A Public University Professor’s View on Presidential Age-Limit

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni addresses the congregation after his conferment on December 12, 2010


I have been reading Joachim Buwembo’s How to be a UGANDAN and while reading how to be a professor, it got me thinking what is the status of a University Professor in the presidential Age Limit Debate.


Joachim Buwembo alludes a reknowned Ugandan writer Okot p’Bitek’s question at Makerere University Main Hall in 1981 during a public Lecture.

“What use is a professor who has nothing to profess?” Okot demanded angrily while delivering a public lecture in a filled-to-overflowing main hall. But the professors were not in the audience to answer his question. They were busy elsewhere in the city, looking for money in different non-intellectual pursuits in order to make our personal budgets balance.

A couple of years after Okot’s public lecture, another Ugandan colleague of ours who tried to profess was stripped of his citizenship. Prof. Mahmood Mamdani had tried to tried too early to exercise his intellectual freedom and the government was not amused. As smartly put by Buwembo, in the seventies, many of our colleagues had paid with their lives for expressing their opinions freely. Prof. Ali Mazrui (born Kenyan but intellectually matured at Makerere) fled Kampala before the dictators exacted the ultimate price from them.

The Author indicates that by mid-seventies, the intellectual desertification of Makerere University was almost complete. Arguing that those who remained in the country were bound to have their mouths shut lest they be eliminated.

He indicates that the relationship between Amin’s Authoritarian regime and Makerere University has soured and in order to mend it, the university awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws and from then they started addressing him as Dr. Amin, a title he loved so much that prompted him to pay a visit to his “fellow” doctors at the teaching hospital of Mulago.

Once the staff meeting got under way, he asked the Minister of Health, who was a layman, to step out so that only “Doctors” remained in the room to discuss their own matters freely. “Fellow Doctors,” he began his address.

By the middle of seventies, the author says they had come to believe that a dead professor was no dead. For those who remained in the country, they exhibited two rules to survive.

Rule number one was to shut your mouth; someone could be tempted to feed you with a bullet. However provocative or interesting way a discussion that came up in your presence, you had to keep quiet and avoid provoking the state’s self-styled surgeons who had become obsessed with separating people’s heads from their necks.

Rule number two was to stick to what is already written and published. As long as you were teaching, you had to avoid sounding original and only quote the over-quoted scholars of yesteryear. For fear of state secret agents who infested lecturer rooms to report in case of teaching subversive ideas!

Professors resorted to part-time teaching in Kampala High Schools, taxi businesses, shop-keeping, chicken rearing, etc. in order to survive the gun rule and its economic pangs.

The author argues that post-1986 Uganda, university professors were ushered in good times. Despite the spate of strikes over their wages as highlighted in Prof. Mamdani’s Scholars in a Market Place, thirty years later, Professors salaries have been enhanced and to the commitment of country’s sole candidate and the all visionary leader, a professor will be earning Shs.15million by 2020.

There is no wonder however that could be a sign of another good turn since Makerere has been clear at positioning itself to the president. And indeed, on December 12, 2010, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) of Makerere University for his exceptional and significant contributions nationally and internationally for the development of humanity.

The orator at the event Professor Elly N. Sabiiti categorically stated that Museveni was able to relate effectively with the University in addressing institutional aspirations and concerns. And that he supports and sustains scholarly activity at Makerere University with the capacity to help Makerere University reposition itself and continue to have influence nationally and internationally.“Therefore, we in Makerere University are delighted to recognize and honour him. This is a measure of how proud we are of H.E Yoweri Kaguta’s Museveni exceptional achievements and this bears testimony to the high regard in which he is held by all who know him,” Prof. Sabiiti said.

After the successful staff woes, the lecturers in public universities seem contented with the current political leadership. Indeed in 2013, a professor at Makerere was earning Shs 3.1m. By 2016, this increased to 8.04m – a 159% increase over three years. President Museveni insists that this should be enhanced up to Shs15million. A professor’s prayer currently would be that the Members of Parliament consider the bill carefully so that the old man keeps the taps dripping in their pockets open.




Making Sense of Makerere Guild Elections

Makerere Students went to polls on Friday April 7. By all accounts, Makerere is the best and perhaps largest university in Uganda and in the region. The election came after a two-week long campaign period and watching the process, more lessons are to be learnt.

Stick welding students clad in T-Shirts with labels GGB (Gongom Guard Brigade) this inscription means they are from Lumumba, one of the halls on the university. This is a security make up of the hall. every hall has this

Campus politics is of course somewhat different from the national elections and so to juxtapose the two maybe mistaking an elephant grass for sugarcane. Thought within universities, politics is played in different ways but the general characteristic of the polls especially in our higher institutions is extortion, academic mediocrity hence poor prospects of National leadership. While politics in such institutions should be basis for criticizing what is wrong in the country, it seems from the look of things, the reverse is true.

For purposes of clarity, I begin with the electoral process with the choosing of the electoral commission. Immediately campaigns commence, everyday, at least there is a rally in one of the halls of students’ residence on campus. After every procession, I go undercover trailing each of the candidates in a procession to make some observations and perhaps see what happens in these processions and where they go there after.

One of the student supporters wearing a mask at Makerere during the guild elections. PHOTO BY OKELLO HERBERT ANDREW

Majority of candidates have organized camps that base in their halls. Some have a reinforcement of former students and or hired mercenaries who will later mobilize crowds, make posters and pin them all over. Some take a surveillance role to see if the candidates’ posters are safe/ have not been torn by opponents.  Every day of a rally, one camp mobilized several students who converge in a hall that a particular candidate resides. Boxes with dozens of tot-pack waragi are distributed to the lucky few as motivation to charge for the rally.

Police begging students to remain calm at one of the rallies in Livingstone Hall

One of the most vivid campaign processions was of Mercy Faith Lakisa a UYD independent leaning Candidate. After a rally at Marystuart, the procession exits from the main gate to Wandegeya round about, Katanga slum, Kikumi-Kikumi, then to Kikoni and then back to campus climaxing at Africa Hall. While at the Marystuart rally, the atmosphere is raucous, students strolled into the box grounds others filling the staircase to the hall road as the occupants of the largest female hall on campus the “ladies” fondly referred to as “boxers” watch the proceedings from their room galleries, while others from the tower windows, openings in their dome-shaped spectacular Mary Stuart hall, a hall with the shadows of the past glory.

Next to the contestants set of chairs lay a table that sat young beautiful looking ladies with serious and busy faces dressed in Gomesi, others SCR members sitting around them in red gowns led by the culture minister. The boxes that sat in front of the tables were wrapped with white papers labeled “Elders Box” standing emphatically bigger than the rest and with an inscription, “No coins allowed” candidates are instructed to drop between 10,000 and beyond to receive blessings from elders. Table occupants keep looking at the candidates with great anticipation.

Paul Kato together with Simon Wanyera being carried during the final guild rally on Thursday this week at Makerere University.

Within the procession, a get to learn that Lakisa is a 3rd year Dental Surgery student from Africa Hall and an old girl of Gayaza High School who had lost in UYD primaries after attaining 21 against 24 votes of William Karamagi.  The campaigns are full of life with excited young ladies and men some wielding sticks profusely sweating and dancing to the rhythmically deafening noise of sounds from the music system sagging on a canter that walks like a tortoise. Traffic is still at Wandegeya round about as thousands throng the streets. Students proceed to Katanga, a slum in the valley between Mulago and Makerere University hills. This street has attracted several businesses including students’ hostels. While here students carry their heads through the windows if their rooms while others stand at the balcony of the buildings to cheer the candidate. The life, enthuse that comes with excitement on the streets. It sweeps everyone off the street including children who follow the procession with baskets of sweet bananas along.

Lakisa is to later garner a total of 1,567 followed by William Karamagi a UYD flag bearer who got 1,041. In total, 13,508 votes were cast with 423 invalid votes, Paul Kato emerges victor after he swept the polls with 5205 votes drawing the largest number of votes from his school, School of Education. His nearest challenger, Abdu Kareem Ziritwaula managed 4,369 votes.
The tightly contested race saw the usual candidates posters going up buildings , tree branches, and electricity poles all over the university and the neighboring suburbs of Nakulabye, Kikoni, Wandegeya and Kikumi-kikumi amid deafening, dancing and drumming by the swarms of rowdy students clad in their chilly-red undergraduate gowns.

Kato Paul, Guild President Elect, Photo by Kizza Ali

This year’s was a tense campaign. Just a day students went to the polls, police made orders that no politicians were to be entertained at the students’ rallies. Before the orders could sink into the students, Col. Kizza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change –FDC strong man had already  sneaked in the university accessing it through one of the dozens of illegal entrances and later be disguised in a Prado belonging to a one Doreen Nyanjura. Presence of the Police at the entrances busing themselves with searching each and every car to rid of any sort of cockroaches in case it disguised as Besigye will later look silly on realizing the man they are looking for is already inseparable with the students.

Students retreat to taking cover after shots as police exited Besigye from Makerere Guild Polls. PHOTO: OKELLO HERBERT ANDREW

Stones flying in the air will later exchange with bullets teargas and spray in the clash leading to car glass breakages as well as students and policemen sustaining injuries from the pelting stones. This just like the previous elections has been fused with national politics driven by money, oratory and later a fair amount of shallowness exhibited by not following issues but rather following the comic, the funny candidate. Candidates with funny and heavy vocabulary will be considered darlings. Most eye-catching in this election are slogans such as kowtow in their poohoo, tang tang buu nuguu among others.

A polling registrar displaying a ballot paper during the tallying process at Faculty of Arts

A student lies on ground after being overpowered by booze during the campaigns

Makerere campaigns just like national politics are full of mudslinging (usually called chemical), humor especially with emotions that are carried n the faces of the supporters, wacky ideas and then those campaign strategies such as one-o- one and door-to-door strategy as employed by one of the independent candidates James Kazungu who eventually garner a whooping on vote out of the 13,508 ballots cast that has buried him to criticism and ridicule.

We congratulate Kato Paul upon fighting for his share and we wish him a good time in budgeting for his 210millions. GRCs can afford to appease him in any way to attain ministries.


Apparently the 11 MPS who have joined Besigye on the fundraiser for MUK lecturers

Apparently the 11 MPS who have joined Besigye on the fundraiser for MUK lecturers

I really don’t want to sound harsh or rude in any way on our MPS but hey, stop your comedy. We are not interested in your populist politics. Help people get out of poverty. Encourage people to work not always demand money from them.

I have just heard that 11 Members of Parliament have joined the Mr. Besigye in a move to raise money to pay Lecturers incentives. What a comedy by the government and the president in waiting!

You guys tuswaara please forgive us. Give us a break please. Do these MPs have any moral authority to claim to be interested in the affairs of Makerere University? Where were they before the country’s largest and best University was being closed?

Are they not ashamed that it is the same MPs who have on several occasions said they need their salaries exempted from taxes?

These Members of Parliament are too selfish. On April 18, the Uganda Law Society (ULS) an umbrella body for professional lawyers in Uganda wrote to President Yoweri Museveni requesting him not to assent to the Income Tax Bill in which Members of Parliament voted to exempt their allowances from tax.

My friend Mr. Gimara Francis the new ULS president signed a document which had an argument that every Ugandan has an obligation to pay taxes irrespective of their standing in the country. Remember it is through these taxes that the government can be able to raise money to ably sustain and pay for professors at our country’s public Universities.

But what does one expect from a parliament full of people some of whom have been challenged through courts of law over lack of academic qualifications? Some are just S.6 drop outs. They are just feasting on Ugandan Citizen’s sweat through the taxes we pay and yet they never want to be taxed, what a shame? I painfully pay 200,000 monthly tax to the government and then some Mpigs just jumps to say they now sympathize with Makerere staff?

Did Makerere Staff inform you so called MPigs that their major problem was money? Why dont you unanimously sacrifice your funeral allowances instead to the lecturer’s pay if you are too concerned than straining us?

Sometimes I want to burst when I see such comedy. Fortunately, president Museveni has for the second time refused to ascent to the Income Tax bill Unfortunately still, this is going to be passed into law according to Rule 132.9 Parliamentary Rules of Procedure which mandates parliament to pass it into law once the bill is returned twice by the president.

President Museveni argued that the decision by the legislators to amend clause 21 of the Income Tax law to exempt themselves from paying taxes, doesn’t promote good practice, saying the move isn’t only injurious to revenue efforts, but not politically and morally correct.

Imagine an S.6 drop out earns more than a University Professor and when a professor asks for an incentive, some one who is allegedly an MP ignorantly says your role is to teach? Can you give us a break please?

Are you aware that it is actually even after paying taxes, it is the parents of students at Makerere who pay the 40% of the entire salaries of staff about 6bn? Why dont you resolve that the government must fully fund the university than this kwara kwara of yours?

Focus on things that will help Ugandans and act by examples. The bible says “Turyabareebera ahabyaana byaabo”

Apparently the 11 MPS who have joined Besigye on the fundraiser for MUK lecturers

Apparently the 11 MPS who have joined Besigye on the fundraiser for MUK lecturers




After the search of the next district NRM woman flag bearer went down last week, there was a lot that I loved about the candidacy of Baata Kamateneti though majority of people seemed not to know who she is/was and perhaps what her agenda was. And maybe they would have chosen her.

Although Ntungamo district NRM voters decided to re-elect Beatrice Rwakimari in the recently concluded primaries, I have a conviction that though this woman was not chosen, she was the best choice for the title.

It is not so much that I underestimate the power of voters who chose Rwakimari, not even that i have personal problems with her but, our political landscape needed fresh blood since the 1995 constitution.

In some long time-coming poetic fit of serendipity, one would think that she (Baata) would be a one better option to take the current reins than the same old Rwakimari and Kabasharira who’s been with us all along.

INCUMBENT: Naome Kabasharira

INCUMBENT: Naome Kabasharira

Fast forward, the elections for women can be traced back to the establishment of the National Resistance Council (NRC) in 1989. In this election affirmative action measures for women were introduced, and 34 women were elected to “women’s seats”

During the 6th Parliament (1996-2001) there were 39 districts in Uganda (Ntungamo inclusive), and accordingly 39 women were elected as female district MPs.

As you might be aware, since establishment, in 1993, Ntungamo district first got woman representative in Parliament after the 1995 C.A and the representatives was Janet Bagarukayo in Constituency Assembly (C.A) and Ms. Ester Mugarura.

Clear history of female representation in the district though unclear, what we can acquaint ourselves from the available written literature is that in the sixth Parliament (1996-2001), Naome Kabasharira was voted to represent women of Ntungamo in Parliament.

Winner : Rwakimari

Winner : Rwakimari

In 2001she was disqualified from contesting as MP on the ground that she presented forged academic papers in the names of Kabasharira Naome Asiimwe as had petitioned by a one Rwakimari.

For a period between 2001 and 2010, Ntungamo had Hon. Beatrice Rwakimari as a woman representative of the district.

After 10 years outside Parliament, Kabasharira made a come-back in 2011 and beat the incumbent, Beatrice Rwakimari in the NRM primaries with over 50,000 votes. Ms Kabasharira polled 94,705 against Rwakimari’s 46,544 votes in the NRM party primaries held in September 2010.

Media reports and research reveal that although Kabasharira experienced a tough campaign with limited resources, her win at that time was facilitated by her record performance, and a sympathy vote from those who thought she had been sidelined by the incumbent.

What does it mean with her loosing and the re-election of Hon. Rwakimari? I surely haven’t yet established the real reasoning behind the voter behaviour in Ntungamo but for a fact, there should have been a change but not necessarily like we had.

Once new people come to the race, our local population tends to think that perhaps new entrants in the race are usually not ready to take on the leadership. Or maybe that they lack the resources to provide logistical support to the voters.

For anyone interested in political leadership ought to understand the nature of the electorate and be able to provide accordingly.

But why do we have such? Our leaders currently have nurtured people in believing in handouts, and this commercialisation of politics in the our district as well as the country has and continues to impact on the quality of the leaders we chose and the quality of services we receive from government.

We continue to lack civic education to our local population in rural areas. This is evident from the nature of arguments one hears on village streets where once says cannot vote someone because they have not offered them logistics “Kamiro” literally vote bribe.

This has continued to misinform even our siblings in schools today where even a class monitor has to bribe voters with sweets, or pop corns (traditional Bunena”).

I therefore believe Kamateneti was the ideal choice for Rushenyi though she couldn’t fight through. I therefore think that she lost, one because of the nature of our electorate, the existence of political blocks which for long have been utilised for support. For instance, in the recently concluded, NRM primary elections, all the three contestants came from the three traditional constituencies of Ruhama (Rwakimari), Rushenyi (Kabasharira) and Kajara (Kamateneti). In analysis, almost each block supported their own.

Maybe another reason that could have worked against Kamateneti’s side was her timing. The time she came in the race was quite late. I would want to say that maybe she dint have enough time with people so that they can get to know her.

Looking at the enormity of the area she and her competitors were supposed to cover in the shortest time given amidst individual funding and compared to the constituency MPs who also had the same time, shows you that it was a bit tricky for her to win.kamatenet

Basing on that i would want to congratulate her for the powerful show she put. I didn’t expect her to perform like she did. Congratulations to her and all whose victory was postponed.

Davidson Ndyabahika





How the assortment practice in Rushenyi is liable to produce low less competent leaders


I have of late been trying to study a common argument that sometimes our district gets leaders we deserve, conversely, we also so in one way or the other don’t get leaders we deserve. This is why I endeavor to find out how one can able patch up this irony.

Well whereas each statement is a smidgen different, to zero it down, leaders spring form societies they serve and therefore their behaviors and actions reflect on the societal peculiar habits, norms and traditions. Our leaders therefore cannot build our district with the skills and or norms of places we admire. They MUST build with the norms, and skills of places they come from. To this extent therefore, leaders reflect a character of their societies.

However if you scrutinize Rushenyi’s leadership closely, you realize that our county unlike other parts of the district is more likely to offer us leaders the worst, not the best individuals it produces.

Over the last 20 or so years, we have been known among the richest parts of the district based on the agricultural produce such as Matooke, milk and cows.

We have also additionally heard that our elders and stakeholders in Rushenyi own mansions in Kampala, agricultural farms and that majority are surely successful people in the business arena etc. This makes me believe that despite the low levels of education, we have had in Rushenyi, a reasonable number of families send their kids to school who eventually after graduation and may be employment never think of returning to Rushenyi and may be as stakeholders take part in the affairs of the county.

They all move out claiming they never want to join politics and thus claim they rather work on their own projects and increase on their incomes etc. And indeed if you get to look into the best students who graduate, a few would want to be employed in the county and the rest just go outside and some negligible would later join as politicians. There have been frustrations of a few intellectuals who have tried to politics and have come out with frustrations. This means that the people who continue to lead the populace down is less skilled that our society produces.

Largely, the most angry and intellectually inept colleagues you find them in the villages, bars etc or physically in public places somehow tend to be those whose careers have been unsuccessful. These will be men and women who later join our politics; and this means that politics is a dumping ground for mediocrity.

It is therefore not surprising that most of the young men and women whose careers have been unsuccessful in the professions or even in their low levels of literacy find a home in the NRM’s bus. There, they promote the politics of confrontation, exclusion, tribalism and corruption.

This completely amuses me leaving me wondering the future of our constituency.

May be, the most intellectually astute and skilled Rushenyians are busy pursuing their careers to think of committing greater time in debates. This has left the worst in our society in charge of the public sphere. This is somehow opposite of other counties like Kajara.

In many a case, the middle class in Rushenyi is creating a blunder by retreating to the comfort zones. By retreating to the comfort zones, of the professional success and being too busy to decide the destiny of our county, it is surrendering our county Rushenyi, to those who lack basic values and skills to promote enlightened politics.

Their detachment from the public debates has strengthened the voice of the worst in our society. Thos means that even if Rukutana lost power, we are likely to get more of the same corruption and intolerance, or worse. So we need to begin a conversation on how to bring Rushenyi‘s best back into debate of the future of our society.

What then does it mean to have numerous independent candidates in Rushenyi? Is it in any way significant?


In the 2016 positioning, will TDA revive hopes in Ugandans amidst the kangaroo EC?


Ugandan Presidential Candidates 2016

As 2016 draws near, the race for presidency arguably is getting to concern as political parties prepare to field their preferred choices. But is history about to repeat itself? Could this debate now raging in this country over electoral reforms and political momentum it is generating more so with the parliament’s passing of the “electoral reforms” determine the Museveni succession?

Let us rewind, in the 1996 general elections, the leaders of Multi-party democracy who included Democratic Party (DP), Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) among others formed a united front which was initially called the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) which was later objected by the interim Electoral Commission (IEC)on accounts that political parties were still banned. The members harmonized it into Inter-Party Forces Cooperation (IPFC) and fronted Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere as their joint candidate. He was challenged by the incumbent president Museveni in that election.s 2016 draws near, the race for presidency arguably is getting to concern as political parties prepare to field their preferred choices. But is history about to repeat itself? Could this debate now raging in this country over electoral reforms and political momentum it is generating more so with the parliament’s passing of the “electoral reforms” determine the Museveni succession?

In 2011, the opposition attempted to rally behind FDC’s Kiiza Besigye under the IPC but failed due to differences in the individual parties. The failure at the time stemmed from disagreements on whether to participate in the elections or not to. Where some section of members were against a move to participate in the elections arguing that the EC was incapable of running a free and fair election. Members ended up splitting the coalition.

With the 2016 general elections setting in, Ugandan political sphere is seeming taking a new shape with a new development of The Democratic Alliance (TDA) where the amalgamation of various political parties have all been brought under this same Umbrella including the recent inclusion of the former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi as an independent candidate under the eminent persons.

Despite all this, there are issues rotating around the 2016 general elections that we cannot let go minus talking about. Of course, as the opposition prepares to front one candidate, the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) which arguably remain the dominant political force in  the country already has its sole candidate in President Museveni, the opposition must speak one voice in order to win the ruling party which enjoys among other privileges, the state machinery including the army, police, access to the national treasury etc.

Already, Democratic Party’s Mao knows he cannot win an election with his party and the only way to win is in the forces and maintain the relevancy of DP in the national politics.

Besigye joins TDA as a continuation of the failed 2010 IPC and he is fully aware that it will be one candidate perhaps fronted by the opposition if they are to win an election.

Amama Mbabazi has gone to the campaigns where he has already declared that at the end of everything, he is going to be president of Uganda. In his insinuations, he has already undermined the choice in TDA by stating his position. And this posse a question in TDA perhaps to answer of whether we can bow down to you or you can bow down to us. It is a question of ego. The FDC fears that Amama cannot just walk over from the ruling party and takes over the opposition. He says he has already launched the go forward campaign and further thinks it is his time to contest against president Museveni. And he is using TDA as a platform to foster his position that he has a backing of the Besigye supporters.

But as these internal disagreements continue to emanate, one wants to ask, does the opposition and TDA have an agenda? If their main agenda is making sure that Museveni is not the next president of Uganda, then these TDA aspirants should get to harmonize their positions themselves and decide on who the candidate should be. Then there shall be a consensus built on influencers.

When he comes to the TDA, Amama has no justification to associate with the opposition. The reason for this one may want to argue he has been the castigator of the opposition and at the center stage of all sorts of evils done by the current government and thus cannot fit in the shoes of the Opposition.

However since he identifies himself with the opposition, one thing that the opposition must embrace is fronting the issues that at the moment, this country needs change not based on the personality. And I think when he preaches that, he will definitely buy from the opposition as well as in the ruling NRM that believes in him.

Now another question that still haunts the opposition is the electoral commission and whether it is independent or not. There is a lot of plunder as well as blunders being committed by EC. In the first instance, Badru Kigundu (the EC boss) is not an implementer of the law, first he is not parliament, he has no powers to interpret the law and he has no powers to make the law. His duty therefore is to set guidelines that aspirants are going to follow in the elections.

However from what we see, because he has no powers, other key stakeholders including the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen. Kayihura and the Attorney General Fred Ruhindi can only come in to sit on his sides in order for him to be comfortable to address the presidential candidates that Amama Mbabazi is only doing rallies instead of consultative meetings.

The police boss uses his authority as IGP and he wants to stop the rally but he doesn’t have any way to do it. This is why he uses Badru Kigundu to carry out an illegality of stopping Amama. While our constitution is very silent about the nature of consultative meetings. All our laws don’t describe what should constitute of a meeting. It is only Public Order Management Act (POMA) that talks about.

The police’s involvement is of course portrayed as sectarian and seemingly preparing for the 2016 general election. This is manifested in the massive recruits of many youth in the forces as crime preventers, and other militia groups being trained such as the infamous Kakooza Mutale’s

Is Museveni’s 2bn Promise to Youth per District Feasible?

On The Politics of Promises

Incumbent: H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of The Republic of Uganda

Incumbent: H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni President of The Republic of Uganda.

And so, the papal visit results into the meeting of the old time friends and big time challenger as portrayed in the “popular handshake”, we hope it was a blessing to Ugandan politics since it was timely just in the middle of the campaign season.

Just about two months away from that February 18, date when Ugandan presidential elections will be decided – excepting the need for a surfeit.  The politicians continue to make endless promises, president Museveni makes yet another promise but his time not hoes, but youth fund.

Yes, just ahead of the 2016 General Elections, the heat is on. Pressure is mounting, too.  And the promises are being made as usual. The trick is to see that at least a decent measure of those promises is fulfilled. People often find their communities are left wanting when it comes time to deliver on those political promises and so we are yet to see other unfulfilled promises.

I will refer to Daily Monitor story of Monday November 30, 2015 titled “Museveni to give Shs2b per district for Youth” in this article, president Museveni  while addressing Journalists in Napak District last week pledged to give 2bn shillings to the youth in each of the 112 districts in Uganda come next financial year.

Uganda has the youngest population in the world according to findings, with 77% of its population being under 30 years of age. There are 7,310,386 youth from the ages of 15–24 years of age living in Uganda.

Whereas election promises can help one get elected into office, officials once in office tend to abandon them. It should be noted with utmost potency that president Museveni and his government have always come up with brilliant policies and programs to counter Uganda’s day-to-day challenges however they have always failed to take off because of politics, intrigue, egoism and corruption. With President Museveni’s promise it is hard for Ugandans especially the youth to believe in this promise basing on how the previous funds have been handled.

When the government of Uganda launched the youth livelihood funds in May 2014, there have been a lot of messes ranging from ignorance, corruption of implementers, and misuse of the funds through politicization of almost everything.

We appreciate the fact that at least 83% of young people have no formal employment, partly due to slow economic growth, the small labour market, high population growth rate, the rigid education system, rural-urban migration and limited access to capital.


When we brace ourselves with the repercussions of the large youth population which lies idle, we should be able to find out whether such a promise will yield or not. There is a likelihood that the skyrocketing unemployment rates might lead frustration of the youth can contribute to militancy, impatience and risk-taking, since they can be easily exploited by the opposition which I think president Museveni is most worried about. If you can see what has transpired previously where the IGP Gen. Kayihura has ventured into recruiting majority of youth into crime preventers to reduce their redundancy as well as manipulate them for the 2016 election.

The question of whether this 2bn shilling is going to solve the current job crisis that has hit the youth of this nation is still unanswered.

Consequently, I verily think that the moment we fail to harmonize politics and economics, it will continue to cost us as a country. And so we must organize our politics in case of good economics. We can do this by changing our mindsets and attitudes as youth so as be able to utilize the little resources available.

On the contrary, the government which would have done this through sensitization of youth, empowerment through various youth seminars, entrepreneurship seminars etc, has simply looked on. We for instance have youth in upcountry areas that are very green about the youth funds. Even those who get them, because of the appraisal process, many youth are taking this money to be a hand out from the government.

In order for such programs to work, the various hardships in accessing the funds such as selection of groups, establishing clear objectives of youth groups, stopping corruption/ favoritism in the process of selection, political will as well as proper planning can surely help out.

Otherwise we shall continue to live on empty promises by politicians. Just imagine. Potential voters have to be hounded and recruited to register to vote and to exercise that right to vote. Really seems silly to fight and die for the right to an education, the right to equality and more without enjoying the benefits of those rights. Let us concentrate more on what will unite us than what divides us.

By Davidson Ndyabahika

The Writer is a 4th year student of Journalism and communication as well as the Guild Information Minister a Makerere University


The Politics of Bushmen, blood ties and survival



Museveni swearing in in 1986 after capture of power.

Museveni swearing in in 1986 after capture of power.

On Friday night of September 18, a Kampala businessman Mr. Odrek Rwabwogo was dropped by the Central Executive Committee (CEC) in the race for NRM Vice Chairperson, Western Uganda.

According to media reports, the 45 year old Rwabwogo was dropped on grounds of inexperience and standing minus consulting the party chairman. He is president Museveni’s son-in-law who is said to have told the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) members that he runs the party’s business and that Rwabwogo had not consulted him.

According to various analysts, Rwabwogo had put a lot of tension on NRA historical Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza who had complained of Rwabwogo’s candidature simply because he is a young man and argues that as someone young, he shouldn’t have disrespected historical by humiliating them in standing with them.

This caused public excitement especially among the youth and superficially media attention. The irony in Kyaligonza’s outcry is that whereas they were three people in the race and the third was Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, a fellow historical. He (Kyaligonza) at one in an interview said; Youths shouldn’t think that they will start with wanting to be president. Let them start at the LC-I then we see how they behave. But when you say that the old guard are “bazeeyi” [old] and they don’t know what they are saying then we shall have problems”  “We [Historicals] don’t want familiarity because when we came [into power] we didn’t disrespect people”

The bitterness extended to other members who claim to be members of the historical command and one Hajji Nadduli the Luweero District NRM Chairman faulted Museveni for sending a “boy” to fight an NRM historical.

Its seems those who still support NRM refuse to appreciate the fact that they have no place when the old guard is still here. This was highlighted by Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi who recently fell out with Museveni owing to his ambition that condemnation of ambition is wrong.


President Museveni’s son-in-law Odrek Rwabwogo

It is surely greed and hunger to cling on power plus selfishness with the members of the old guard who still think no one can take over from them and rather think they are still the best in ensuring the country’s development.

Its not only with standing alone, but also arrogance that comes with such leaders which eventually keep youth frustrated and desperate for power. In my view, youth should rethink their position and then see how to capture and man their leadership that keeping anticipatory that Museveni and his people are soon getting tired and hand over power to them.

It is the same politics of blood is thicker than water that made Gen. Sejjusa David oppose the alleged Muhoozi project and almost all the people opposed to the project seem to have fallen with Museveni.

Look at Mbabazi, then Sejjusa and of course the fallen General, Aronda Nyakairima whose death has in the last week raised a lot of dust.

Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza who has been on tension because of an election

Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza who has been on tension because of an election

Of course president Museveni’s overstay and his style of leadership has mastered the art of consolidating the inner core bound to the regime by family, ethnic and religious loyalties- in essence, a mafia with goodfellas in various guises protecting his back.

With the 2016 general elections knocking, president Museveni has since, employed numerous tricks to ensure his survival and his re-election, advancing through training various militia groups. Of late, the government critics have questioned the relevancy of Crime Preventers initially dubbed under Community Policing model. What interests more is that at the pass out of these said crime preventers, they are always made to don in yellow Museveni T-shirts which make the whole idea and reasoning behind its formation to be a pro Museveni brigade.

Important to note also, is the way the forces have been created with an intention of promoting one region aimed to ensuring loyalty to the president. The same applies to various government institutions including even the cultural institutions as well as religion. For instance various newly formed kingdoms such as Obwa Kyabazinga, Obuhighya of Kasese have been created and the coronations supported in the interests of Museveni.

We have also witnessed various religious leaders participating in partisan politics especially the ruling NRM party leadership. The recent case was seen in Bushenyi where the south Western Diocese Bishop Yona Mwesigwa Katonene offering politicians spears and shields showing his partisan politics.

Equally so, with the first family joining politics, there has been creation of sort of a dynasty, first with progressively sorted out the military by promoting and making his son, Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the de facto army boss, having his brother Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho commonly known as Salim Saleh as presidential advisor on military, Mrs. Janet Kataaha Museveni the minister in charge of Karamoja affairs, Mr. Sam Kuteesa , Brigadier Muhoozi Kaneirugaba Museveni’s son said to be the most powerful and active member of the military.

What does Kyaligonza’s unopposed “victory” mean? It is only in NRM where democracy is the rule of a rule and as long as the members of the party work in the interests of the head of the party, to them it is democracy. It all began with the Kyankwanzi resolution and the condemnation of ambition by the party officials and promotion of sole candidature marred with the condemnation of the party’s Secretary General’s harboring of presidential ambitions.

The Rwabwogo precedent indicate that that even Gen. Kahinda Otafiire who was also a contender in the race also dropped his ambitions to pave way for Kyaligonza. It also guided the ring fencing of other portfolios in the NRM historical league. Also businessman Hakim Lukenge was equally rejected by CEC for the post of National Vice Chairperson currently held by the historical Moses Kigongo and this meant he (Kigongo) is unopposed, even Vice Chairperson for Eastern Uganda, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga went unopposed.

With this elimination of young blood denying them voting rights under the guise of inexperience, clearly illustrates the fact that NRM is never interested in giving young people an opportunity to serve their party and their country.


Higher education not solution to youth unemployment

I refer to the Daily Monitor Article by Michael Wanyama the ED Higher Education Financing Board titled “Loan scheme will increase access to higher education for needy students” published on Wednesday June 24th 2015. I very much want to appreciate the government’s efforts to extend the education to majority of Ugandan; however, I am deeply hurt by its focus on quantity than quality.
Whereas we appreciate all measures government employs to provide funding and sponsorship to Ugandan students to attain higher education, as you elaborately explain with Government merit, quota system and state sponsorship.

Students’ loan scheme might increase access to higher education for needy students but will not solve unemployment in the country. Majority of youth who graduate ultimately settle for less-than-ideal employment, such as jobs that are low-paying, temporary, or unsafe, or ones for which they are overqualified. Some enter the informal economy to make ends meet. Others stop looking for jobs altogether.

Students in a technical institution doing practicals. This is what we should be advocating for
Students in a technical institution doing practicals. This is what we should be advocating for

Conversely, have we also thought about the quality of graduates churned out by these institutions every year? And more so, where do they go after graduation? Research shows that majority of graduates in Uganda today lack employability and thus are rendered jobless on the streets.   Why can’t we advocate for more funding to youth in tertiary institutions such that more students are catered for as they would attain better skills than one who have gone to university in today’s Uganda.

I am making a case of an Engineer who is sponsored fully by government in Makerere University or any other public institution. The cost of producing this engineer is might be very expensive compared to a cost of producing these other technicians in the industry such as masons, carpenters, welders, plumbers’ electricians etc.

A successful engineer, he/she needs about 20 technicians. But do we have where there are they coming from?  In my simple view, there are certain types of skills that determine whether young people will be able to find work as well as contributing to their local and national economy, and live up to their individual developmental and earning potentials.

Graduates but do they add value to the Ugandan economy?
Graduates but do they add value to the Ugandan economy?

These skills such as technical and vocation skills, in areas like agriculture, computers, or carpentry, can be gained through work-placement programs or apprenticeships.  Ironically, these skills rely on the basic literacy and numeracy skills developed during primary school that permit people to get jobs that pay enough to meet daily needs, you can look at majority of our UPE primary schools in Uganda today.

According to Uwezo’s 2012 Annual Learning Assessment report, 90% of UPE pupils can’t read. Where are we headed? Can’t we revise the quality of Education we offer to our pupils in primary before we think about higher education?

Similarly, I also confidently think, technical and vocational skills heavily rely on transferable skills such as analysis, communication, problem solving, creativity, and leadership that can be transferred and adapted to different environments. Staying in school helps develop these skills, as do internships or work-based programs.

Such technical skills must be promoted.
Such technical skills must be promoted.

But what has the government done? In 2003, the Uganda government in its wisdom decided to merge tertiary institutions into a university of Kyambogo. The merger was Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo (ITEK), Uganda polytechnic-Kyambogo (UPK) and Uganda national institute for students with disabilities (UNISE). It has not once or twice been argued that up to now the institution has failed to take off to a University.

engrWell, I am made to think and believe that it would be a powerful institution if it remained to that status quo and provided the available skills for the job market in Uganda and even beyond.  Therefore opportunities to develop a specific set of skills that matches the needs of the job market are often limited in our Ugandan universities.

Even if young people finish primary school, they do not necessarily progress to secondary school or have the skills needed by employers.  I think it’s really high time that our leaders listened to the voices of young people and allow opportunities for dialogue.

Major (Retired) Jessica Rose Epel Alupo EDUCATION minister
Major (Retired) Jessica Rose Epel Alupo EDUCATION minister

The business of ganging youth against other youth will not solve the     problem of unemployment. Similarly, training youth as cadres is yet to produce its results that will shock the initiators.   Finally, once there is greater appreciation of the size and economic potential of young people and more comprehensive education-to-employment strategies, Uganda will be able to make the most of this opportunity for development.

Our Ugandan educational system is still failing to provide a large proportion of youth with the skills they need to secure a living. And without the ability to attain basic skills or the specific ones that match the demands of the labor market, many youth shall continue to be unable to find employment.