Kampala — THE Government has been asked to change the coat-of-arms to replace the crested crane with a honey bee as a way of encouraging development.
Uganda's coat-of-arms has a shield and spears on a green mound with the sun in the centre, a drum, a kob and a crested crane.
The former chief of the strategic planning and management unit at the African Union, Maj. Gen. Bennon Biraaro, said the country needed appropriate symbols to achieve economic development.
"About 10 million out of the 30 million Ugandans live below the poverty line. In order to get out of poverty, our mindset must change," Biraaro said.
"The crane is beautiful, but it displays laziness. It is a symbol that is no longer appropriate in this fast-pace competitive world," he said.
Biraaro noted that a bee displays hard-work, self-help, unity, responsibility and sacrifice, adding that it would encourage Ugandans to work hard and prosper.
He made the remarks during a public debate organised by Nature Uganda, a local environmental NGO, at the Uganda Museum in Kampala on Thursday.
"As bees go through various stages from the egg into adults, Ugandans need to change from tribal differences, become focused and work together to achieve economic development."
He added that foreign investors and local manufacturers would easily identify with bees since their product (honey) serves as a raw material.â-‚
In Uganda, bees are kept in Bushenyi, Bugisu, Nakasongola, Kabarole and the West Nile region. The country produces only 5,000 metric tonnes of honey annually. Experts say Ugandan honey, when well produced, is rated among the best in the world.
However, environmentalists, including Nature Uganda chief Achilles Byaruhanga, opposed Biraaro's proposal, warning that the crane would become extinct if it ceased being the national symbol.
Environment state minister Jessica Eriyo said although it was good to use the bee to intensify investment, there was no need to change the coat-of-arms.
She proposed that the bee should become the symbol for the prosperity-for-all programme.