The youth, under the umbrella Uganda Unemployed Forum (UUF), stormed Parliament last week, demanding to see the Speaker.
Lack of jobs was their bitter message. World Bank statistics (2012) show that Uganda has the youngest population in the world, after Niger. Speaking in Lira last year, Police chief Kale Kayihura said youth unemployment was a time bomb. His message, meant to create debate and unlock ideas to address this plight, seems to have been taken lightly or ignored by authorities.
But wherever there is unemployment and poverty, insecurity, crime, drug abuse and lawlessness are always close by. Youth unemployment currently stands at 83%. Statistics from the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development indicate that around 400,000 youth are annually released into the job market to compete for the mere 9,000 jobs available.
Ironically, however, there are a lot of uncoordinated government job creation initiatives, almost all steeped in controversy and secrecy. The offices of the President, Prime Minister, as well as government departments and authorities, including Uganda Investment Authority and National Planning Authority, among others, are all running uncoordinated parallel projects.
Sadly, for the majority of the youth, most of these prosperity-for-all programmes and youth entrepreneurship venture fund initiatives and Youth and Employment Productivity Enhancement Funds in the Office of the President are not easily accessible. The frustrated and unemployed youth are a time bomb indeed, and if ignored, might explode at a terrible cost to our country.
George W. Ntambaazi,
Osnabrueck – Germany.
Eating the police’s food was sheer hooliganism
Much as it is a constitutional right, under Article 29(d), for people to demonstrate, this right is not absolute. There are qualifications and a manner in which such demonstrations should be carried out. Recently, youth stormed City Hall, demanding an explanation about the Youth Fund.
While this was a reasonable cause, I would like to condemn the way the youth conducted themselves by eating the police personnel’s lunch. This was sheer hooliganism and a far cry from the noble cause of the demonstrations. This is where I agree with the police when they say that if hooliganism takes centre stage, the right to demonstrate may be waived.
Whoever plans demonstrations must ensure they are done within the expected parameters, or else we shall be handing the authorities a stick with which they will beat us.
Let’s rid city centre of boda-bodas
I lost a friend in a boda boda accident at the Monitor publication junction in Namuwongo the other week. I know that accidents are a natural part of life and can occur anywhere; however, many of the accidents that occur in Uganda are easily avoidable. In recent years, there has been an outcry from Mulago hospital’s emergency ward which is overwhelmed by boda boda accident victims, yet no profound action has been taken by KCCA and the government to check or reduce further accidents, other than profuse but meaningless pledges.
Also, boda bodas are a big pain to the ordinary motorist, who often has to suddenly brake to avoid hitting these reckless riders. Besides, there’s a high rate of robberies involving the use of boda bodas in the city. Boda bodas should actually be banned from the city centre. Their operations should be restricted to the outskirts of Kampala, and if at all they have to be in the city, only on very few and remotely located streets.
We certainly don’t need them in the Central Business District. KCCA, in collaboration with ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, ought to engage the boda-boda union leaders in a dialogue with a view to offering these deadly riders alternative employment while agreeing on modalities of gradual restriction. If we fail to address these issues, we will only be disregarding the lives of our citizens.
Enact bylaws to force UPE/USE programmes
Given two hypothetical countries where country A has free universal education and country B doesn’t have, you do not need an erudite mind to figure out what country B will be missing owing to the fact that education is key to combating poverty.
Hence, it has been strongly claimed by development experts that if African countries are to develop much faster, education will have to be the main vehicle towards that. Uganda Government responded to the above by introducing free Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997, and later, Universal Secondary Education (USE) in 2007. African governments have been encouraged to halve illiteracy by 2015, with UPE and USE, taken as the principal tools.
But challenges likely to make pupils abscond from school must be given absolute attention. For example, because of the absence of bridges in some areas, during heavy rains, pupils in lower primary school may not be able to cross the rivers to go to school. Other parents choose to keep their children at home because they are regarded as a source of cheap labour.
With the aid of relevant local bylaws and national laws, LC I executives should take it upon themselves to ensure that everybody of school-going age is in school. Those not sending their children to school should be made to pay heavy penalties.
Thank you CNOOC, Tullow, Total for supporting Empango
I would like to extend my gratitude to CNOOC, Tullow Oil and Total for their support towards Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom’s 18th Empango celebrations held on June 11. The three companies donated truckloads of soda and water for the event, held annually to remember the coronation of Omukama Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I.
It is widely known that giving gifts to Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom was, and still is, an important part of the Empango celebrations. From time immemorial, during the Empango celebrations, subjects of His Majesty gathered at the palace to celebrate the harvest season, known as Amagesa. During this period, they also brought gifts to show their love and respect for the Omukama.
I was humbled to learn that our oil companies recognise the importance of this event. Also worth noting is the fact that the staff of the companies joined the Mpagi Za-Bunyoro (EZABU), the youth group of Bunyoro Kingdom, to mobilise the people of Hoima in the annual clean-up and beautification exercise of the kingdom. The exercise was carried out at the palace, the hospital compound, and central police station.
On behalf of the people of Bunyoro, I would like to thank these partners. I encourage other companies that operate in the Bunyoro sub-region to emulate the oil companies and show support to the great Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom.