, a Chief Digital Officer, a Chief Financial Officer, a Chief Communications Officer, a Graphics Design Manager, and a Distribution and Sales Manager, but, as you would expect, there are several unnamed people that we deal with. My family and friends, for example, have been helpful especially when a need arises in a town that I am not physically present.

    It should be noted, however, that at the end of the day, it is all on you, as the visionary.

    What’s your best time-saving trick/life hack?

    1. If a person I am meant to meet with does not show up one minute after the agreed time, then they can stay where they are as they are eating into my time.
    2. The longer you wait to fire someone, the longer it has been since you should have fired them.

    What’s your favourite to-do list manager?

    I used to love Wunderlist, but, lately, I use my diary a whole lot. I never call it a day until every item I set out to when I left the house is checked against – as completed or done.

    Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

    *Looks around* The telly? For the news. Even before computers and mobile phones became common, I have always skimmed through all channels, at every top of the hour, to keep abreast with affairs both local and foreign.

    What everyday thing are you better at than most?

    Making and drinking tea. Believe me. I take a lot and are made of it.

    How do you recharge?

    I have been asked, and I have asked myself the same question before, and the answer has always been; “I do not know”. How to decompress, that is. But I am working on finding an activity, or person (winks), that will help keep my ever roaming and anxious mind and body loose.

    What do you listen to while you work?

    Huh! I can listen to the radio or music, watch TV or a movie, read a book, and hold a conversation while I work. And, I work around the clock, so there is always one or all of the mentioned happening at the same damn time.

    What are you currently reading?

    As we talk right now, I have paused my reading because, on June 1, 2017, I completed my reading challenge for 2017, which is/was 52 books in 2017. I will resume, to triple it, before the end of December 2017.

    What usually leads you to buy a book?

    Either a book club recommendation, or to clear an already developed reading list.

    Books you’ve read recently that have impacted on you deeply?

    There have been many over the years, but the very last book that I read, which was Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future was a good one that I would recommend, especially for those who live in and think about or work for a brighter future.

    What kind of impact did they have?

    I am not Musk, of course, but I relate a lot with his sentiments, his thoughts, and his (work) ethics. I hope I can achieve only a portion of what he has.

    Any mentors/role models that you are working with/have inspired you and what lessons have you managed to learn from them?

    I have no mentor or role models. All that I do is a result of my God-given blessings and/or talents.

    My mentor and role model was my Father. He died.

    Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

    A fair share of both. I am too shy that I prefer keeping to myself. Also, I am not what they call an anti-social, which calls for keeping up appearances.

    What’s your sleep routine like?

    There is none. When it happens, it is polyphasic. I have been sleeping for a total of two hours a day since I was twelve years of age.

    How do you strike a balance between work, family, friends and other social obligations?

    There is, honestly, no balance. At least, in my life. I concentrate on, and dedicate all my time and direct my energies towards work related activities. As a result, I have sacrificed, so to say, my family, and culled my friends to as few as only those that I know that I refer to them as OQPs (Only Quality People). I, sadly, have no time for social obligations outside the scope of my biases. It would take motivation.

    Who would you love to see answer these same questions?

    Everyone has dreams and a story and the right to achieve and tell it respectively, right?

    What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

    Amongst the many, I do recall a moment with my Father in which he said to me, in 2013, that I should “Acknowledge that you are a child of God and all the best things in life will follow”. I find it worth note.

    Is there anything else you’d like to add?

    Besides that, I pray, hope and work towards the world without opportunities and/or work to do, not really.

    ***************************

    If you have any additional questions for Alex, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. He will try and answer those he can. Click here to read other Hustle Tales


    The Hustle Tales (adapted from LifeHackers, How I Work series) asks people that are doing epic things how they go through their daily routines to make sure whatever is needed to get the job accomplished is done. If you are interested in doing one these interviews or know someone you think should do one, inbox us with the details and we’ll see if we can make it happen.

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    How Smoking a Cuban Cigar Made me Quit Tobacco.

    Recently, a friend went to Cuba and came back with cigars. Monte Cristo cigars. Origino, unlike those chups you find masquerading around town. This was the Monte Cristo number 2, the only better one being the Monte Cristo 1. To be honest, I didn’t, and still don’t, know much about cigars so all this ‘humble’ bragging I’m doing is based on information supplied by said friend. I choose to believe him and I suggest you do too so you don’t end up being called a hater.

    Being the good friend he is, he called me over to shoot a hip-hop music video with sigiri-hot vixens fighting for our attention while we sipped expensive liquor and smoked origino cigars. That’s what I thought we’d be doing anyway when I got the call. Instead, we smoked them from the backyard of his place, in the dark, while crickets and other night creatures provided background sounds. Basically, like teenagers sneaking out to experiment with cigarettes so they can brag to their friends at school. The picture above was taken from the dining room before we moved out to smoke so the smell wouldn’t stick to the curtains and fox a brother when his parents came to visit (hopefully they’ll never land on this post). And that’s not expensive liquor, it’s just apple juice. I really suck at the #BowWowChallenge.

    Anyway, the point of this post is we smoked expensive cigars and it was…wait for it….meh! Such a bloody anticlimax. First off, they are shaped like dildos. Then, you cut off the part that looks like the head before you smoke it. As if circumcision. You then put the base in your mouth and light the circumcised part. All this imagery contributes to killing the FOMO for it.

    Next, there are rules about smoking cigars. To begin with, you don’t inhale the smoke. Never. See, the difference between cigars and your usual cigarettes, besides the size and price, is that cigars are 100% tobacco, which cigarettes are not. Even the wrapping around the cigar is tobacco. And then they have this alcohol thing too were the longer you keep it, the better it gets. What better means in this case, I ronno. I say this because all you are doing with the cigar is inhaling the smoke, swirling it around your mouth and blowing it out. The 100% tobacco thing implies that if you inhale, you basically feed your body expensive concentrated cancer. It’s like finding a panya to the grave. So you don’t inhale. All you do is puff out that cancer to the people around you so they can passive smoke it while you look cool. You can’t even get high off the thing.

    Now whereas I’m no advocate for drinking, I do appreciate expensive alcohol and why it is so. It’s smooth on the digestive organs, gives you a civilised height and most times, you wake up feeling fresh. Value for money. With cigars, I really failed to see the point. I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making it 100% tobacco and storing it right so it ages well, but that’s all sentimental and my sentimentalism is negligible. The entire cigar industry reminded me of diamonds and how the cunning people that control the industry have made them valuable through some very clever economics of demand and supply.

    Smoking that cigar left a bad taste in my mouth, literally and figuratively. Despite the fact that most of my close friends at university were smokers, it never really caught on with me. And this wasn’t from a lack of trying. It became relegated to something I do when I was already tipsy on alcohol or was trying to hit on a girl who smokes.  It just failed to stick. Till Shisha came along with its pots and flavours. But even with Shisha, I never really went out of my way to smoke. I’ve probably bought like 5 shisha pots by myself in my history of shisha smoking. The rest of the times, I pretty much smoked from the pots of the proper smokers. A tapist, or is it tapper. I’ve read all the complaints against tappers but I didn’t stop doing it even when I could afford because, to me, it was a control mechanism of sorts. Get guilty about tapping and let your guilt stop you from regular smoking. But this self-denial meant that when a friend invited me to join, I’d overcompensate and pull on that thing like it was oxygen and I’d just survived drowning. But for the most part, it worked.

    Standing there in that garden smoking that cigar, I decided to quit anything tobacco related altogether. As a vice, it just wasn’t worth it anymore. It hadn’t been for a while but being the semikolo I was, I’d continued forcing life. It was time to move on now. I’ll probably still do the occasional cigarette to bond with the hot girl who smokes or take a shisha puff for old times sake, but I’ve officially moved on from this vice.

    That’s how my tobacco story ends. I’m curious to hear what yours might be…

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    Museveni’s 2017 State of the Nation Address – Uganda

    State of the Nation Address by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA, at the Uganda International Conference Centre, Serena, Kampala, on 6th June 2017.

    His Excellency the Vice President,
    Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament,
    His Lordship the Chief Justice,
    Rt. Hon. Speaker of EALA,
    Rt. Hon. Prime Minister,
    Rt. Hon. Deputy Prime Ministers,
    Rt. Hon. Leader of the Opposition,
    Their Highnesses the Traditional Leaders,
    Hon. Ministers,
    Hon. Members of Parliament,
    Hon. Members of EALA,
    Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
    Distinguished Guests,
    Ladies and Gentlemen.

     

    Greetings,

    Madam Speaker, in fulfilment of the Constitutional requirement under article 101 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, I am here to deliver the State of the Nation Address, 2017.

    Madam Speaker and Hon. Members of Parliament, on 8th June 2017, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, will present to this August House and entire Nation, the Budget for FY 2017/2018. He will detail what has been achieved and what we intend to achieve in the coming Financial Year.

    Since the last State of the Nation address, a number of Ugandans, including former Ministers and Members of Parliament, have departed from this earth.

    I extend my condolences to their families and to the entire country.  Let us stand up for a minute of silence in their memory. 

    On this occasion of the State of the Nation address, I will just summarize what the NRM was telling the population during the elections of last year.  In order to guarantee prosperity of our country, we need to remember five issues.  These five are: peace; development of the infrastructure and the human resource; wealth creation; jobs creation; and market access.  Sometimes, we package them differently as ten strategic bottlenecks.

    Peace means absence of war but it must also includes absence of lawlessness. The NRA/UPDF has ensured peace in the country by defeating Kony, ADF and disarming the cattle rustlers in Karamoja.  The UPDF has the capacity to ensure that nobody disturbs the peace of Uganda.  However, as you saw recently, there has been a spike of lawlessness in the country involving the murder of AIGP Kaweesi, Sheikhs, Major Kiggundu, Joan Kagezi, Chairman Okware in Namayingo, Rwamutwe in Bushenyi, the town clerk of Gulu, the Eritrean businessman, etc.  There were also numerous break-ins in homes and some people were throwing leaflets threatening violence.  In Mukono, there was the increased stealing of vanilla from the gardens.  Some people started panicking.  When I went to the home of the late Kawesi, I told you of the gaps that were still in our law and order architecture.  These gaps were unattended to until recently, not because they were not known, but because of lack of funding on account of competing demands.

    Here, I am talking of the technical means for the Police Force and the counter-terrorism capacity of the country.  Without going into details, I can point out to the Hon. Members, the absence of cameras in the towns and the highways. These gaps put alot of burden on the CID to discover the one that committed the crime depending on eye-witnesses and other clues.  The cameras would hasten the identification of anybody who commits a crime in the towns or the highways.  This is a gap I have given instructions to close.  Meanwhile, the rich businessmen and residents that can afford should install cameras around their businesses and residences.  They greatly assist. The Police will also acquire greater forensic technical capacity the details of which, I would not like to go into here.  Using the limited means available to the Police, in the form of Police dogs to detect explosives, scanners, metal detectors, etc., the Police backed by the UPDF, when there is good planning, can guarantee security against any lawless or terrorist actions.  The recent peaceful holding of the Martyrs Day, where an estimated 3 million people turned up, shows that Police and the UPDF already have good capacity, the gaps already mentioned notwithstanding.

    Nevertheless, the Police and the intelligence services have been rightly criticized by the public for being lax in handling information given to them by the public, sometimes leaking this information, corruption in the form of extorting money from the public, high-handedness in dealing with the public and protecting criminals or allowing criminals to infiltrate the Police.  The Police leadership must, therefore, carefully listen to the public and clean up the few rotten elements.

    Otherwise, I can inform the public that, ever since 1980, when we started recruiting educated people into that force, the Police has got a very large number of capable cadres.  Those who taint their hand with hobnobbing with criminals will only let themselves down. The Police Force will continue to grow stronger as it was planned to do by the UNLF in 1980 and, subsequently, by the NRM ever since 1986.   The Police do not have to wait for the crime to be committed. Through good intelligence, most crimes can be prevented. Most of the suspects arrested after the murder of Kawesi and others, even if they were not involved in the killing of Kawesi, they had committed other capital offences, many of which carry death sentences or life imprisonment. Why, then, were they still in circulation?  That means somebody was not doing his or her work.

    The attempt by the criminals to cause rural scare by throwing leaflets, stealing vanilla from the gardens, occasional murders and rape, is easier to deal with because the villages are not as congested as the towns.  Indeed, 78 suspects have been arrested for being involved in crime in the Masaka and Mpigi areas.  Our massive security apparatus comprised of the Police, the crime preventers and the UPDF, with very little mobilize, can easily handle that village thuggery.

    The other day, I was in Kalerwe and the youth there were complaining of the Police arresting them for being “idle and disorderly”.  This must stop completely.  Some of the youth are idle because they do not have jobs.  Why arrest them for that?  The revolutionary should be like “fish in water”. A revolutionary should never be “fish in no water”.

    You should never talk harshly to the people. Always maintain a harmonious relationship with the people. I started relating with the youth in Kampala in 1968, in Katwe.  The NRM cadres in Kampala have not properly followed the earlier work of Fronasa in Kampala. Our first NRA Commander, Ahmed Seguya, was from Katwe.  I had trained him in Mozambique in 1971-72.

    The issue of alleged torture by the Police, was addressed by myself in the usual NRM/NRA way. We always combine educational methods (sensitization) and administrative methods (punishments, demotions, etc,). When these reports came up, I carried out analysis of torture and how it, actually, impedes successful investigations.  That is a very powerful message because it addresses the whys and the why-nots of an issue.  It addresses the “Policeman of the mind” rather than just the “Policeman of the body”. I saw some NGOs and allied persons pouring scorn on my methods and recommending only fascist methods of arrests and imprisonment without education.  Could these “experts in-everything” tell us why the UPDF is able to operate in Somalia, Central African Republic, Congo, South Sudan, etc. without complaining?  Is it because of high pay or fear of imprisonment?  Do these “know-it-alls” remember that our Army is a volunteer Army?  Do they know that one can make much more money in the private sector than in the army?  Let the “know-it-alls” be informed that the UPDF does what it does because of conviction.  Okunyonyora (to explain, to sensitize) has been the life and blood of Fronasa, of the NRA, of the UPDF.  To end this point, be informed that Uganda is free of war and it will remain so and the spike in lawlessness is being defeated even before we fill all the gaps and will be totally defeated when the gaps are filled.

    Uganda will be like in one old song of the Banyankore which went as follows: “Muyogo na Muyuumbu ei abaan bariisa ente” ─ Muyogo and Muyuumba (part of present-day Ntungamo) were so peaceful that children were brave enough to look after cattle because there was no threat.

    When it comes to the development of the infrastructure and the human resource, I want to inform the Ugandans that here we are talking about the physical infrastructure (roads, electricity, water-works, the railway, the telephones, etc) and developing our human resource through education and improved health. The development of the infrastructure is so crucial because, as I have told you numerous times, it lowers the costs of doing business in the economy and, therefore, maximizes the profits of companies.  Lower costs of electricity, transport, etc., means higher profits for the entrepreneurs. I want to salute the Parliament of 2006 and the subsequent Parliaments.  They saw and supported the logic of boosting expenditure on roads of Shs. 398 billion in 2005/2006 to the present level of Shs. 3,442 billion.  On account of this and in spite of the corruption, just using government of Uganda money, we have tarmacked the following roads: Kampala-Mityana; Kampala-Masaka; Kampala-Kafu-Karuma-Gulu; Jinja-Kamuli; Iganga-Kaliro; Tororo-Mbale-Soroti; Ishaka-Kagamba; Mbarara-Kikagate; Matugga-Semuto; etc,. These are roads that are already finished.  In addition, solely using Uganda government funds, we are in the process of tarmacking the following roads: Mpigi-Sembabule-Villa Maria; Musita-Mayuge-Namayingo-Majanji-Busia; Soroti-Katakwi-Moroto; Olwiyo-Anaka-Gulu-Kitgum-Musingo; Nakapiripirit-Namalu-Muyembe; Mubende-Kakumiro-Kibaale-Kagadi-Ndaiga; Nyakahita-Ibanda-Kamwengye – Fort Portal, etc., etc.

    All these  and the others not mentioned are being done solely with the Uganda government money.  There are other roads being done with the support from the international institutions but most of the time with co-funding from GOU. These are: Gulu-Atiak-Bibia; Kiguumba-Masindi-Hoima; Kagadi-Kyenjojo; Ntungamo-Mirama hill; Rukungiri-Kihihi-Ishasha-Kanungu-Rugyeyo-Nyakisheenyi; Rwenkunyu-Masindi-Port-Apac-Lira-Puranga-Acholibur; Kapchorwa-Suam; etc., etc.  Some of the roads that were internationally funded are already finished and they include: Fort Portal-Bundibugyo; Mbarara-Kabaale-Katuna; Kabale-Kisoro-Bunagana-Kyanika; etc. The World Bank wants to help us re-tarmack, strengthen and widen Tororo-Mbale-Soroti-Lira-Kamudini roads.

    I am most grateful to the international partners for this solidarity. However, the Ugandans financing their own projects, gives me alot of satisfaction.  It is a good harbinger of the good things to come.  What is happening in the sector of roads is replicated in the sector of electricity. Using the Uganda Government money from the Energy Fund, we have supported the expansion of generation of power e.g. in Nyagak where the licensed developer could not complete the project but, especially, in the area of building transmission lines. Using Uganda Government money, we have extended transmission lines to the following areas: Kakumiro, Kibaale, Kagadi, Muhoro – Buzizi tea factory to Kyenjojo; Kanungu-Rugyeyo tea factory; Rukungiri-Kanungu; Mpanga small hydro-Kamwenge-Kahunde and Kahunde sub-station; Buseruka small hydro-Hoima; Kyabugimbi-Buhweju tea factory; Kakumiro-Birembo-Nalweyo;    Sironko-Nakapiripirit; Amudat-Soroti-Amuria; Napak-Moroto-Katine; Lwala-Kaberamaido; Amolatar-Dokolo; Katwaki-Napak-Moroto; Mbale-Bufumbo-Bukonde-Manafa-Lwahaha border post; Bugiri-Wakawaka landing site; Kamuli-Bukungu landing site; Kitgum-Padibe-Kitgum Parabeki; Lira-Aloyi-Apala; Ibanda-Kabujogera-Kamwenge; Bukwiri-Kyankwanzi; Kayunga-Busana; Muhanga-Kamwezi; etc., etc.

    The proportion of the population that now have electricity is 20.4% compared to 4% in 1986.

    Transport, as already pointed out in respect of the roads, is another cost pusher when it comes to business. A 40ft container costs US$ 3500 from Mombasa to Kampala by road compared to USD 1,500 by rail when the standard gauge railway is ready and will only take one day.  A similar container on the Peking (Beijing) – Shanghai line would cost US$1,500 for transport.  That is why we are working for the standard gauge railway.

    The ICT issue is now addressed since we completed the ICT backbone. The cost of telephones and internet use should go down compared to what it was when we were using the satellites.  I am here, therefore, to inform the Ugandans that the NRM has been working systematically to make Uganda a low cost economy in terms of electricity, transport and ICT connections.  The labour is cheap.  The only expensive element we need to deal with, is the cost of money ─ in terms of interest rates. This will be solved by capitalizing the Uganda Development Bank (UDB).  This coming year, the Treasury put Uganda Shs. 50 billion in the Uganda Development Bank.

    Having dealt with the cost pushers on the infrastructure and financial side, we need to report on what we have done on the human resource side. The population of Uganda was 14 million in 1986.  It is now 40 million.

    Why has it grown so much and so quickly? Answer: peace and immunization.  I hope the new leadership in the Ministry of Health will, at last, implement the NRM strategy on health.  Our strategy has always been based on prevention rather than cure.  The measures of prevention other than immunization include: nutrition, hygiene, clean water, behavior change, anti-malaria measures and a responsible lifestyle.

    The literacy rate is already 75%.  What we are going to work on is more and more skills.  The literacy rate is from the expanded education system ─ a total of 3,070 Secondary schools (government and private), a total of 19,718 Primary schools (government and private), a total number of 142 Technical and other Tertiary Institutions (government and private) and a total of 45 Universities (government and private).

    It is issue three that is still a problem.  We still have a big proportion of people who are not engaged in wealth creation and those who are so engaged, are doing so sub-optimally ─ not fully utilizing the potential of their assets.  Two examples can show the magnitude of the under-utilization.

    Dr. Muranga at Nyaruziinga is now harvesting 53 metric tonnes of banana per hectare per year.  Her neighbours, the Banyankore, are only harvesting 5 tonnes.  There are 1 million  fresian cattle and cross-breeds in Uganda today.  If each one was producing 20 litres of milk per day, our dairy production would stand at 6.5 billion litres per year, assuming 30% of the fresian herd would be milking at any given time.  Yet our total milk yield is still at 2 billion litres per annum. We are, of course, congratulating ourselves because it rose from 200 million litres in 1986.

    There are four sectors of wealth clusters: agriculture, industry, services and ICT.  Uganda today has got a huge number of young people. How pleasing it is to see them!!  The only problem is that so many of them do not have  either wealth or jobs (obugaga oba emirimu). Yet Uganda is enriching other countries by excessively importing products and services that your own children can produce if assisted by the State. I have already done my small experimentation.  How much furniture does Uganda import from China and Dubai?  How many pairs of shoes does Uganda import from outside?  How many metres of textile does Uganda import?  How much pharmaceutical units does Uganda import?  How much vaccines for humans and livestock does Uganda import?  How much glass, how much fertilizers, how much steel?  How many auto-mobiles, how many motorcycles?  How many, even, bicycles?  How much processed coffee and processed fruits?  Is it a wonder that many of our young people neither have jobs nor wealth?

    The answer is that we have donated both the wealth and the jobs to the outsiders.  When I talk of imports, do not think that I am confining myself to import-substitution.  I have never been in that category.  Apart from the internal market, we must also target the regional and the international markets.  What I am saying is that Uganda is uniquely endowed to enjoy comparative advantages in many of these production lines.

    As I speak today, we already have good investors for steel, fertilizers, glass, coffee, cotton, maize, milk, cooking oil etc.  Amosi Dairies is exporting milk products to the USA; Mukwano is exporting cooking oil to the European Union; many factories were exporting fish before it was undermined by bad fishermen in the Lake.

    However, for shoes, furniture, automobiles, motor-cycles, computers etc., we are still depending on endless imports which cause so much haemorrhage and yet we have the capacity to compete in these fields if everybody wakes up.

    Using only Shs. 271 million through my State House Comptroller, I have bought common user machines for the furniture makers of Nsambya.  This is one group with 2,000 members.  I have given support to 105 groups in the Katwe area with a membership of 1,570 and to 17 groups in the Najeera area with a membership of 510.  The Katwe ─ Najeera area groups are, mainly, in metal cutting, bending, etc. In Katwe, I used Shs. 375 million and in Najeera, I used Shs. 337 million.

    Apart from supporting groups that are already engaged in artisanal efforts, through my State House Comptroller, I am now supporting 711 young girls to do: baking, embroidery, textile weaving, shoes making, knitting, etc,.  Every intake of 6 months costs us Uganda Shs. 486 million, including giving them lunch and daily transport of Shs. 2,000 per person.  This is Kampala based.  We want to decentralize to the Kampala divisions.

    This will mean that these youth are transformed from being idle and unemployed into wealth creators and job creators.  Remember that one’s wealth in agriculture, industry, services or ICT, creates jobs for many.  When I am a farmer, the farm is my wealth.  It also creates jobs for others.  When I am a factory owner, the factory is my wealth; but it also creates jobs for others.  When I own a hotel, the hotel creates jobs for others.  When I run a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) business, that business creates jobs for others.  The huge reservoir of the unemployed and property less youth is a huge opportunity.

    We should transform them into wealth creators and job creators.  They are the ones to save us from imports and also generate exports using our huge natural resources and our comparative advantages.

    Yet, the money required is not so much as already pointed out above.  In Najeera, I spent Shs. 337 million;  Shs. 375 million in Katwe; and Shs. 271 million in Nsambya.  These figures included cash for their SACCOs, common user machines and, in some cases, work site sheds.

    In job creation and wealth expansion, we shall not only depend on converting our youth to wealth and job creation.  We shall aggressively also attract FDI (Foreign Direct Investments).  These can move things faster. They have the money, the technology and the contacts for the markets.  Now that we have the electricity, once we have solved the issue of the high price of electricity, we shall be competitive.  We shall also review the landing fees for aircrafts at Entebbe and the ground handling fees. That airport must be competitive.

    It is not wise to overprice yourself out of business.  However, for the FDIs to flow in, we must purge out all the corrupt official in the UIA, in the Ministry of Finance, in NEMA, etc.  They are the ones that have been delaying and frustrating investments.  How shall we know them?  We shall know them by their fruits.  Their actions will tell us who they are.  You delay an investment for two days, we know who you are.

    You have seen how I have been using little money to convert the youth from propertylessness and unemployment to wealth creation and job creation.  The girls who are being trained will be equipped with the necessary gadgets once they qualify, similar to what we had done to other groups but, this time, in their own respective trades.  Why can’t we use the huge monies for women groups, for the youth, for the SACCOs, etc?  In addition to converting our youth from idleness to wealth and jobs creation as well as attracting FDIs, we shall also encourage our present members of UMA, who are 700 in number, to expand, diversity and deepen their operations.  Those engaged in exporting wet-blue leather, should make final leather so that our massive move on making shoes by our youth utilizes our leather.  Kilembe mines must produce the 99.9% pure cathode copper rather than the 94% pure blister copper because the former can directly be used in our cables industry at Lugazi rather than having the irrationality of copper producers having to import copper ingots for use in our cables industry. That was the case in the 1960s when we were producing and smelting copper but not to the final degree. The Gold Refinery recently commissioned at Entebbe is a good example because the gold produced there is pure enough to be used in coins, jewellery, etc., directly.  The steel from Sukulu (Tororo) will straight away go into the dams, the high-rise buildings, the railway, etc.  Our sugar producers should further refine sugar to produce purer sugar for use in beverages or for pharmaceutical.  Our beverages industries and our pharmaceuticals industries are rendered expensive on account of importing pharmaceutical grade sugar from outside.

    Our sugar producers cannot, however, do this if they are still being disturbed by pirate sugar companies that were licensed by our system to operate in the traditional sugar producers’ zone of cane.  We are going to rationalize this dangerous chaos to the sugar industry. With pharmaceutical grade sugar, medical drugs that need syrups will cost-effectively be made here.  The soda industries will benefit from the industrial grade sugar.  Some of our industrialists (old or new) should go into making industrial and pharmaceutical grade starch for industrial and pharmaceutical use. Human drugs ─ companies are inconvenienced by having to import starch from outside.  Yet, we have our cassava and maize waiting to be turned into  starch.  Could Dr. Muranga’s banana starch help us in this?  Local starch would make the drugs cheaper by 30% and, therefore, more competitive.

    On this occasion, I will not speak alot on agriculture because OWC is already on the move to tackle the 69% of our population who are subsistence farmers whose muziro (totem) has been money.  May be, on another occasion, I will give details of what OWC has done.

    As far as agriculture is concerned, I will only mention three areas.  One, we should remember that there are richer farmers who do not benefit from OWC.  These need separate support through low interest money in UDB.  They need this money to do bush-clearing, pasture development, water excavation, accessing chemicals for crop parasites, etc., etc.  Part of the capitalization of UDB by government will do this.  I have also discussed with PTA and SADC Banks on this issue.

    The other issue is irrigation.  We cannot depend forever on rain-fed agriculture. In the second season of last year (Ituumba) when there was stampede about the “drought”, there were at the same time the second highest recorded water-levels since 1900.  The water level last year, in the first season (Katuumba), at Entebbe reached the level of 12.70 metres.  That water level was only exceeded by the record water level of 1964 when it reached 13.65 metres at Entebbe.  In fact, since I follow those issues, I was very worried that the landing sites and piers would  be swallowed up by the water as happened in 1964.   Indeed, part of the shoreline was flooded.  Even today, the water level at Entebbe is at 12.13 metres.  Ever since 1964, the water level in Lake Victoria has never gone back to its 1959 level of 10.76 meters or that of 10.28 meters in 1923.  Therefore, to talk of “drought” in Uganda is an irrationality.  The answer is irrigation. I am glad the government is working on this. The plans for the irrigation schemes of: Pabbo, Ongom, Biiso, Labori, Namalu, Musamya, Kibiimba and Matanda are at the feasibility and design stages.  Designs for the following irrigation schemes are already finished: Mobuku II, Doho II, Wadelai, Tochi, Rwengaju and Ngenge.  There are also 130 micro irrigation schemes in various districts.  Other designs to be done are:  Rwebincuuncu, Mabira, Atari, Acomai, Geregere, Ojama, Kyenshama, Kyahi, etc.  These do not include the mega irrigation schemes around the Rwenzori, the Elgon, the Agoro and the Kigyezi Highlands as well as bulk water transfers for Kagyera, Nakasongola and Kakyeera areas.  More importantly, working with industrialists, we are developing solar powered water pumps that can be used by individual farmers.  I am looking forward to throwing away my diesel water pumps when the cheaper solar pumps are available.  I could then irrigate my pasture and crops.

    With the diesel pumps, I have confined myself to only filling the cattle dips.  The Ministries concerned have pledged to finally work on some of the industrial parks such a Namanve, Luzira, Mbale, etc,. We are also expecting our Kiira electric car, Kayoola mini-bus and pick-up in 2018.  The Automobile Industrial Park is being developed in Jinja, for tick control.

    The fourth issue is to remember that, in order to supply the industries, our agriculture must wake up and behave industrially. We, for instance, are now required to supply cattle for the abattoirs that are springing up and also supply the Chinese market where our people have got orders for beef where a Kg is now US$11.5.  With 14 million cattle, this should not be a problem because you can easily sell off 20% per annum and it will not affect the national herd.  20% of the national herd is 2.8 million. Therefore, supplying a factory that needs 146,000 per year is not a problem.  However, somebody must concentrate those cattle so that the factory gets its 400 cattle per day that it needs.  We have directed NEC to do this.  Everybody should support them. Even private fatteners of bullocks can be licensed to feed these factories and also the export market.

    In all this, I have not yet commented on the oil and our other minerals.  Having agreed on the pipeline, we are set to move.  This oil will make it easy for the Uganda State to fund infrastructure and innovation in Science.

    The fifth crucial issue is market access. Under our 10 strategic bottlenecks that we identified long ago, limited market access is one of them.  Recently, in Dar-es-Salaam, I pointed out that in order to guarantee our prosperity, we must ensure that our products access the internal market, the regional one and the international one.  Trade is about mutual support if it is fair trade.  The EAC market of 170 million people gives us a good base to negotiate with others ─ the Americans, the EU, the Chinese, the Indians, the Japanese, the Russian, etc.  Once somebody buys what you produce, he is supporting your prosperity. The reverse is the case if you buy what he is producing. You are supporting his prosperity ─ you are creating jobs for him and giving him that that should be yours.

    Let us wake up and wake up everybody.

    As far as the legislative programme of the government is concerned, here below are the Bills:

    PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM /FOR FINANCIAL YEAR 2017/2018

    S/NO MINISTRY
    A MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

     

    1 Management of Uganda Government properties abroad “Overseas properties and Immunities Bill.
    2 The Uganda Institute for Diplomacy and International Affairs (UIDIA), Bill.
    3 Foreign Service Bill
    B MINISTRY OF  GENDER, LABOUR & SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
    4 Social Impact Assessment and Accountability Bill.
    5 The National Council for Disability Amendment Bill.
    6 Community Mobilization and Empowerment Bill
    7 The Traditional and Cultural Leaders (Amendment) Bill.
    8 The Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment)Bill
    9 The Labor Disputes (Arbitration and Settlement) (Amendment) Bill.
    10 The Employment (Amendment) Bill.
    11 The Workers Compensation (Amendment) Bill.
    12 National Youth Service Scheme Bill
    13 National Youth Council (Amendment) Bill.
    14 Uganda National Cultural Center (Amendment )Bill, 1959 CAP 50
    C MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SERVICE
    15 Public Service Pension Fund Bill,
    16 Salaries and Allowances (Specified officer) Bill cap 291 of 1999
    17 The National Records and Archives (Amendment) Bill.
    T MINISTRY OF FINANCE, PLANNING &   ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
    18 Bank of Uganda (Amendment) Bill.
    19 National Payments Systems Bill.
    20 Investment Code (Amendment) Bill,
    21 Micro Finance Deposit Taking Institutions (Amendment) Bill.
    22 Financial Leasing Bill
    23 Motor Third Party Insurance Bill.
    24 Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2018
    25 VAT (Amendment) Bill, 2018
    26 Excise Tariff (Amendment) Bill, 2018
    27 Stamps Duty (Amendment) Bill, 2018
    28 Finance Bill, 2018
    29 Tax Procedures Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018
    30 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2018
    31 Appropriation Bill, 2018
    32 Institute of Procurement Professionals of Uganda (IPPU) Bill
    33 Annual Budget Estimates for FY2018/19 – Motion
    34 Corrigenda for FY2018/19 – Motion
    35 Budget Speech FY2018/19 – Motion
    36 National Budget Framework Paper FY2018/19 – Motion
    37 Semi Annual Budget Performance Report FY2017/18 – Motion
    E Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries
    38 Agriculture Extension Bill
    39 The NAADS Amendment Bill.
    40 The Universities and Tertiary Institutions (Amendment)Bill.
    41 Fisheries Bill
    42 National Coffee Bill
    F Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
    43 Constitution (Amendment) Bill.
    44 Administration of the Judiciary Bill.
    45 Geneva Conventions Act (Amendment) Bill.
    46 The National Legal Aid Bill,2015
    G Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities
    47 Uganda Wildlife (Amendment) Bill.
    H Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development
    48 Uganda Land Commission Bill
    49 Land Lord –Tenant Bill
    I Ministry of Water and Environment
    50 NEMA Act (Amendment) Bill.
    51 The Climate Change Bill.
    52 Water Act (Amendment) Bill.
    J Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives
    53 New Sugar Bill.
    54 Consumer Protection Bill.
    K Ministry of Works and Transport
    55 Uganda Construction Industry Commission (UCICO) Bill.
    56 The Engineers Registration Act (Amendment) Bill.
    57 The Draft Roads (Amendment)Bill
    58 Building Control Bill
    59 The Civil Aviation Authority (Amendment) Bill
    60 Traffic and Road Safety (Amendment) Bill
    L Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports
    61 National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) (Amendment) Bill.
    62 Physical Activity and Sports (PAS) Bill.
    63 Uganda National Examination Board Act (UNEB) Amendment Bill.
    64 The Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium (Amendment) Bill.
    M Ministry of Internal Affairs
    65 Government Chemist Agency Bill.
    66 Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act (Amendment) Bill.
    67 Small Arms and Light Weapons Control Bill.
    68 A policy framework on poison information management in Uganda (to guide the government  Analytical Laboratory in establishing the National Poison Information Centre)
    N The Office of The President (Directorate for Ethics and Integrity
    69 The Inspectorate of Government (Amendment) Bill.
    70 The Asset Recovery Bill.
    O Ministry of Health
    71 National Specialized Hospital Bill
    72 National Health Insurance Bill
    73 Indigenous and Complementary Medicine Bill
    74 Mental Health Bill
    75 National Food and Drug Authority Bill
    76 Public Health Act
    77 Health Tertiary Institutions Bill
    78 Organ and Tissue Transplant Bill
    79 Uganda Health Services Management Institute Bill
    80 Pharmacy Bill
    81 National Health Laboratories Services Bill

    I thank you.

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    Hot Popular

    #MovieTalk Wonder Woman is a dope ass flick!

    The rumours are true, #WonderWoman is a dope ass flick! Can’t believe how sublime Gal Gadot is as Wonder Woman cos I remember when they first cast her, I was like, “Really? That skinny Latina from the ‘Fast & Furious’ movies?” Little did I know this former Miss Israel also served 2 years in the army, and last night I totally ate my words – she kicked ALL the ass, as did all the Amazonians. I couldn’t help imagining a “300 Spartans Vs The Amazonians” type crossover. It was a total joygasm to witness. Anyways, Gal was amazing, very believably badass yet bringing real humanity and curiosity to her character in a film partially shot in what I must assume is Paradise.

    Interesting note: this is only director Patty Jenkins’ second film, the first being critically acclaimed serial killer flick “Monster” that earned Charlize Theron her Oscar 14 years ago. In between she’s done some Emmy-nominated work directing episodes of everything from “Arrested Development” to “The Killing”. I hope Ms Jenkins makes more movies cos she does a phenomenal job balancing the humor in the film with the savagery of war, and the action scenes here helped me understand the criticism of Zack Snyder’s DCEU films thus far (criticism I don’t agree with, but now understand).

    To avoid spoilers, I won’t get into my issues with the third act but I will say, all through I kept imagining what this film could have been if they’d included even one woman on the 4-man writing team. Particularly for that third act.

    Overall a great time at the movies. This summer needed a hit and the early numbers suggest this film’s gonna be a beast.

    P.S: After the trailers but before the film, they showed -initially untitled- an intense 5-7 minute sequence from Chris Nolan’s upcoming WWII film “Dunkirk” and I don’t know how else to put it but HOLY FOCKEN SHIT!!

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    Critical Analysis of the Meaning of Pastor Augustine Yiga (Abizaayo)’s Cat

    I have never liked cats!

    Growing up, mama (bless her soul) kept one that, I must add, was no favourite of my old man! For a long time, this particular feline could do no wrong and, unlike other cats, appeared not to go to the loo. Like, never! We all thought it was clean and civilised about its bowel movement affairs.

    That was until we discovered that for quite some time, its ‘toilet’ was this huge basin (Why, in the early 90’s, ‘Tumpeco’ made these super-size colourful plastic basins is something I’ll never fully fathom. They’ve since gone out of vogue) that the old man had happened to fill with dried millet that he, perhaps, obtained from a trip to the village, with a view of having it ground into flour for either ‘kalo’ or ‘bushera’. No kalo was eaten, or bushera drunk that year! The old man banished the cat but I guess, since it didn’t speak human, it did not get the point and kept making an appearance at the dinner table!

    cat1

    The story of how it met its demise is an excruciatingly sad one, and quite long too. It involves Kunda Clare gifting it with a large piece of meat at one fateful dinner which it attempted to gulp in one go, Python style, and only succeeded in choking itself…slowly…till it went to cat heaven after about 3 days or so!

    Generally, cats have been dead (pun intended) to me since. That was until last night!

    Watching NTV Uganda’s “Ensigo Y’ekibi”, a documentary about fake “Men of God”, there was a scene where Pastor Yiga, alias Abizaayo, of Revival Christain Church was being interviewed! I could barely stay attentive to what the “Musumba” was rambling on about. Something about the indigent part of his congregation not heeding his warning to stay home on days that had been set aside by his Church as “sowing” days! I digress. As I was saying, my attention was fixed on this thing on the Musumba’s table. Yes, right on the ‘desk top’ (Pun time: probably because that’s where the computer mouse is! Too soon, Timothy Lugayizi?)

    cat2

    I mean, right there there was a live cat that was the colour of my kindergarten sweater. Right there, on top of this chap’s desk, well within the camera angle, during the interview! And the interviewer was acting like all was okay, asking normal questions, evading the elephant (read cat) in the damn room! I kept thinking they would pass the mic to it for a few deserved purrs but, oh well, you can’t get all the things you want in life.

    Then it hit me! The cat seated atop the desk was a sort of device, a dramatic device, a literal device, a tool! The Musumba’s interview and TV appearance were incomplete without the device! Much like the President’s hat, Gen. Tumwiine’s iconic shades or Gen. Koreta’s all weather moustache! The reference to ‘bush war heroes’ and, or, soldiers is unintentional! Or is it?

    It does require some sort of super villainy, or as it is locally called by urban youth, ‘kijaasi’, or for lack of a better word, “badassery” to appear with a cat on national TV. The public must then grow to appreciate and believe that the device is part of you. It completes you! Without it, you are nought!

    In fact, film history is littered with many a great villain, only made so by a feline character;

    1. The Godfather I – Marlon Brando (as Don Vito Corleone) in the epic opening scene!
    2. James Bond 007 (about 6 Bond films in the 60s and 70s, most notably in “You Only Live Twice”) – The Super Villain, Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
    3. The Austin Powers series of movies – Dr Evil

    When I think total ‘bad ass’, one or two of these names come to mind, and it subtly has something to do with a cat!

    cat3

    Maybe the Musumba is a student of literature and specifically, one of film. Maybe he understands that the public audience wants a badass they can revere, be they a congregation or not! Maybe he knows that deep down, we as God’s imperfect little bits of wood need to have something to hate! Just maybe he knows that a prop gets you automatic attention and can sometimes be a mind numbing device as you go on about your ‘reaping’ (what has been sown by others) business!

    That said, credit ought to be given where it is due! Kudos to Abizaayo for the effort! Ffe, we have recognised it! I’d surrender a coin or two but I learnt yesterday that you only take 100k and above!

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    Bagaetsho, That Is NOT Who We Wish To Be as a Nation!

    Bagaetsho:

    It was with horror and disappointment that I watched the recent viral video of a young woman getting stripped naked and violated by a mob of men at a bus rank in Gaborone because they did not approve of her clothes. Like most of you, I found myself wishing that someone in that video would come to the young lady’s rescue. But no one did. Not even the women in the video. In fact, they encouraged the sexual assault. I believe that I am speaking on behalf of all two million of us Batswana when I say that, that is not who we wish to be as a nation.

    I add my voice to those of many Batswana men and women who have condemned in the strongest terms this shameful and barbaric incident that is unfortunately too familiar to too many Batswana. Are we going to remain a society where a young woman fears rape every single time she walks past a man? Are we going to keep raising our boys to become feared and fearful men? Bagaetsho, that is not the botho that our forebears entrusted to us to safeguard for future generations.

    As our young nation grapples with issues tradition and modernity, and larger issues of freedom and justice, of right and wrong, let it never be implied or said that sexism or misogyny are our nature as a people. Culture does not fall from the sky; people create culture, and we have created one where such violence against girls and women happens with ease and often with impunity. Certainly, the time has come for us to teach botho in schools: to demystify and besiege sexism, misogyny, violence, and rape. The call has never been more urgent to teach humanism, civics, equality, and the wisdom of our elders – our history – in the curriculum. As most of you know, our statistics of gender-based violence are at an all-time high.

    Outside the classroom in our workplaces and houses of worship, in our living rooms and on football fields, let us speak out against the abuse of women and girls. Let us stop policing and punishing women’s bodies as though they are objects. Let us stop being a nation where sex tapes of minors are shared around as jokes and then we turn around and act surprised at the tragic number of rapes in our country. Let us stop normalising abuse and let us finally find the courage to act against the violence against women and girls.

    It will not be just by the instruments of the law or the content of our curriculum that Botswana will be safe for the future girl child. Rather, it will be by a true change of hearts of men and women of this country to say ‘No More!’ to gender-based violence. So, let us roll up our sleeves and all join efforts with groups like Emang Basadi, the #RightToWearWhatIWant on social media and any other platform of our choice to energise transformative conversation around the social cancer of gender-based violence.

    #UprightAfrican

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    Hot Popular

    Over 700 Students To Undergo Patriotism Training

    A total of 750 senior six leavers from all the districts in Uganda and students of Shimoni Primary Teachers College will undergo a two weeks Patriotism training course at Shimoni Primary Teachers College grounds at Bulindo, Wakiso District.

    The training, which will be conducted by National Secretariat for Patriotic Corps (NSPC), will take place from 27th May to 8th June 2017.

    According to the Commissioner NSPC Col Patrick Mwesigye, the training has been an annual activity since 2013 targeting senior six leavers who are transiting from secondary to tertiary education.

    “The aim of the training is to help guide and equip our students especially those who have been in secondary school patriotic clubs with capacity to manage the transition from secondary to post-secondary clubs.” the commissioner says.

    Unlike at the secondary level, tertiary level students are exposed to more advanced ideological theories and patriotic teachings which further shape their worldview and also allow them adapt to the more liberal and risky university environment.

    It is against this background that the Secretariat thinks that as our Patriots advance in their education ladder, it is our responsibility to deepen their understanding by equipping them with better tools of analysis, critical and creative thinking skills.

    In this training, students will be taken through a number of practical topics among which are: Patriotism for nation building and social transformation, Role modelling and inspiring learners, Patriotic discipline and methods of work and, Leadership skills and leadership development, health and hygiene.

    They will also be introduced to more theoretical topics like Constitutionalism and Rule of law, Aspects of Uganda’s history from pre- colonial, colonial, and post- independence periods; National resources and their impact on Uganda’s Geopolitics, on top of basic military drills, self-defense and skills at arms.

    The training is inline with our mandate of inculcating patriotism values and norms to all students and all youth of Uganda through patriotism studies.

    Our mission is to develop a resourceful, responsible, loyal and resilient citizenry that are ready to defend and transform this country.

    The NSPC is a presidential initiative launched by HEX President Yoweri Museveni in 2009 whose ultimate goal is to produce a new breed of enlightened population committed and devoted to national causes, and have the love for the country.

    Our mandate is in line with the Uganda constitutional command that as every citizen of this country enjoy and exercise their rights and freedoms; they have a duty to be patriotic and loyal to this country.

    Over the years NSPC has trained over three hundred thousand (300,000) students and youths, and have established over 4,000 patriotic Clubs in secondary and Tertiary institutions in Uganda. The target is to train over 1,500,000 secondary school students and their teachers, 6,000 students in UTCs and NTCs, and over 84000 in universities and other tertiary institutions of learning.

    The strategic directives and guidelines issued by HEX the President on 23rd June 2016 also gives us mandate to work with other MDAs to train over 10 million youths outside school in the next five years.

    Img Src: npcu.wordpress.com

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    Why is the Volunteerism Spirit Lacking in our Culture?

    Dear friends,

    As a social entrepreneur, one of my biggest challenge in this initial start-up stages has been building a team of voluntary individuals who are ready and determined to take the risk of running an institution from scratch, with barely any resources or even funds to accomplish some of the day-to-day activities set out in the plan. I have always succeeded in marketing the idea and having them agree to be part of its trials and tribulations which in the end also turns out to be futile.

    Along the way, I’ve observed that most millennial folks (even non-millennials) have a poor culture. They never want to take risks and if they actually try, then they are too demanding and harbour unreasonable expectations. Expectations of thinking that a good idea must hastily bring monetary returns or quick fame. Expectations to think that out of the blue, they will be famous.

    Ours isn’t a culture of patiently attaching oneself to a startup social cause, a noble cause which may not necessarily be about financial satisfaction but the inner satisfaction that someone somewhere is being impacted and that because of your efforts they’ve got their life’s priorities changed. A culture of belief that someday, no matter the challenges, things will not be the same.

    As founders, all we ever want is a team of individuals who will understand where we are, what we stand for and how we intend to be relevant towards our objectives. From what I’ve observed, this is lacking. Most people still want to be paid for even rendering their services to do a cancer patient’s fundraising.

    But this is what I think our millennial folks should take up. The skill, resilience and grit to sacrifice for a worthy innovative cause. To start something from scratch collectively and take the challenges that accrue as short-term. If the problem is money, fame– then devise ways of getting it whilst doing something that’s socially enriching. The wealthiest people like Marck Zuckerberg of Facebook, Bill Gates et.al all started from somewhere.
    Ironically, when things go the right way. They are the first people to come running asking for “opportunities”. Opportunities they deliberately ditched in haste for quick financial gains.

    ENDS.

    Yours truly,
    Wabwire

    Img Src:peelvolunteer.org

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