Has education created more poverty in Uganda? Are Ugandans poorer today than they were in the 1990s?
Let us look at this on the perspective of those who have sold their land, cows, goats, hens, etc to send their children to school. And after graduation, the graduates have no secure employment/jobs.
To make matters worse, education has been left in the hands of private players, meaning it is inflated to the extent that even teachers who are employed in Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools get salary loans or also sell what they have to send theirs to private schools.
Shall we be able to end poverty in Uganda by 2020? No, especially if we continue like this. People need loans for basic needs. Government also seems to be struggling on paying back its debts.
Our leaders should focus on the policies that impact the entire economy.
Akampa Rugaba Biretwaho,
What amounts to consultations?
There has been a lot of debates and discussions on the foiled consultations by the presidential hopeful Robert Kyagulanyi, whose consultations did not take place as he had earlier planned.
The police gave all sorts of excuses until there was a meeting called by the Electoral Commission on the same. We are still waiting to see what exactly came out of the meeting.
I have heard various parties struggling to define what consultations are - and of course each one has defined them to suit their narrative. The law that establishes the consultations; Presidential Elections Act, section three gives a broader sense of what the consultation can entail, and not merely what it is.
Is it, therefore, wrong for a party to consult by a rally or through a radio program? Does the Electoral Commission or police have the mandate to define what form a consultation should be? Will they be breaching the law by enacting their own to suit their orders?
The law is clear on the requirements for consultation, which is a notice to the Electoral Commission and the police and local council of the area where the consultation will take place. Does a meeting of a political organisation fall under the Public Order and Management Act?
I have also heard discussions on how one draws the line between consultations and campaigns. There are no clear set-out objectives and outcomes of the consultations. What would an outcome of consultation look like? Will there be some sort of endorsement by the voters? How do we determine that a meeting held was a consultation?
One would expect to see some kind of guidelines to sort this puzzle out. The Electoral Commission should ensure there is an equal levelled field for all political actors in the forthcoming elections if we are to achieve meaningful free and fair elections.
Public service payments are slow and painful
My father, George Kayega, has served government as a public servant for over 20 years as a secondary teacher.
However, in all those decades, we, as his family, have never been glad that he is a public servant because of the unspeakable and degrading way he is treated when it comes to paying him.
He gets a meager salary considering the laden of responsibilities he has and the challenging economy we live in. And to make matters worse, that meager salary comes as though it were riding on a tortoise. You may find that the poor man can work, let’s say for the month of February, but will get the February salary five months later!
Last year was one of the most excruciating years we experienced as his family because some of us had to sit out of school for the entire year because of lack of tuition and other basic scholastic materials. To us, the festive season that people are still reminiscing about was a normal day at our home.
We are a Christian family but there was no sign of Jesus being born on that day at our home, basing on the dilapidating condition we live in.
Dad has demanded for his salary arrears but in vain. He was also retired on medical grounds but being transferred to the pension payroll and getting his gratuity is another hard nut to crack.
I am just wondering whether government wants to pay dad towards the general elections of 2021 as a way of luring him to vote in favour of the incumbent. Is claiming your meager tortoise salaries a crime please?
Dear minister of Public Service Muruli Mukasa, do you realize the way your subordinates are being treated? Is it really fair?
Is Afrika Kwetu trek solving our problems?
I want to congratulate the president for having concluded the 195km Afrika Kwetu trek, which lasted six days. The trek was intended to retrace part of the National Resistance Army liberation journey in the 1980s.
During the trek, the president was able to engage directly with the citizens, including the bush veterans from Galamba, Wakiso district to Birembo in Birembo sub-county in, the new district of Kakumiro, carved out of Kibaale district. Like any other region in Uganda, the poverty on people’s faces couldn’t melt away people prompted His Excellency General Yoweri Museveni to provide handouts.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, poverty levels have gone up by about eight per cent, increasing the rate of helplessness in the country. The report, dubbed Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17, showed that people living in poverty now stand at 10 million, up from 6.6 million. In percentage terms, that shows that poverty now stands at 27 per cent, up from 19.7 per cent in 2012/2013.
According to the report, eastern Uganda was the hardest hit, with poverty increasing by 27 per cent while northern Uganda, on the other hand, came out as least affected, with people living in poverty there dropping to 2.4 per cent from 3.1 per cent.
The findings also showed that poverty incidence remains higher in rural areas, with 31 per cent compared to urban areas at 15 per cent. The rural areas contributed 86 per cent of the national poverty.
The government, under the stewardship of Yoweri Museveni, needs to get back to the drawing board. Trekking is a waste of time, energy and resources. Rather, government needs to have clear and practical strategies to support Uganda to transit to a middle-income economy. The handouts by Museveni are not sustainable, and are instead a sign of backwardness.
Such monies could be invested better in programs that benefit all. In this case, government can establish a fund where Ugandans can borrow at low interest rates. Such an initiative can facilitate in shaping the minds of focused vibrant energetic Ugandans to borrow and invest accordingly. This would address the looming unemployment problem.
As it was clearly noticed during the trek, programs such as Operation Wealth Creation have not impacted the population but rather benefited the selected well-connected few.
Gerald Padde Auku,