I talk about 40 years now with the base year as 1974. It is the year I entered St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMC then, though now it is SMACK) as a Secondary one student. That time some of the students who had excelled at PLE were getting bursaries from their home districts. I am one such beneficiary who was getting shs 400 from Mubende district per year out of shs 650 we were paying per year at SMACK (without school uniform). We were eating relatively well then. We could have bans served at breakfast even break tea, have meat more than once a week and real variety, of course with Sugar which is a luxury now in Uganda! Power cuts were rare at all and never called for installation of the generators we see today. Every child could afford to join SMACK as long as he had the brains, and the parent had some little income. It is important to note that even by 1974; things had started getting bad (the economy) following the expulsion of the Asians and the eventual invasion of the Museveni led forces from Tanzania.
The very bad politics we are witnessing today has a big contribution following the decision Museveni and his friends made to invade Uganda in 1972. “Amin was preoccupied with the dissident groups that Obote had gathered in exile in Tanzania. In late 1972, a small rebel force crossed the border with the apparent intention of capturing the army outpost at Masaka, but stopped short and instead waited in expectation of a popular uprising to overthrow Amin. The uprising did not materialize and the Obote-aligned force was expelled by the Malire Mechanical Regiment. The event prompted Amin to task the General Service Unit, later called the Special Research Bureau, and the newly formed Public Safety Unit with an intensified search for suspected subversives. Thousands of people were made to disappear. Amin retaliated by further purging the army of Obote supporters, predominantly those from the Acholi and Lango ethnic groups. Source: Military History of Uganda - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Uganda
A detailed account of what transpired can be read from the article: “Remembering the aborted 1972 invasion by Ugandan exiles,” by Augustine Ruzindana in The Monitor of Friday, September 19, 2014.
Following the aborted invasion of Uganda, President Idi Amin (RIP) changed his colours, he started eliminating anybody suspected to be involved with the rebels. Meanwhile the economy deteriorated on.
Focusing on how things are today, we are convinced that people who have seen only the bad side of Uganda are a substantial figure given the statistics as reported below:
Uganda age structure
The 2011 UDHS reported that nearly 78% of Uganda’s population is youthful and this presents a challenge in terms of high dependency and high consumption yet with low productivity. Currently about 6.5 million (21.3%) Ugandans are between 18 – 30 years. The number of young people in Uganda is projected to grow to 7.7 million by 2015. Most of Uganda’s young population aspires for various forms of services in terms of education, employment and family formation. This is the challenge for the country to address immediately. Uganda has the world’s youngest population with over 78 percent of its population below the age of 30. With about 8 million youth aged between15 - 30, the country also has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Sub - Saharan Africa. Although Uganda is making strides economically, it faces significant challenges in meeting its young people’s needs today and their challenges tomorrow as its population continues to grow at a rate of 3.2% annually.
Source: The State of Uganda’s Population, 2013
Surely, may be because of ignorance, but a number of youth and those below 40 years have read to some level, what do they get from such reading? You see them long to be provided with free things instead of sitting down and they get composed on how they can use their figures to see the regime out of office. While praises are sung by the youth, meanwhile their friends are committing suicide, yet also many youth are looking for money to go out of Uganda for work. Many have joined the Born – Again Churches to see miracles happen so that they get visas to wherever they wish to go. Yet the youth forget that they have the key to who can be in Statehouse, but they are simply a disorganized lot. They find it easy to go to the city with posters requesting for work, yet they would spend such energy discovering how they can mobilize to vote out the cause of the poor resource allocation that is greatly responsible for the mess. When they are called for free money, you find them shamelessly knelling before the provider! What irony?
With determination, even when the electoral laws are not changed, President Museveni can be voted out through the ballot. The intimidation really does not make a mature person fail to go and cast his/her vote later on follow up to the closure of the exercise and witness the vote counting as well as the signing of the declaration forms. How far can the NRM rig when people decide to be responsible enough? Can a man however much he may be used to cheating change all those results when there is proof of what actually transpired? Ugandans should know that time is out for people who do things as if there was no other force to counter them. Decide once to vote out the big man and he will go and a new era shall be ushered in. For how long shall we be intimidated that President Museveni has an army? Who pays for the army? Is it not the tax payer? What did professionalism mean to those in the army? Is it that they are at liberty to destabilize our peace so that looting the country’s resources goes on endlessly? You know, that is why I want to reward teachers better if I get a chance to get to Statehouse. They seem to be part of the problem in that they are failing to teach students life skills and these end up blown by air.
Youth are committing suicide as their friends sale air to them (the likes of Nakabale). Workers House suicide woman was job-frustrated. The young woman who plunged to her horrific end from the Workers House building Friday morning was frustrated by futile job applications, her family has revealed.
Justine Nalugya, aged 26 was a 2007-graduate of Makerere University and spent her final five years (after leaving university) looking for employment, but with no success. There is impression that her frustration must have had the better of her and she decided to end her own life. Her relatives suspect she was ‘disgusted with life’, which might have inspired her desperate suicide mission.
Nalugya dipped to her demise from the 14th floor of one of Kampala’s tallest buildings at about 11.15am and died instantly. Gloom instantly engulfed the area with workers and visitors within the building helplessly looking on as Nalugya’s lifeless body lay on the floor, head, torso and brain shattered.
Woman falls to her death at Workers House - A woman has died after falling from 14th Floor of Workers House in Kampala. Business at Workers’ House was suspended for several hours this morning following the death of a woman who reportedly jumped to her death. The police cordoned off the building for over 7 hours investigating what could have led to Annet Ashaba’s fall from the 14th floor of the building. According to police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, the young woman apparently committed suicide after she returned from Dubai to find that the savings she had been sending home had been squandered by her relatives.
Experts warn that the frustration of the youth can contribute to militancy, impatience and risk-taking, since they can be easily exploited by people with sinister motives. “The Government needs to find solutions for the youthful majority of growing larger, poorer, more discontent and occasionally, more militant,” the report further recommends.
I witnessed the suffering of the people of Uganda in the 1979 war. I was at Kajjansi and together with people from as far as Kibuye went to Nakawuka before Kampala fell. I was at Jinja when Lutwa overthrew Obote II (RIP) and shortly after, Museveni captured power. In all these, much property and people’s lives were lost. The youth of Uganda need to get to their senses and get to scheme for a change that will get this country back on course. The crocodile tears cannot help any more, and Museveni may never have all the cash that can gainfully have the youth employed given his other agendas that are cleaning the treasury like the military adventures in South Sudan to mention one.