Corruption in Uganda has become so monotonous that it has now been left to the media, politicians and the civil society to fight.
But where do the wananchi fit in all this? Politicians, civil society organizations, and the donor community have vowed to work tooth and nail to bring the corrupt to book. But much as we commend these efforts, they are but mere lamentations that will take us nowhere until the wananchi are mobilized against corruption.
Their understanding of corruption is, at best, disjointed. They have continued to sympathize and glorify it. This ignorance continues to frustrate and undermine any efforts to tame it.
My uneducated 59-year-old mother deep in the village needs to be helped make a connection between corruption and the shortage of drugs in public hospitals, the impassable state of our roads, the worrying quality of education, to mention but a few. The wananchi have to be helped to understand how corruption affects their ultimate standards of living, for them to pick it as an issue and be actively involved in the fight.
For starters, the wananchi could distance themselves from whoever's name is tainted by any corruption. The corrupt could also be ostracized from any public functions. Their business undertakings could be shunned before government seizes them.
The law just watches as pornography is vended
I would like to express my deep concern over the increasing display and sale of pornographic materials, both in video and print format, on Kampala streets. A quick survey along Namirembe road, opposite the New taxi park and Kafumbe Mukasa and Ben Kiwanuka roads, indicates a proliferation of blue movie DVDs and tabloids with pictures of nude women.
The vendors are even freely calling out to passers-by to come and buy!
Unfortunately, the custodians of the law, such as the police and KCCA enforcement officers just watch as all this happens! My main concern is the fact that amongst the public that views these pictures are children, especially pupils on their way to and from school. This is quite misleading and would negatively affect the children's moral upbringing.
One time I had to chase away four pupils whom I found staring at obscene pictures being sold at the main entrance to Nakivubo stadium. Authorities concerned should come up and impose a by-law banning such businesses from the streets. Alternatively, they could get them secluded places where they can sell from and be taxed for their businesses, while ensuring that children do not access such premises.
National Council for Children.
Uganda must build an independent economy
Colonialism may have disappeared but Uganda's economy still exhibits colonial traits. Uganda currently lies on the periphery of the world economy, has very little indigenous industrial capacity and has to rely on its wealthy foreign partners.
On November 13, a headline in the Daily Monitor read: "Oil firms favouring foreign companies." Irrespective of its truth, I wouldn't blame Tullow Oil if it were to award foreign companies contracts instead of local ones. If a company has the unrestricted opportunity to deal with an experienced, reliable, and historically tested foreign company, why would it instead choose to work with a fledging and inexperienced Ugandan firm?
No one can dispute the fact that these large foreign companies inject funds into the Ugandan economy and create jobs. However, in the long run, these firms perpetrate an 'international division of labour.' They will keep Uganda dependent and on the periphery.
Uganda is trying to achieve its National Development Plan dream of, "prosperity in 30 years", by instituting a number of measures, most of them involving foreign investment and scattered pockets of foreign aid. If we look at countries that actually managed to achieve 'prosperity' in 30 years, then we see that GDP was increasing at 10% per annum. By comparison, Uganda in 2012 has a contracting manufacturing sector and an IMF-forecasted GDP growth rate of 5.5%.
Uganda will not make it on the backs of foreign investors. It must enter the world economy as a competitor and not a hitchhiker. It must create its own industry, and not allow its economy to be macro-managed from the outside.
Externally, Uganda should prioritize commercial bank loans and technology licensing over Direct Foreign Investment. Internally, it can raise economic nationalism, a savings culture, an export mindset, and lower interest rates.
Warid fund will aid youth
I would like to thank Warid for giving the youth an opportunity to realise their dreams through the Warid Entrepreneurship Fund Uganda. Every year thousands of youth graduate from universities and cannot find jobs; even those with great business ideas do not have the capital they need to actualise them.
Now the Warid fund will help youths with great ideas to start their own businesses. This will not only benefit the youth but the country as a whole because it will also tackle the unemployment problem. I myself will be signing up soon.