In 2013, the world’s youngest nation South Sudan experienced a civil war, which affected millions of people, leading them into deaths, displacements, destruction of properties and disruption of businesses.
This did not only affect the South Sudanese but also the neighbouring countries such as Uganda, where even our people who had businesses in Sudan died while others lost properties.
It is partly because of this that President Yoweri Museveni spearheaded the process of having a peace agreement in place by mediating negotiations between President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the two warring figures of that country. As we talk now, the mediations of President Museveni have been fruitful.
Mid this year, Kiir and Machar visited State House Entebbe to see how they could end their misunderstandings. Still in August this year, Museveni and other African leaders witnessed the signing of the S. Sudan peace agreement from Khartoum, which reinstated Machar as the First Vice President of South Sudan.
Last week, S. Sudan held a peace day celebrations that marked the end of war and violence, which Museveni attended. Congratulations, S. Sudanese upon reaching the final peace agreement and kudos to Museveni for your continuous contribution towards building peace in the region.
Save Rock High School before it is too late
It is sad that Rock High School is slowly withering away. There was a time when Rock High School was the envy of eastern Uganda.
Then, the school could pay its bills and a motivated staff reciprocated by doing their work with diligence. Those were the days. Today, the once proud teachers are weather-beaten, demoralized and lethargic. Tales abound of how many of them have been reduced to paupers.
All this because the allowances they used to get are now a distant memory, with some arrears dating as far back as three years! Word on the street is that suppliers are not paid and that NSSF or even PAYE deductions are not remitted. All this is coming against a backdrop of a sharply declining student enrolment.
But where did we all go wrong?
It is impossible to deny that Rock High School has become a veritable theatre of absurdity, where highhandedness, arrogance and a befuddling penchant for outright theft reign supreme.
Sadly, the school is saddled with a board of governors that is not too inspiring. Hopefully the ministry of Education and Sports will put its act together and effect the desired change.
Stop cyber harassment on social media
There is an increasing trend, where individuals are being lampooned on social media. This mockery sometimes takes the form of modifying someone’s appearance, such as adding a crown of flowers or makeup and a wig to someone’s face, using apps that can be found in Google Playstore.
It is worse, when the person (whose image is being modified in this way) is a man as this makes him appear effeminate and subject to ridicule. I also would like to request cartoonists to show sensitivity to their subjects, and not to create images that will cause embarrassment in their drawings.
Intolerance of other people’s views, for example hurling insults, using foul language and profanities, has also become commonplace.
Some people are deliberately rude on social media because they either want to get attention or to offend. Yet, one can agree to disagree, in a civil manner, and be polite when one is presenting his or her arguments.
It is true that we have freedom of speech in Uganda, and that this is a democratic country. However, when one is abusive online, one begins engaging in cyber harassment and offensive communication, crimes which fall under. the Computer Misuse Act, 2011.
Cyber harassment is defined as “the use of a computer for any of the following purposes—making any request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent; threatening to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of any person; or knowingly permits any electronic communications device to be used for any of the purposes mentioned in this section.”
A person who commits cyber harassment is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding seventy-two currency points or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.
Cyber harassment, on social media, should stop.
There is great need for action to solve youth unemployment
Everywhere you go in Uganda, the poor quality of university and college graduates reflects a weak early educational foundation they received.
When we evaluate the gaps in universal education, we examine a constellation of factors from policy, financing, structure, content, the quality of those who manage and deliver it, to the conditions under which the education is delivered.
Numerous reports indicate that graduates and teachers of UPE and USE hardly have basic literacy skills in language, logic, critical thinking, history and arithmetic. The disparity is glaring between urban and rural settings. Thus, the high rates of dropout in rural areas and among female learners.
In Uganda, the college path is deemed for failures, yet colleges provide the necessary hands-on skills needed for entrepreneurship and employment.
Universities may have been traditional spaces for knowledge and ideology production, but the colonial colleges were places for skills acquisition.
Most countries where youth unemployment is kept low have invested in high-quality education and early childhood development. These countries adhere to education as a pathway to reproducing high-quality labour in all areas of its economy.
Previous Uganda census data confirm that over half of Uganda’s population comprises youth, under the age of 30. Labour statistics estimate that 86 per cent are unemployed, under-employed and or at the level of getting to employable.
There is a big incongruity between the National Youth Policy and National Development Agenda since both are politically inclined rather than labour-focused.
We see money for politicizing these and not for honing youth skills or financing transition programs from school-to-workplace through internships, mentorship and other forms. The large pool of unemployed graduates may reveal that the economy is actually shrinking rather than expanding.
Therefore, Uganda needs to do the following:
1) Invest in soft skills and digital jobs as pathways for harnessing youth energy productively.
2) Introduce responsible taxation policies to stimulate and encourage innovation.
3) Put in place apprenticeships and work-based learning programs for youths to socialize early to work place settings. The graduate training program at Uganda Revenue Authority and the partnership between the ministry of Gender and the UN Volunteers could provide models for policymakers.
4) Young people must be involved in research as a tradition of systematic inquiry and high level of creative writing for publishing.