Fellow Ugandans, it is no longer news that Yoweri Museveni was sworn in as President of the Republic of Uganda for a sixth consecutive term. Congratulations to him and I hope his last term in office will be. I have many recommendations for the President to form and maintain the country in the right direction.
My first concern is for Ugandan youth. They need more attention than they are currently receiving. If our numerous government arms will significantly reduce their excessive spending, some money can be freed up to help the long-suffering masses and their children. It is heartbreaking to learn that a large amount of money intended to boost the economy and protect it from the #COVID-19 pandemic was largely swindled by a few bloated bureaucrats. There are no proper records for the disbursement of the enormous amounts being bandied around by our top government officials.
It is simple to distribute money in easily traceable forms that can be easily reviewed and validated. However, this government prefers to do it the difficult way, leaving space for bribery and daylight robbery, eroding the public’s trust and confidence that it can champion the battle against corruption and root out corrupt elements polluting the polity. It is my hope and prayer that tales of graft and corruption become a thing of the past in this kisanja.
My second suggestion concerns employment. We can accomplish this by promoting an agricultural revolution. Almost everywhere there is arable land. We have energetic, hardworking men and women on our team. We have citizens who are brilliant, intelligent, and ambitious. All they need is a little encouragement and incentives. Those in the private sector, in addition to the government, can be of assistance. Some Ugandans I know started businesses with as little as one hundred Ugandan shillings and have seen their businesses grow by leaps and bounds. We are a hardworking, imaginative, innovative, and creative group of individuals. God has blessed us with people with talent and ability who only need to be generously supported in any small way.
We will need to develop technical and vocational education. This will better prepare our youth, making them more competitive and employable. We must invest in sports by offering training facilities, equipment, and coaches. Uganda is endowed with raw talent that must be polished and shaped for global opportunities. The same can be said for entertainment. Investing in studios and music facilities need not be prohibitively expensive. Our film, music, and comedy industries can employ thousands, if not millions, of people. Fashion is one of the industries that needs to develop quickly. We must not overlook the importance of food and beverages.
Let’s gather the experts in these fields for a brainstorming session and back them up with funding. The outcome of such an experiment would astound us. For any country pursuing progress or growth, research is the way forward. Unfortunately, both government and private sector support for research is severely lacking in Uganda. Our universities and tertiary institutions are nothing more than glorified high schools with science labs, rather than the well-equipped research centers that we desperately need.
Until we address the imbalances in our educational system and address the issues that are critical and necessary for national growth and development, we will only belong in the playground for little boys, playing with toys made for us by the big men who are making giant strides in all that they aspire to, while we are content with the toys, sweets, and pats on the head that they give us. This is not the Uganda of our forefathers and ancestors’ dreams.
Uganda is an industrial powerhouse on the verge of exploding if any of us would be less selfish and greedy. That is the Uganda that should be ecstatic about its oil output in a few years, not the parody of a country that we have now. The President took the oath of office promising to take us to the promised land. He has a limited time left in office to redeem himself and ensure a lasting legacy for himself as well as a promising future for our country.
The author is a Commonwealth correspondent in Uganda