Archive for September, 2014

Museveni, Kiprotich and his family at State House Entebbe

Museveni, Kiprotich and his family at State House Entebbe

Sport is an industry world over and on our continent ‪#‎Nigeria and‪ #‎SouthAfrica collect a lot of taxes from their athletes, which monies help to transform their economies. And some of these athletes have big businesses in their countries and this means they are employing a number of people and in turn pay more taxes to their governments. It is only fair that African governments wake up from their big slumber and invest in the sports industry by building infrastructure across their countries and this will contribute to nurturing of more talent from our young people.

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Hon. Nathan Nandala-Mafabi Chairman BCU & MP Budadiri West

Hon. Nathan Nandala-Mafabi Chairman BCU & MP Budadiri West

  1. On behalf of Ugandans who value knowledge and on my own behalf, allow me to congratulate Hon Dr. Ezra Sabiti Suruma, for availing this sincere piece of knowledge to us. It takes a lot of wisdom, courage and thinking above -self to come out with such a damning and insightful writing if you are a member of the ruling party and an Economic Advisor to the President. Suruma, I salute you and hope that others will come out to give their candid opinions about the affairs in our country.
  2. This is a comment on chapter 17 “Oil: Blessing or Curse”. I will mention the areas I agree with the author then move on to give some other considerations about Uganda’s oil management.
  3. My first point of agreement is that indeed, Uganda’s unemployment and under employment levels are turning into a security threat and as Dr. Suruma’s statistics on students enrolment show, in five to seven years, if nothing is done, the situation could go out of hand. If 366,423 students completed national secondary program in 2010 and only half proceeded to post secondary, it means that about 183,211 youth entered the job market[1]. This number is then added to the thousands   who graduate every year but find no employment. In simple terms, we are talking about thousands of young people on the street every year. These energetic but idle youth pose a bigger threat similar to Al’ Shabab, yet, government continues paying lip service to productive sectors like agriculture that could absorb this labour.
  4. I agree with the author that the oil sector if well managed will create a lot of opportunities such as drivers, wielders, accountants and many others as listed by Dr. Suruma on pg 138[2]. Yet, as discussed, this will also come with other distortions as many people are likely to be excited over oil money. We draw the example from Gabon, where oil money has created a feeling that other menial jobs are below standards of the people of Gabon[3]. Artisan work is left to other African migrants from neighbouring states like Congo, Togo or Ghana. Also, while the per capita income of Equatorial Guinea rose from $ 368 in 1990 to over $2000 in 2000 as a result of oil, it is documented that the country slipped ten places  down the United Nations Human Development ranking[4] and the country’s   agriculture and manufacturing sectors  fell to less than two percent[5]
  5. On ‘who has the right to oil money’ I again totally agree with Dr. Suruma that some of this money must go directly to address the dehumanizing conditions in which our people have been condemned to live. Actually government should not wait for oil money to address the plight of the unemployed, people with disabilities, the terminally sick and all other vulnerable groups.  We should have started this yesterday so that oil money can only make a boast. The money that the President carries in bags and dolls out to his cronies during his internal travels must be put in a fund and given to the very deserving vulnerable people.
  6. Indeed, corruption and absorption capacity are big threats to our oil revenues. The raging Mukono/ Katosi saga is an eye opener of what would happen if over $2bilion was allocated to the infrastructure sector. But beyond poverty and income insecurity causing corruption as highlighted in the book, there are other underlying factors that the author fails to bring out. In Uganda, corruption is on the increase despite the extensive institutional mechanisms aimed at curtailing the vice because of the lack of will by those in power.  Uganda is now the second most corrupt country in East Africa after Burundi[6]
  7. Having noted the above, I would like to state that Dr. Suruma has written with a lot of reservations perhaps due to his position in government. I am more inclined to think that Uganda’s oil has already turning into a curse and I have reasons to think so.
  8. Countries like Norway whose citizenry has benefitted from oil and other mineral resources are very transparent. This is missing in Uganda. Much of the information about oil is held by very few people. The country is yet to sign the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) agreements. The minister for Energy has in several foras promised to do so but nothing has materialized. The other guiding pointer to this oil curse is to consider the institution and persons guarding the oil fields in the Albertan region. Is it the Uganda police or some other security entities and why?
  9. Also, good oil management has been exercised in democratic  countries like Botswana which is in contrast with the stark dictatorship in Uganda. Eventually, it has become a reality that whoever aspires for the top leadership of the country is treated as an enemy of the President! I laughed when I read on pg 145, Dr. Suruma saying, ‘The NRMs original philosophy rested on two pillars; anti sectarianism and anti totalitarianism[7]. Am sure Dr. Suruma would want to revise this sentence given the circumstances that have unfolded in the last five days. President Museveni has already emulated the late Umar Bongo, whose management of oil was done by his family and a few loyalists in State House. Before he passed away, the late Bongo acted like a village super chief, resolving disputes, intervening in students’ strikes and handing out cash![8]
  10. Remember why Hon. Ssekikubo, Hon. Niwagaba, Hon. Tinka and Hon. Nsereko were expelled because they raised governance issues in oil sector. Umeme contract renewed for 20 years, without due diligence by same Minister of Energy who approved the contract while a Civil servant. This is same person managing oil sector.
  11. The other issue that I felt Dr. Suruma should have addressed is the role of the international agencies in Uganda’s emerging oil sector. Many times, development partners, multi-nationals companies, the World Bank and IMF have ignored local voices demanding for democracy and instead chosen to entrench the dictators who serve their interests[9]. We know that while oil is a cause of conflict, external actors like Private Security organizations, mercenaries, International traders, armed suppliers and other powers pursuing strategic and economic interests have fueled these conflicts[10] . Is Uganda able to maneuver these international lobbyists with multi-layered interests to ensure that Ugandans benefit from the oil resource?
  12. I agree with Dr. Suruma’s call that the opposition should “stand shoulder to shoulder with government to maximize an opportunity that at best arises once in a life time”[11]. However, this can only be possible if government revisits its perspective and begins treating opposition like partners in this country rather than foes. If government allies with particular multinational companies to oppress the opposition, there is no way the opposition will not ally with another.
  13. In Conclusion, I agree that oil is a great opportunity for Ugandans which could lift many Ugandan lives from the tortuous unemployment and humiliating poverty levels. I also have agreed that in using proceeds from oil, we need to think beyond roads and dams and provide immediate needs to vulnerable groups in the country; and that there is need to strengthen capacity and fight corruption which pose a threat to the countries oil sector.
  14. I however think that given the increasing totalitarian tendencies exhibited by the President and his ruling class, there is no hope that Ugandans will benefit from the oil resource. I have highlighted that as a country, we need to be keen about multinational companies and lobbyists who often fuel internal conflict in oil resource countries for their selfish interests. I support the issue of transferring 50% directly to the population and putting 50% to support the budget.
  15. Once again, I thank Dr. Ezra Suruma for finding time to piece up this very enlightening book.

Nathan Nandala Mafabi

Chairman Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU) 

MP Budadiri West

[1] Suruma E. Sabiti; Advancing The Ugandan Economy: A personal Account pg 135

[2]  Ibid pg 138

[3] Nicholas Shaxson (2007);  Poisoned Wells: The dirty politics of African  oil pg 66

[4]  Ibid pg 142

[5] Nicholas Shaxson (2007), Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African  Oil pg 142

[6]  http://www.google.co.ug/#q=corruption+index+2014

[7] Advancing  The Ugandan Economy: A personal account pg 145

[8] Shaxson  (2007), Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil  pg 76

[9] Massey &May, (2010) Oil and War in Chad  in Southall Roger & Melber Henning  ; The Scramble for Africa, pg 223

[10]  Obi Cyril (2010), Scrambling for Oil in West Africa in Southall Roger & Melber Henning; The Scramble for Africa pg 199

[11]  Advancing The Ugandan Economy: A personal Account pg  146

Revelers came out in bigger numbers to watch their favorites artistes.

Revelers came out in bigger numbers to watch their favorites artistes.

The highly advertised and much anticipated Club Mega Fest turned out to be the highest sham of the year. As revellers seemed to be excited to Khona with Mafikizolo they were treated to Mega Kadongo Kamu stars ranging from one to another.

First of all, Club beer must have procured an amateur at Events Management and execution. This is because the stage was nothing to write home about. I kept seeing the Fenon logo and advert where they were boasting of how good they are in events management. Whatever happened that evening, their goodness must have vanished the minute the organizers discovered that the Koona stars were not going to perform that show. For Fenon records to allow its brand to be associated with such mediocrity points to more than meets the eye.

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Battle Lines Drawn: Between Hon. Amama Mbabazi and his former Boss Yoweri Museveni.

To many he was known as Museveni’s blue eyed and trusted cadre and others called him Mr. Clean or Super Minister! You might not like Amama Mbabazi’s arrogance and way of doing things, but the man from Kigezi is a good orator, gentleman and an expert at holding what people refer to as tough times. You can lay on Amama Mbabazi’s acumen with a trowel but you cannot mince words when it comes to his handling government business in the August house.

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Eddy Kenzo - The Sitya Loss Star

Eddy Kenzo – The Sitya Loss Star

My eyes had been plodded on my small Television set at exactly 10:00pm. This was prompted by those Bukedde TV headlines that point all of us to that hour of dustless news.  I never change from Hala Gorani’s show on The World Right Now on CNN. However, Thursday evening was different. I had to be in class lest I miss a world class Press Conference of new Kungu-fu tactics brought straight from Hollywood movies. It is true Kasuku fell down like those Nollywood movie characters and our Eddie Kenzo at least exhibited the Black American fighting tactics he learnt while on his tour of the United States of America. Eddy Kenzo just gave Golola Moses of Uganda a run for his money by knocking out his opponent in a matter of seconds!

Nevertheless, what everyone is missing out on these two Ugandans is firstly that one of the parties to the fight is known as Eddy Kenzo, a Ghetto boy cum star whose recent music projects have catapulted to stardom and worldwide recognition. While many have always criticized him for his poor command of the English language, he on the other hand brags to have represented Uganda in twenty countries, none of which have luganda as a national language. In other words, he speaks English when it matters, when on the international stage and it matters not how fluent he is, well that is according to him.

For his courage and determination to battle all odds, to become a star, Kenzo is a role model to many young people. The lesson you learn from his ghetto to stardom story is that no matter where you come from, your social class does not determine your future, but the potential in you and how choose to unlock it matters anyway.

Kasuku The Parrot on the Mic.

Kasuku The Parrot on the Mic.

The second thing to look out for in this story is that the other person in the picture is known as Kasuku and in the Queen’s Language that is a Parrot. We all know Parrots are not easy pets. They are not like dogs or cats. They like to bite. They like to scream. They don’t understand us or especially want to please us. They are wild birds that just happen to live with us. They are definitely not for everyone. Something that was overlooked before this impromptu fight was to understand the nature of the beaten Kasuku!

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1384588_brown_envelope_money_bribe_1

The days when you woke up looking forward to reading the truth from newspapers are long gone. Now what we wake up to is complete Public Relation skits placed in the newspaper articles by media house managers and money minded editors. Nowadays you read a story and ask yourself if they did enough research on the matter or they just jumped on it to make a quick dime.

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A young man peaceful shuns corruption in Uganda.

A young man peaceful shuns corruption in Uganda.

No one knows how corruption looks like until it hits them with roads with potholes, hospitals without drugs, ghosts living among humans with the abilities of drawing wages every month from public payrolls. African governments have failed to inculcate systems of accountability to help them to serve their citizens who pay taxes. Many African countries have strong men who don’t want to leave power through peaceful means. Uganda since its independence in 1962 has never handed over power from one president to another peaceful, from one to another they have all been aided by the sound of the gun and oozing bullets. Women and young children have continued to be the victims of this political greed that has always drained a country with lots of potential from its climate to natural resources Uganda seems to be stuck in the narrative of ‘Africa is Rising’. 

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