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A Dutch student’s letter to President Museveni

Dear Mr Museveni, I visited Uganda a few weeks ago as a journalism student from the Netherlands. I was part of a programme which supports young journalists to discover and know more about Africa.

Because of the beautiful woods and animals I always saw on television, I thought Africans were the most environmentally-conscious people. I was wrong.

In reality, the ‘Pearl of Africa’ is a big mess. Most typical was the royal Kasubi tombs in Kampala. When I needed a dustbin there, I couldn’t find one. The authorities here should borrow a leaf from other cities with better systems of waste management.

Talking about law-enforcers and security, honestly, your policemen are corrupt. They tried to wring money from two of my female colleagues who were travelling on the same boda boda at night.

The policemen threatened to send the ladies to jail if they would not give them money. By the way, the streets were flooded with boda bodas carrying two or more persons. Was that racism?

Could it be that you don’t pay them enough, or perhaps they are not oriented? Another young lady in my group was robbed of her bag and abandoned in the dark night by a boda boda rider!

The Ugandan students, who accompanied and guided us on our trips, have no money at all. They live in slums, “because that’s the cheapest way of living”.

Something needs to be done about the youngsters who sell random stuff day by day, in order to raise upkeep money, when actually they should be in school.

Others with nothing to vend at least have some drugs such as mafuta to consume. Your city streets, Sir, are decorated with street children who often begged us for money. How about the disabled, sickly men and women crawling on rough pavements? Are there no hospitals to help?

I understand some journalists are being arrested and censored for writing negative thoughts about you or your government. Removing critics is not the way to fix the problems your country is facing. Instead, you are just making it worse.

Vincent Lengkeek,
Freelance journalist.

Let Kagingo do her job

It seems social media updates from State House were suspended when Sarah Kagingo was sidelined. Unfortunately,Kagingo’s bosses behaved like a merchant updating his inventory by first burning down his store.

The ‘store’ here was Kagingo, because she introduced them to social media, and I am afraid a new face may not cut it for some people. But I blame Kagingo for trusting people she doesn’t know very well with the passwords to access the president’s accounts.

That said, I don’t know why everybody is making a big deal out of this hacking business. Everybody’s account (banking online, Facebook, Twitter, etc) can be hacked into, and everybody is capable of impersonating anyone on social media.

It is, therefore, wastage of taxpayers’ money for police to investigate an alleged hacker. Facebook rarely helps authorities in trivial matters such as this one.

Still, this incident has two lessons for us: the president and individuals in the executive branch should keep private communications to themselves. If the communication is not critical to national security, or government business, Ugandans have no reason knowing about it.

Also, ‘Free’ space in the digital cloud or anywhere on internet is not to be trusted. If you don’t pay for it, you don’t control it and, even if you pay for it, chances are that you have limited control. State House should, therefore, let Kagingo back to her job.

Abbey Kibirige,
abbeysemuwemba@gmail.com.

Why the youth will not come in soon

A few days ago, ex-Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi was reported to have called upon youths to demand to be leaders of today, and not tomorrow.

There have been similar calls before, but this recent one provoked me to imagine the feasibility of that wish at present. In Uganda today, leadership ceased to be a calling but a destination for target workers.

This has made people run to banks to finance their desperate agenda to get into leadership. Now the poor youths – as some refer to themselves – where will they get the electoral campaign finances?

Those who care about youths’ substantive involvement should equally call on the masses to shun money-propelled politics and politicians. Then I will be excited to see a youthful cabinet in the near future and, I hope Hon Mbabazi will take the lead.

Julius Zaake Wasswa,

jwasswa@uos.de.

Schools should let all candidates sit for exams

The media recently reported that a senior four student was allegedly thrown out of an examination room over failure to clear school fees. Having once nearly faced a similar incident, I would like the administration of the school in question to be compelled to take responsibility of the affected student’s education up to senior six or refund what she has been paying since senior one.

Letting this young girl re-sit for free is not enough. I doubt the trauma she has suffered will heal, as her classmates will be proudly studying ahead of her.

The Uganda National Examinations Board has clear regulations, but some schools, mainly private, have a tendency of not adhering to these rules. They should be stopped.

Muzamil Alamiga,
Arua.

letters@observer.ug

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