Presidential contenders and a multitude of other electable “leaders” are again descending on Ugandan voters splashing colourful manifestos with reckless abandon.
Reckless because most of the pledges usually made are impractical and misleading.
In the past for example Presidential candidates in the opposition clandestinely promised emotive benefits such as fighting corruption, electoral reforms, federalism, rule of law, accountability, climate change, revival of co-operative movement, foreign policy, oil wealth share, peace and reconciliation which did not strike and spark much of the flames in the rural folks (peasants).
Candidate YK Tibuhaburwa Museveni on his part previously campaigned promising functional (bread and butter) benefits such as prosperity for all (Bonna bagagawale), Universal Primary and Secondary Education – UPE, USE, Vocational (Bonna basome), immunization for all (Bonna bagemwe). Mr. YK Tibuhaburwa Museveni equally stood out as a Kingpin for military expediency (promising army control and security for all – bonna bakuumwe) compared to the other previous candidates which I being washed away by tear gas and unnecessary killings by security personnel.
The new normal, post-#Covid-19 Ugandan voter is defining new demands. In Bugisu there are still unfulfilled demands as Eastern region has been at a very big disadvantage when issues of university education (mother of development) are discussed. There is urgent need for new Members of Parliament from the region to aggressively lobby the in-coming President to establish a public university of land science, engineering and technology at the current Uganda Technical College – Elgon.
According to the Uganda Education white paper on education policy review commission (EPRC) 60% of the children who enter primary education drop out of school and 90% of those who complete primary education do not proceed to secondary education levels.
Many of the students therefore, do not have opportunity for further education after the primary school cycle and the worst hit region is Eastern and Bugisu in particular. There are increased numbers of school drop-outs who are thrown in the labour market without vocational and technical training (emphasis candidate Museveni has promised this in all of his past campaigns). There is very limited access for vocational education and training especially on this Eastern side of the Nile and until two decades ago, Uganda used to have only one university- Makerere which was fully government aided with a small student population playing host to only 6500 students shared out to all regions. However, demand shot up and new public universities have been established with non in Bugisu region. In a quick check one notes without any prejudice the kind of allocation Kyambogo, Makerere, Makerere university Business School (MUBS) in central Uganda, Mbarara university of Science and Technology (MUST), Kabale university – Western, Muni university – West Nile, Gulu university – Northern, Soroti university – Teso region.
Jocelyne Bourgon, President, Commonwealth Association said
“A leader is the person who guides the efforts of a group toward a result beyond its current reach. Leaders are not necessarily managers – they can come from anywhere in the organization.
And no leader leads all the time. They know how to follow the lead of others and relay on the strength of others.
Human qualities – not position or title – make a leader. “
Bamasaba therefore, shall vote for leaders who will bring the university now.
Nabendeh S.P Wamoto (0703-038510)