Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

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Tree Plantation in Mukono, Uganda

A country with immense natural resources endowed with concourses of opportunities but littered with countless abuses by politicians and public servants that have failed us to reach our potential. We lack the public will to secure own our food when hunger strikes hard. So we are a hungry nation with failed agricultural promises and policies. 
 
Our exceptional climatic conditions, fertile soils and two planting seasons make us such a potential agricultural rich country. We live in a country where 75 percent of our citizens male, female and youth are engaged in agriculture-related businesses. 72 percent of our sisters, wives and mothers are employed in agriculture and this even gets higher for the rural Ugandan woman. 
 
I have been privileged to witness the failed policies of this regime for a period of 31 years. As a young man who was born in Jinja. I grew up seeing Busoga Cooperative Society work for the farmers from that part of the country and as the sun fades away to let the night take its place was the promise from good to worse in the late 1990s for the farmers across the country when the work of cooperative societies started to be interfered with by the regime agents.
 
We have seen the fights between the Bugisu Cooperative Union where the agents of the regime took over and billions were stolen and it almost crumbled if it was not the defiant spirit of Hon Nathan Nandala Mafabi we stood up for the farmers of coffee in that sub-region.
 
My point here is how can you fail to see where your potential lies as a government? Uganda is a country at the heart of Great Lakes Region with a blessed fertile soil and a good amount of rains but still, we have failed to seize the opportunity of being the region’s food basket even if we had the rains. The waters of River Nile seem to be working miracles for Egypt and they are willing to go to war if anyone ever tampered with the flow of that water. But being at the source what have we done to utilise the waters of this river?
 
Our smallholder farmers are hard working men and women who have fought for their survival amidst failed promises and policies from the regime. The problem of our country has never been that we lack food or produce. No! Our farmers have been dealing with a huge Post-Harvest-Loss problem for a long time. Even when there is a huge harvest, there is no government policy to stabilise the prices of our produce so the only way would then be to sell cheaply in order to avoid the produce from rotting away.
 
A government that cares not for its people deserves not any mandate to manage public affairs.
This government has failed to see that food insecurity is such a big and costly problem. As the country is ravaged by a drought that has left many hungry and without food still there is no debate about food security and ways on how to help keep the country’s food secure for such hards times. As we seek to save lives by providing food to those in need we need to unite under a bi-partisan umbrella to care for those without food rather than shooting at those who have come with food to share it with those without. We cannot seek to secure our political images at the heart of those who are dying of hunger we must unite as a nation to save our own. Uganda Police should not be naive to the point of shelving away common sense, even robots have emotions and can judge good from bad, I implore our men and women in uniform to be smart. There are silly orders that can be ignored for the common good.
 
As I conclude I would like to call on Parliament to engage into constructive policy debates that can only put our country first and it is time to debate about an agricultural policy that solves problems like lack of food for our people. 

 

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At the just concluded ICT Innovators Forum organised by the Uganda Communications Commission in Bugolobi, Kampala the minister for ICT and information Frank Tumwebaze said; 

Someone talked about mentorship and subsidised internet but where do I find you to mentor you or to subsidise internet? That means there must be a common centre or we should have these public hubs so that we can come in,

 The government knows well that these public centres are available, but rendered either useless or were made the offices of RDCs and DISOs around the country.

The Community Centre model built by the late President Milton Obote UPC government comes to mind. These were centres where youth met to learn and be taught these centres created the most endeared talents in the country, but the 1986 graduates rendered them useless and have never replaced them with a tangible initiative.

I grew up in Jinja where I was privileged to have competed at all these 3 community centres at the Kakindu Community Center where a football stadium and a community hall was available for indoor games, I used to play table tennis and football, but I was also reading my books in the Kakindu Public Library a place that was like an innovative centre of that time.

Recently, I happened to place by the library, but it is in a very poor state still 30 years have passed nothing serious has been added to this brick of bright idea.The other community centres were Walukuba Community Centre and Mpumudde all that have been either taken over by the NRM machinery for offices or homes.

Frank Tumwebaze you don’t need a centre to support innovation, but you need a will and a heart to feel the need of service amongst the needy. And to subside the internet, you don’t need a building, but the facts on the costs of doing business in Uganda.

Uganda has the most expensive rates in buying internet data and that is not a good one for small business owners and innovators. To spur innovations you must make the internet available and affordable to a majority number of citizens.

Government’s duty is to recognise and promote excellence and creativity in the public sector first. The government should first start a program that will highlight exemplary models of government innovation and advances efforts to address the nation’s most pressing public concerns.

Before a government pledges to build innovation hubs, they should first support existing innovators by starting a competitive award that can help fund the winning innovators. These winning innovators will be Uganda’s next employers, Uganda needs to invest where they are creating jobs and indeed well meaningful jobs.

A government that values talent will start an Award to serve as a catalyst for bringing creative and effective solutions to some of the nation’s most urgent and seemingly intractable challenges.

Some of these awards can be a launchpad for bright ideas from young innovators around the country.

These initiatives can be designed to further recognise and promote creative government initiatives and partnerships and create an online community where innovative ideas can be proposed, shared, and disseminated.

These innovations can lead to developing of  case studies that can be incorporated into curricula of public universities and vocational institutions courses.