Monday, 25 January 2016


While those in power in Uganda celebrate 30 years since January 26, 1986 when NRA/M captured state power in Uganda, many people are simply mourning.  It is absurd as well as unfortunate for a country that saw over 500,000 people perish in the 5 year bush war to see that less than a month to the Presidential elections, the country is simply awaiting the uncertain eventualities during and after the polls.  This development is driven by the greed; the feeling of having no shame; deceit; the wish for personal enrichment; the belief that one person has the vision and the correct line for the destiny of the country hence he has to be in power at all cost.
On the eve of the celebration of 30 years of NRM, we read in the press that Government has acquired 3 public relations firms to promote tourism in the country.  “Uganda Tourism Board has recruited three Public Relations firms to represent the country in source markets.  This is a UTB strategy hatched to increase the country’s tourists arrivals, a plan if succeeds will not only generate more revenues for the country but also create more employment opportunities.

The firms to represent Uganda are PHG Consulting for the North America market, Kamageo for the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland; and KPRN for the German speaking Europe.  UTB Chief Executive Officer, Mr Stephen Asiimwe said, “For the first time ever, Uganda will now have public relations and marketing representatives in our three major source markets of North America, Ireland & UK, and the German speaking Europe”.  This program is being funded under the World Bank’s Competiveness and Enterprises Development Project (CEDP).”  The development would make good news if the leaders had the love for dear Uganda, unfortunately they don’t.  So, it may surely not be value for money as the tourists may not come to a country with our type of a political landscape.

There should be no reason why everybody who follows the developments should feel uneasy simply because of the election of a President as this is supposed to be a summation of the people’s wish, and, as I write, after leading Uganda for 30 years, with 8 out of 10 youth waking up each morning with no means of earning, with health facilities in a sorry state throughout the country, with nearly all procurement procedures eaten by corruption tendencies, not forgetting that corruption has been institutionalized, it is just simple logic that majority of the Uganda voters look for change.  Unfortunately, because the change reading is clearly written on the wall, the powers that be have come out promising candidate Museveni’s win at 71% with no re-run expected, and, since people are expected to be disturbed by the rigged outcome of the poll, thousands of ‘crime preventers’ who are not provided for in the laws of the country have been trained and a budget of shs 37bn set aside for them.

The NRA/M captured power after a so – called popular resistance war.     The NRA/M waged a 5 year bush war with the major reason that the UPC Government had stolen the 1980 vote.  Unfortunately, down the road, the NRM Government has proved smarter at the same game to the extent that before people go to polls more so to vote for President, the outcome has already been predetermined.   The day Mr. Museveni was sworn in, he said democracy was “the right of the people of Africa’’ and that government must not be ‘’the masters but the servers of the population.’’  To the cheering crowd, he promised that democracy would be built from the ground up, and cautioned against misuse of authority:  “The problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular, is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power,” he said.

30 years down the road, the country’s infrastructure across the board is in a sorry state, the priorities are simply upside down.  In a country where majority of the people are rural based and agriculture is the mainstay, one decides to get soldiers to cater for the needs of the people as if agriculture is about distributing seeds and planting materials as well as livestock, forgetting the technical aspect that is crucial in the name of extension services by properly trained agricultural personnel.
The country is seeing brain drain every day.   According to the ministry of health, there are 701 doctors in the country (reported in the monitor of March 18, 2015). Of these, 47 per cent are specialists accounting for 329 doctors while 12 per cent (approximately 84) of them are found at Mulago hospital.
The Human resource for information systems (HRIS) shows that there are 4764 registered medical and dental practitioners but only 922 of these are licensed. In the nursing and midwifery section, there are 2188 registered but over 200 who are not working.

Below are figures of registered medical and dental practitioners:
Obstetrics and gynecology – 168; Pediatrics – 124; Internal medicine – 156; Radiology – 37; Cardiologists – 11;
Orthopedics – 24; Ophthalmology – 40 and
Neuro-surgeons – 7.
Licensed medical and dental practitioners
Obstetrics and gynecology – 38; Pediatrics – 26; Internal medicine – 31;
Radiology – 12; Cardiologists – 5; Orthopedics – 6; Ophthalmology – 10 and
Neuro-surgeons – 4.

Russell says an estimated Shs37b is lost annually in emigrating health professionals which reduces access to health care for Ugandans. “Make no mistake, the health worker crisis in Uganda is killing people, is preventing economic development, and means government is breaking its own pledges to improve access to essential health services. Uganda cannot afford to lose its health workers to Trinidad. This deal must be stopped--and the FY2015 budget should include the urgently needed increases in funding for health worker recruitment and motivation,” she adds.

The medical practitioners are leaving Uganda because
In East Africa, Uganda is the lowest paying for its health workers, including specialists.  The 2012-2013 salary scale for the civil servants from the Ministry of Public Service says principal medical officers and medical officers (special grade) earn between Shs1.27m and 1.39m while senior medical officers earned Shs1m. the entry point for medical officers earn Shs788,000 and that of other medical workers is Shs751,000.  Other earnings include: medical workers in U5 have entry earnings of Shs512,000, entry point salary for support staff like nursing assistants is Shs147,000 and the director general of health services with at least Shs3m.

The Ministries in Uganda are run on the dictates of State House.  Institutions that would be independent have all been compromised by the domination of State House.  Recently, the President summoned taxi drivers given that he is the operational institution where disputes are taken and then resolved.  The President decided to make pronouncements without involving the local governments.  Just on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the NRA/M liberation, it has been war in Masaka as those who tendered to collect revenue were resisting the President’s directive while drivers wanted it implemented.

In Kampala, because Kitata has State House connections and can mobilize commercial motor cyclists (boda – boda) for anything, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has to move cautiously or else the whole city is thrown into confusion.

In a nutshell, the 5 year liberation war left a lot of scars on the country including the children who are now grown-ups but have suffered simply because they were orphaned at an early age, but even the cause for which their parents died has not yielded positive fruits as the country has not gained the ability to change power peacefully.

It is unfortunate the 30 years of the Museveni rule:  It is simply a cry for the beloved Uganda with no certainty of a bright future.

Some Ugandans are now looking to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the international community to handle the local leaders who in the process of ensuring that the incumbent remains in State House may breach some of the rights of Ugandans including the taking of their lives to maintain the status quo.  It is sad, but this is the state of our civilization.

No comments:

Post a Comment