Army’s progress has exorcised ghosts of Uganda’s past
By David Lumu
When asked what she regards as the biggest achievement of Uganda since it gained independence 56 years ago, Agatha Atuhaire, a single mother of two, says: “Considering our history, peace and stability are the biggest positives for me.”
To many Ugandans, the professionalisation of the army, which has taken shape largely during President Yoweri Museveni’s era, is perhaps one of the major changes that have taken shape in the last 56 years.
Today, the army has not only secured the country, it has also embarked on peace-keeping within the region and the African continent.
In his book, Black Hawks Rising: The Story of AMISOM’s Successful War Against Somali Insurgents, 20017-2014, Dr Opio Oloya says the herculean efforts of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), including their professionalism, ideological commitment and dedication to peace-keeping and building, has turned the once written off war-torn Somalia into a beacon of hope despite the existing challenges.
Speaking about the progress that the army has made over time, Museveni, in his address to Parliament in June, said for the first time in 500 years, Uganda is now peaceful.
“This is the first time in 500 years that this area you call Uganda has had peace from corner to corner. We never had peace in the times of kings, we never had peace in the time of colonialists, not after independence, even after (National Resistance Movement) NRM, we did not have peace in the whole country. It was only in 2007 when we defeated ADF, Kony and disarmed the cattle rustlers in Karamoja that we had peace for the first time,” he said.
According to Museveni, the peace, stability and security have provided a firm base for economic transformation and rehabilitation of the country.
The progress that the army has made has turned around the ghosts that historians had cast on the country, when they specifically castigated the past armies for the unfulfilled hopes that shaped the first two decades of independent Uganda. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Political manoeuvres on the road to Independence
Uganda’s Independence can be traced to the founding of Uganda’s fi rst political party, the Uganda National Congress (UNC) on March 2, 1952.
UNC was founded by six men: I.K. Musaazi, Abubakar Kakyama Mayanja (Buganda) Stefano Abwangoto (Bugisu), Ben Okwerede (Teso), Yekosofati Engur (Lango and S.B. Katembo (Toro).
Musaazi was the founding president general and Mayanja was the founding secretary general. The other four automatically became chairmen of their respective regions and the gospel of nationalism spread like wildfire.
Following the political disturbances of 1949 which were codenamed “Number 9” when the African farmers demanded full participation in the ginning of their cotton and marketing it without a middleman, Musaazi formed a farmer’s association called “The Federation of Partnership of Uganda African farmers”.
He invited people from other regions to join this federation. Some of the people he invited were Abwangoto, Okwerede, Engur and Katembo. Musaazi had been in London in previous years studying theology and his intention was to become a reverend in the Anglican Church.
While in London, Musaazi met other great men: Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, George Padmore of Jamaica and Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi.
These great men of Africa organised the first pan African conference which was known as the Manchester Conference of 1945 and they passed strong resolutions that Africa must be liberated.
While in London, Musaazi was also in contact with the Rev. Hewitt, who was nicknamed “The Red Dean of Canterbury” because of his socialist ideas. Hewitt visited Russia during the time of Joseph Stalin after the 1917 Russian Revolution and it is said that he embraced socialism and the principles of “a welfare state”.
He wrote a book: The Socialist Sixth in which he advocated the application of socialism. The Church of England banned him from travelling to British colonies for fear that he would influence them.
The Anglican Church in Uganda, which was under the control of the Church Missionary Society and the Native Anglican Church, refused to ordain Musaazi. The reason they gave was because of contacts he had made in London with different people, including African freedom fighters and that he could not carry out Church work with an independent mind.
Jomo Kenyatta returned to Kenya in 1948 together with another freedom fi ghter Omutaka Semakula Mulumba of the Bataka Bu Movement and he embarked on organising the Mau Mau war, which liberated Kenya.
Musaazi also came back almost at the same time. With the breakout of the Mau Mau in Kenya in early 1952, Musaazi quickly decided to turn the Federation of Partnership of Uganda African Farmers into a political party thus he and Mayanja and the four others formed UNC with a nationwide rallying call for independence. CLICK HERE for more ont his story
Uganda to produce its first oil barrel in 2023
By John Odyek
At least $10b (about sh38 trillion) has been invested in the exploration and production of Uganda’s oil over the last 10 years.
Over the next three years, $20b (about sh76 trillion) is expected to flow into the country. When commercial quantities of oil were discovered in Uganda in 2006, the Government set several targets for producing the first oil barrel.
The target has over the years been revised because of the complexity of the oil industry and the huge capital and technology needed for production to be achieved. Uganda has 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil and it is estimated that between 1.4 and 1.7 billion barrels can be extracted using the available technology.
Oil sits on sponge-like material, whose extraction is akin to squeezing water out of a wet sponge.
The oil and gas industry is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs if all the opportunities in the sector are to be harnessed. The Government, with the international oil companies — China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) Uganda, Total E&P and Tullow Uganda have made tremendous progress towards developing the industry.
Preparatory activities Ernest Rubondo, the executive director of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda, says Ugandans should not only set their eyes on the first oil barrel, but focus on gaining from the production preparatory activities. Rubondo says many businesses are already benefiting from Uganda’s oil and gas industry.
These include hotels, restaurants, transport companies, fuel dealers, food suppliers, geo-scientists, security firms, health providers and beverage manufacturers. Rubondo says many youth have acquired certified training in welding and are already working in oilproducing countries, especially the Middle East.
The Uganda Petroleum Institute in Kigumba has been set up to skill youth to work in the industry. Progress towards the production phase will involve the construction of the refinery; the building of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline from Hoima to Tanga in Tanzania, construction of associated infrastructure or facilities to support production, processing as well as transportation. The land acquisition for this project commenced with the development of a Resettlement Action Plan. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Bizarre laws: Why are they still in our statute books?
As Uganda celebrates 56 years of independence, we take a look at some of the laws that are still in our statute books but are considered obsolete and no longer applicable today. To underscore the irrelevancy of these laws in Uganda, most of the practising lawyers New Vision contacted, said they have not read them although they are aware of their existence.
Shop hours Act, 1963
Section 2 (1) of this Act states that on a weekday, a shop is supposed to open at 7:30am and close at 8:00pm, while on Sunday, shops should open at 9:00am and close at 1:00pm.
When a person keeps the shop open contrary to section 2, they commit an offence and are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding sh1,000. The Act grants an exception when the shop remains open to serve the customers who were already there before the closing hour struck or when one is serving goods required for the sick or injured persons.
Exception was also granted on bazaars, sale of goods for charity, sale of burial materials, restaurant and hairdressing business, motor vehicles, bicycle and aircraft repairs, sale of fuel or lubricants, sale of liquor and ice. However, despite the existence of this law, most shops open in the wee hours of the morning and close late in the night.
Rent Restriction Act, 1949
The Act was enacted to regulate rent charges of dwelling houses and business premises. Under it, in case a house was rented out prior to January 1, 1942, the rate at which it was let out becomes the standard rent amount.
However, if by that date the premises were not occupied or rented out, a competent board, tasked with controlling or regulating rent, would have to sit and determine the standard rent for the premises and other similar houses or buildings.
In determining the standard rent, the board takes into consideration the capital value of the site, as assessed by the commissioner of lands and surveys. The gross rent was not to exceed 10% of the capital cost of the building, plus 5% of the capital value of the site.
“No owner or lessee of a dwelling house or premises shall let or sublet that dwelling house or premises at a rent which exceeds the standard rent,” states section 2 (1) of the Act. Any person who goes against the standard rent and increases it, is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding sh10,000 or six months imprisonment or both. The conviction also applies to a person who asks for a six-month rental pay in advance. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Kyotera: The Independence Day town
By Davis Buyondo
When you talk of Kyotera, the mind immediately runs to Rakai, its mother district. It is one of the nine districts that form the southern region namely: Rakai, Masaka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Bukomansimbi, Sembabule, Kalangala and Kalungu.
It is among the 23 new districts which Parliament, in September 2015, approved in order to extend effective administration and services closer to the people. Kyotera became operational on July 1, 2017.
But one year later, the district is set to host the 56th independence anniversary celebrations at Lukoma playground, Kasasa sub-county, in Kakuuto county. This will be the fourth big national event after Tanzania President John Pombe Magufuli’s visit for the offi cial opening of the customs offi ces at Mutukula border post and to the East African Oil Pipeline Project in November last year.
Other major events were the offi cial opening of Kasolo Foundation by President Yoweri Museveni in July and the World Rabies Day on September 28. However, like its mother district Rakai, people easily identify Kyotera with HIV/AIDS, cannibalism, smuggling, prostitution, gruesome murders and related evils.
But on the other hand, there are excellent things that make the district unique and a great destination. Kyotera has been going through a process of rejuvenation in the recent years, even before it attained district status.
Why is Kyotera important
One may wonder why the district was chosen for all these events. There are various factors ranging from political and socio-economic to its historical background. Kyotera has a strong political history dating back to the 1970s. It is home to Mutukula, a Uganda- Tanzania border post, which inspires cross-border trade. Mutukula is known to be a place where the Uganda-Tanzania war started in 1979, lasting for over fi vemonths.
A story is told of a Ugandan soldier who crossed into Tanzania for a drink and picked up a quarrel with Tanzanians in a local bar.
It is said he returned to Uganda and picked his gun. He went back and started shooting, although he never injured anyone but returned to his base in Uganda.
However, information reached Lt Col Juma Oka of the Malire Mechanised Specialised Reconnaissance Regime at Lubiri, who ordered one Lt Byansi to immediately attack the Tanzanians for their actions. Aided by Ugandan exiles and the Front for National Salvation led by Yoweri Museveni, the then Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere fought back and defeated Amin’s troops.
The district is also known as an NRM stronghold. The NRM has been vibrant at all levels from LCI, III, district and parliamentary offi ces. Prominent party politicians include Maria Mutagamba (RIP), who was a minister of water and environment and later tourism. The other was Vincent Ssemakula Ssetuba (RIP), the former Rakai LC5 chairperson and NRM chairperson. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Minerals: Uganda’s untapped potential for development
Many countries rich with mineral resources exploit and squander that wealth, turning it into a curse instead of a blessing. Such countries tend to be poor and breaking that pattern of the misuse of mineral wealth is complex.
Uganda possesses a wealth of metallic and non-metallic minerals due to its diversified geology, which provides an opportunity to develop a strong mining industry.
The Government has made efforts to ensure that Uganda’s mineral resources are a blessing and lead to the development of Uganda. The Government has recently carried out a review of the Mineral Policy 2001 where over 15 years, the mineral sector has experienced many challenges and new developments.
The review was completed in May and the new policy is now in place. The principles for the amendment of the Mining Act 2003 have been prepared for submission to Cabinet.
Irene Muloni, the energy minister, said the new policy and law would strengthen licensing, inspection, monitoring of exploration and mining activities. The Government is undertaking the process of streamlining and building the capacity of Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners (ASM).
The number of registered ASM associations has increased. Procurement for a consultant to develop an ASM biometric registration and database is under evaluation.
The Government is maintaining and updating the mining information through the Mining Cadastre and Registry system.
A mineral exploration unit has been set up in the directorate of geological survey and mines to acquire data to attract investors. The online mineral licensing (e-government service) that will reduce licensing timeframes and increase transparency in the licensing administration was launched in August.
A total of 650 licences namely: prospecting licence 120, exploration licence 346, mining lease 39, retention licence four and mineral dealers 67 were operational as of June 30, 2018. The number of licences decreased from 692 for the financial year 2016/17 to 650 for the financial year 2017/18.
This was due to the removal of speculators by the strict mining licence application procedures with a clean-up of the non-performing mineral rights. For close to 20 years, the mineral sector had been invaded by fake investors and smugglers until the recent entry of new investors.
Some of these investors have taken advantage of the weak laws, systems and low technology for scanning goods at border exits and Entebbe airport to smuggle precious minerals out of Uganda mainly gold. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Reflections on Kampala’s urbanisation
When Parliament in May 2015, debated the proposed transfer of Uganda’s capital city to Nakasongala, the palpable mood then suggested that Kampala’s overcrowding and disorganisation were innate characteristics of its population.
A perception daily ingrained into the followers of the sensational, “man bite dog” type of Bukedde TV’s Agataliiko Nfuufu news.
Hence reminding one of the medical dictum, which states that a wrong diagnosis leads to a wrong prescription and in turn a wrong prognosis of a disease or situation. Uganda’s 2014 Population Census indicated that the Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono conurbation is populated by approximately four million people.
Indeed, it will be a megacity population-wise, by 2030. A megacity has at least 10 million people. Let us note that in the years 2002-2014, Wakiso’s population more than doubled from approximately 800,000 people to its current nearly 2.5 million inhabitants.
The majority of these being restive migrant youth, seeking opportunities in the city and residing in slums.
Accelerated urbanisation, articulates itself socially, politically and economically. And as leaders, it is best we appreciate that if it continues unplanned as it is now, prompting slumifi cation, it is bound to rudely manifest itself in devastating ways.
The disorganisation of Kampala and its environs has historical roots. Prior to the 1966 crisis, Kampala was an envy of the region, as one of Africa’s best planned cities. Indeed, it was a favoured tourist destination due to its orderliness, friendly people and crime-free environment.
Planning first Kampala In 1946, the Uganda Protectorate contracted a German urban planner, Ernst May, to create Kampala’s physical plan.
It was composed of a mere 21sq km, covering mainly its current central division. Consequently, May planned Kampala to be a leafy garden city full of green spaces. Unfortunately, Kampala then was a segregated community.
There were zones for Whites living in Nakasero and Kololo hills; Asians occupying the central business district and Old Kampala areas and the Africans relegated to Wandegeya, Makerere Kivulu and Katwe. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Heart institute performing major surgeries
By John Omagino
One in every four adults in Uganda suffers from high blood pressure. This is thought to be a result of the changing lifestyles experienced globally.
High blood pressure is the commonest heart disease in Uganda. Others include congenital heart disease, coronary artery disease and rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which usually begins with an infection of the throat (sore throat). Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) handles about 2,000 patients annually.
Closed heart surgery has been performed since its inception. The institute started carrying out open heart surgeries in 2007 at a standard rate of $5,000 (about sh19m) which is far less than the $20,000 (about sh75m) that patients spend on such operations abroad. To date, the institute has performed over 1,000 operations.
One percent of the 1.6 million babies born every year in Uganda have congenital heart diseases. Half of these babies (about 8,000) need some form of intervention or procedure.
Therefore, 8,000 children require heart surgery annually, but the Uganda Heart Institute can only operate on 150 patients every year with its current funding. Most congenital heart defects whose cause is unknown, result from early problems in a child’s heart development.
However, certain environmental and genetic risk factors may play a role. They include infections, such as rubella (German measles), syphilis, taking alcohol and smoking during pregnancy and certain medications.
In order to improve access to heart care, UHI is now developing capacity to operationalise regional centres in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and regional referral hospitals. CLICK HERE for more on this story
UPDF changed outlook of army
All sectors in Uganda are subject to scrutiny, but none invokes as much debate as security. Since 1962, the year in which the British flag, the Union Jack, was lowered and replaced by the Ugandan flag, the debate has raged on.
The ensuing period from 1962-1966 saw the crisis that pitted the conservative forces at Mengo against nationalist fire brands, culminating into a fight that had far-reaching consequences for the security sector and, as a country, we are still reeling from that whirl wind.
Fortunately, a group of young, but studious young men led by President Yoweri Museveni would later pick up the pieces and with their new energies, redeem our country from those insecurities. Would one have sympathy for those who inherited the oppressive, colonial machinery, the Uganda Army, built to subdue anti-colonial descent from citizens?
Yes and No: No, because unlike in Tanzania where Mwalimu Julius Nyerere disbanded that colonial outfit and in its place built the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces, Uganda’s Milton Obote maintained that outfit and he would later suffer two coup d’etats in 1971 and 1985. CLICK HERE for more on this story
How Mutesa frustrated Kiwanuka from being Prime Minister at independence
Benedicto Kiwanuka was elected president general of the Democratic Party (DP) on August 2, 1958, at a Delegates Conference held in Tororo.
Soon after taking office, he issued a policy statement which alarmed Kabaka Edward Mutesa and the Mengo Establishment. In the policy statement, Ben (as he was commonly known), stated that the aim of DP was to achieve Uganda’s independence as one nation and that Buganda would get separate independence.
He said DP believed in elective principles in democracy for Uganda and, therefore, supported direct elections to the Legislative Council of the Uganda Protectorate. This policy statement was diametrically opposed to what Mutesa and Mengo stood for.
Mengo pushed for a separate independent state for Buganda away from Uganda, they wanted all elective positions to be by appointment including membership of the Legislative Council and were opposed to political parties. Kiwanuka’s stand, therefore, rubbed Mutesa and Mengo the wrong way.
Kiwanuka’s stand on the traditional rulers in an independent Uganda also did not sit well with Mutesa and the Mengo Establishment. Kiwanuka had, however, asserted that DP would guarantee the continuation of their status after independence.
His policy statement on this issue was that, the traditional leaders were “guardians of culture and would retain their powers in their areas.” Mutesa and the Mengo Establishment were alarmed by this statement. To them, it meant that Kiwanuka, and DP as a whole, were excluding the Kabaka from the leadership of Uganda, condemning him to his “area” with somebody above him as a head of the state.
Mutesa and the Mengo Establishment faced the dilemma of how to stop Kiwanuka and DP’s ascendance to the executive leadership of the country in an elective system, where they did not command a majority.
To the Mengo establishment, the answer was to scrap the elective principle itself at any cost. This attempt put DP on a collision course with Mengo. DP could not compromise over a key principle of democracy. CLICK HERE for more on this story
A glimpse at Uganda in 2028
By Joachim Buwembo
Ten years can be sow short and yet so long a time in the life of a country. So short that most adult Ugandans alive today will still be alive in October 2028, not much richer, a bit older and certainly wiser. So long that this year’s PLE candidates will have finished university in October 2028, joining the millions hunting for jobs. To try and fathom where Uganda will be in October 2028 when our population will be in the region of 60 million, it helps to look where the country and the world were in October 2008.
Ten years ago
Since Ugandans like politics, let us deal with it first. One Barrack Obama had not yet become president of the United States 10 years ago. He was elected later in November, re-elected in 2012, finished his two terms and has been in retirement for about two years, all that happening in less than ten years.
In our East African Community, in October 2008 neither Uhuru Kenyatta, who is already serving his last term, nor John Pombe Magufuli, who has shaken up the sleepy giant in the south, had become president. Up north, South Sudan had not yet become independent.
Here at home, some of the most powerful men were Gen. David Sejusa in security and Amama Mbabazi in Cabinet. Remember Mahogany? He was still Vice-President. Today’s average journalist cannot pick Prof Gilbert Bukenya out of a crowd of elderly Ugandans. A quarter do not even remember Sejusa.
None cares what TDA (The Democratic Alliance) was. In October 2008, walk-towork protests had not yet been conceived. Neither were the so-called Kayunga riots nor the fire that gutted the Kasubi Royal Tombs occurred. The Buddo fire had just killed our youngsters but more schools were yet to burn,take place, all now forgotten.
Gen Aronda Nyakairima was still working in the army and Ugandans did not have national identity cards. Gen Kazini had just been punctured with charges of creating ghosts, but was still alive.
Although presidential term limits had been removed from the Constitution three years earlier, nobody was talking about removing the presidential age limit, which also came before 2018.
On the economic and social fronts, the US Dollar exchanged for sh1,600 in 2008, less than half of today’s sh3,800. Mobile money was virtually unknown here as it had just started in Kenya and only a few traders used it at a couple of Safaricom outlets in Kampala. CLICK HERE for more on this story
KCCA shifts focus to roads to realise vision
By Jacob Byamukama
The state of Kampala’s infrastructure is critical if Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is to realise its vision of becoming a “vibrant, attractive and sustainable city.” From December 2011 to date, a number of interventions have been carried out, which have resulted into significant improvement in the condition of the infrastructure in different parts of the city.
The interventions have mainly been in form of repairs, routine and periodic maintenance, rehabilitation, reconstruction and upgrading of roads to bitumen (paved) standard.
Before, March 2015, the Kampala city road network was not welldocumented and was in many cases misrepresented. This was largely due to the absence of an accurate record of road network composition and condition, hence the reported network condition was based on rough estimates.
The majority of roads left out of the road inventory were assumed to be community roads whose maintenance and responsibility was not well allocated. The network was composed of approximately 1,232km of which 465km (40%) were to be paved.
Having realised this bottleneck, KCCA commissioned a study to undertake a roads inventory and conditions assessment, which would establish an accurate database of all roads and their condition.
The study results indicate that the total road infrastructure network within the administrative boundaries, in the city today, comprises 2,110km of roads, of which 595km are paved (28%) and 1,535km (73%) are unpaved.
This project, in addition produced a new and accurate aerial image of city infrastructure including all city roads, drainage, buildings, railways, among others. Since 2011, KCCA has reconstructed, upgraded to bitumen standard and maintained a number of roads using funding from the Government with a total length of 257km rehabilitated or upgraded to bitumen standard. Fifty four roads with a total length of 65.22km have been graded and gravelled and drainages along them constructed. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Agriculture affected by years of turmoil
By Joshua Kato
The first drop hit his bald head quite hard that he grimaced. Then, he lifted his head up only to be hit by more drops of rain. It was time to run and seek shelter in his house of around 50 years. For Mzee Salongo Joab Kitandwe, August rains meant another planting season. Kitandwe has been a farmer since the 1960s.
“In 1962, I was old enough to understand what was going on,” he says. Although he is now based in Kalungu, he was living with his father in Lwengo, Masaka, back then. “We planted everything, ranging from coffee, bananas, maize etc,” he says.
Food and cash crops were in plenty and, generally, it was fulfilling to be a farmer. The agricultural sector employed 96% of indigenous Ugandans. Of these, over 90% were engaged in subsistence farming.
The value of agricultural production slowly declined from 60.9% in 1963 to around 58.7% in 1967. And for the last 56 years, the country’s agricultural sector has undergone a cross-section of reforms.
Among these is the use of co-operatives as the main system of agriculture marketing and mobilisation, the liberalisation of the sector in the late 1980s, the widely acclaimed Plan for the Modernisation of Agriculture in the late 90s and the current National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS), which has brought agriculture extension nearer to the people.
The country used to produce a variety of cash-crops. They included coffee, cotton, tea and sugar. “I remember there was a coffee boom in the 60s and this is the reason Masaka town developed to the level it is at today,” Steven Mukasa, a resident of Masaka, said.
At the time, marketing of major cash crops was done through co-operative societies. Among these were groups like Masaka Union, West-Mengo and Banyankore Kweterana, among others.
There was a significant increase in agricultural production during the five years after independence, largely because of better government incentives. Tractors were introduced among cotton producers, while sugar growers were given what came to be known as a ‘refining margin’.
According to analysts, the agricultural sector was performing well thanks to a well-knit base left behind by the colonialists. “There was a sub-county tractor scheme at every subcounty which farmers used for ploughing their farms,” Mukasa said. CLICK HERE for more on this story.
Review profession to get quality teachers
Before the creation of Kyambogo University in 2003, there were three independent institutions; the Institute for Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK), Uganda Polythenic Kyambogo (UPK) and Uganda National Institute of Special Education (UNISE).
ITEK offered a diploma in education, secondary; UPK was responsible for training mid-level technicians to work in the industry.
Its main area of focus was engineering and science. And there was UNISE, meant to aid people with learning difficulties and produce tools and equipment that include white canes for blind people to be able to walk and the braille for them to read.
These three institutions were all operating independently under the education ministry but were merged by the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act 2001 to create Kyambogo University in 2003.
Historical role When the Government created Kyambogo University, it did not take away its historical role of being in charge of the National Teachers Colleges (NTCs) and Primary Teachers Colleges (PTCs).
Kyambogo University is in charge of 58 PTCs and six NTCs, and we do this without extra staff. We are in charge of their curriculum, examinations, marking, release of results, and awards (graduating them).
The dilemma here is how can we be a university when we are still doing ITEK work? That is the biggest challenge. Kyambogo University has 360 staff members, yet the ideal number should be around 1,200.
With limited staff, we are still managing the university and all the teacher institutions in the country, from nursery teachers to primary and secondary school teachers. The end result of this is that you do not achieve anything perfectly.
You do half of this and half of that, hazardously There is need for enough staff to manage these teacher institutions and staff to continuously review their curriculum.
For example, the diploma in education of the secondary curriculum, has not been reviewed for a long time and we are taking the blame for that shortfall. To manage these institutions effectively there is need for sufficient space. There must be space where you meet these principals, especially for the case of the university. CLICK HERE for more on this story.
Storms that rocked Uganda’s first two parliaments
The edifice that is Uganda’s Parliament has been witness to 10 Parliaments since the sun set on the British Empire in Uganda 56 years ago.
And its walls have been silent witnesses to its serpentine and tumultuous history, whose impact not only shaped the country’s immediate post-independence political trajectory, but still reverberates today in different political undertones.
But Uganda’s fi rst (1962- 1967) and second (1967-1971) Parliaments were two of a kind. Composed of lawmakers, trailblazers of sorts, with no prior experience in legislation or leadership and tasked with legislating for a country that was more of a collection of tribes than a nation, Uganda’s fi rst Parliament had its work cut out.
From the DR Congo gold scandal allegations, the contentious issue of ‘Lost Counties’ and the 1966 crisis as the political marriage of convenience between Kabaka Yekka (KY) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) gave way; the battle of wits between key political actors of that time was played out on the fl oor of the fi rst and second Parliament.
The majority of the key actors in this era, like performers in a pantomime, walked off the political stage, with the exception of Dr Emmanuel Lumu. On the fi rst fl oor of Parliament’s south wing, giant portraits of some of these key actors like its Speakers – Sir John Bowes Griffi n and Narendra Patel; the then Prime Minister, Dr Milton Obote; Sir Edward Mutesa II, Uganda’s first President; Idi Amin and Paulo Muwanga, a colossus of sorts in UPC, wearing inscrutable looks, hang. The First Session of the fi rst Parliament of Uganda was held on Wednesday October 10, 1962, a day after independence. CLICK HERE for more on this story
Role of committees in Parliament
Since the country attained independence in October 1962, numerous pieces of legislation have been passed. However, given Parliament’s size, there is often limited time to debate complex issues in detail, in the parliamentary chambers.
This is why Members of Parliament under Article 90 of the Constitution, have the mandate to appoint committees to ensure the efficient discharge of its functions and to prescribe the powers, composition and functions of the committees through the rules of procedure.
Today, according to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, committees have become “the eyes and ears” of Parliament since they are given the mandate to scrutinise, investigate issues and Bills (proposed laws) in detail, so that Parliament can be well-informed before making decisions of national signifi cance.
This is done through interaction with the people who are affected or interested in the proposed legislation. Oulanyah says they are the ones with pre-legislative scrutiny questions about what is being proposed before Parliament makes a final decision on a matter.
“Parliament does not scrutinise these issues in detail. It is the committees that are assigned different responsibilities that critically look at issues that are brought to Parliament by either the Government or the public,” Oulanyah says.
How they are formed
Although Uganda’s legislature dates back in the early 1920s under the Legislative Council (LEGCO) whose membership was purely European and later expanded after independence, Parliament’s sectoral committee system is a fairly recent innovation.
In 1989 during the National Resistance Council, the proposal to form sectoral committees was presented to the floor of Parliament by Ruhama MP Elly Rwakakoko. According to Rwakakoko, the main idea of the committees was to evaluate the performance of sectors, particularly the performance of budgets and policies.
“When I joined Parliament, I realised that people were not active despite the smaller number then. I proposed to the chairman of the National Resistance Council, Haji Moses Kigongo, that we should set up small committees just like in the UK’s House of Commons, to evaluate the performance of different sectors,” Rwakakoko recalls.
He says he got the idea when he visited the House of Commons while he was a student in the UK. The proposal, however, was resisted by some ministers, who did not want their sectors scrutinised, but later the proposal sailed through.
“When the Speaker accepted my proposal, I visited the British High Commission and American Embassy libraries to research about how the committees work. I wrote guidelines for the committees on how they would perform,” Rwakakoko says.
There were three standing committees at the time, namely, public accounts, national economy and commissions, state authorities and state enterprises. Rwakakoko became the chairperson of the national economy committee. CLICK HERE for more on this story
The future of logistics lies in technology
From a global stand point, the future of logistics is dynamic, versatile and rather modern. Anyone hoping to be an industry leader will have to discard ancient practices and embrace the more modern and latter-day methods if they are to survive.
While attending the recently concluded Global Logistics Conference (GLC2018) hosted by the Uganda Freight Forwarders Association (UFFA), it was quite apparent that ICT is set to play an advanced and integral role in the logistics industry.
Whether or not we embrace it is up to us, but the world has certainly smelt the coffee and opted to fully integrate ICT-related options in their trade. The sole purpose of technology is efficiency and cost effectiveness.
When it comes to logistics where capacity is short, labour is scarce and customer demands never ending, there is only one logical path to follow — the path of smart technology.
Smart technology in form of apps and GPS technology is already eliminating barriers between factories and customers. With sophisticated tracking, cargo and shipments are monitored easily, schedules managed efficiently, routes planned easily and time wasting eliminated.
Innovations like Transfix, LaneHoney, DashHaul and Cargomatic are easing work for shippers by helping them locate the most ideal options through a broker. As a result, there is faster and more efficient circulation of goods.
The de-assetisation of logistics companies and the rise of logistics platforms have permitted a robust sharing economy and proper consolidation of services. It is now possible for a logistics company to operate remotely with no truck or warehouse.
In Uganda where the logistics systems are fragmented, this is a very worthwhile innovation. The emphasis is now on using Big Data to inform business decisions, identify bottlenecks, source for opportunities and uncover solutions to problems.
The birth of Blockchain technology has equally created an opportunity for transparency and efficiency and according to IBM, Blockchain could save the logistics industry an annual global figure of $38b.
Perhaps the technology is not as advanced as the customers might have hoped, but it continues to answer very crucial logistics questions. CLICK HERE for more on this story