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Your Mail: Time to ban tobacco adverts

Today is World No Tobacco day. Every May 31, the world stops to reflect on the millions of lives lost to tobacco use around the world and the one billion set to lose their lives to tobacco use this century unless current trends are reversed. Uganda already has Aids and malaria to worry about and yet a perfectly preventable epidemic of tobacco-related diseases is brewing.

Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide. Globally, tobacco use kills more people every year than Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined. This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has selected the theme of the ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Scientific studies unequivocally show that a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising has been followed by a reduction in cigarette consumption and that children and young people are more vulnerable to deceptive tobacco advertising. Last year, between June and August, I was principal investigator in a survey to investigate Uganda’s compliance with the ban on tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotions.

The good news is that our research team did not come across any billboard advertising tobacco in the streets of Kampala, Gulu and Mbarara we visited, which suggests that direct tobacco advertising has reduced considerably.

The bad news is that the tobacco industry in Uganda has changed strategy from direct to indirect advertising such as through ‘corporate social responsibility’ in response to advertising restrictions. Ugandan youth have been especially targeted by the industry as the tobacco posters we came across were placed in places favoured by youth such as nightclubs.

With the tobacco control bill coming before Parliament soon, Uganda needs to follow in the footsteps of Kenya, which instituted a ban in 2007, South Africa in 1999 and Ghana in 2012, to legislate for a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in all its forms, both direct and indirect.

Henry Zakumumpa
Makerere University’s School of Public Health

Monitor should stand strong

At this time, following its closure, the bosses at the Daily Monitor should be asking themselves a number of questions: Is it worthwhile writing the “truth” everyday? Are they just about making money? Is self-censorship worth it, given the fact that they have been doing it but have still got kicked in the teeth? Is their service to the country worth the hassles they go through?

Are they providing a good service that no one else is giving? Will their legacy for telling the truth outlive the brutality of government and its agents? Is what they are writing of interest to Ugandans?

Ugandans may be too cowardly to stand by you right now but one day, they will realize what a great battle you fought to uphold their freedom to express themselves! Gen Kale Kayihura, the police chief, was quoted as saying his force will stay at the Monitor until the letter purportedly written by Gen David Sejusa is produced.

All this in spite of the fact that there is a court order ordering his brutal force off the Monitor premises!  I think this is a warning to magistrates out there when issuing warrants to this police force that you have to be very careful because they will use your naiveté to practise all forms of illegalities. Do not give them unnecessary leverage to do so!  But Ugandans should not despair because these incidents are good learning points.  

Paget Kintu
Kampala

Petition against NRM is a non-starter

It seems some Ugandans are daydreamers.  For instance, Urban Banturaki and Modern Musimenta, who petitioned court to disband the National Resistance Movement (NRM) last week, are completely out of touch with reality. It is very sad for such adults to expose their high level of ignorance to the general public yet if they read the NRM’s constitution, they would be in a better position to understand how the party operates.

Why can’t they emulate their Christian names by being honest, modern and urban instead of looking for survival? Genuine party members know that it is only them who can decide on the fate on their party; therefore, the two gentlemen are merely looking for survival. I would like to advise them that if they are idle, there are very many opportunities in agriculture including rearing animals. Our highly-respected courts of law should fine individuals who take all sorts of funny petitions to court especially those who do it out of jealousy or malice.

Linos Ngompek
Jonam, Pakwach

How Mubs can honour Mulwana better

Makerere University Business School (Mubs) must be applauded for the decision to build a hostel in honour of the father of Uganda’s industrialisation, Dr James Mulwana. My humble suggestion to Mubs is that the Shs 5.2 billion they are going to spend on the hostel could have a bigger impact if used say to start a college/school in Mulwana’s honour.

Even in death, Mulwana remains an icon of innovation, prudence and entrepreneurship in this country. The college/school would be a centre of innovation, research and incubation for young innovators, as well as linking innovations to commercialisation. One key step towards a self-sustaining economy is the formalisation of the SME sector, which up to now remains a subject of public discussion.

Students of the school would undertake, as their practical training, the basics of company registration, bookkeeping, business costing, taxation, partnerships, human resource management, etc. One economist recently commented that today’s capitalism does a disservice to the young generation through exposing them to one side, of consumption and ignoring the vital element of production.

Matsiko Kahunga
Peers Consult Ltd Kampala

Fix Kasese’s water problem

Last week, thugs stole two big pipes of six inches diameter each that were supplying water to Kasese municipality. According to management of National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) in Kasese, this has caused shortage of water in the whole municipality.

I call upon NWSC to speed up the work of replacing the pipes and secure the area where these water pipes were stolen such that nobody tempers with them; otherwise, living without clean water is very dangerous and could lead to an outbreak of diseases.

Roger Bwambale
Kasese

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© 2016 Observer Media Ltd