Famines have occurred throughout human history in all parts of the world although the intensity and frequency have declined considerably except in Africa. Although famines predate written history, available records show that they have been recorded since 400 B.C.
Although there is no universally accepted definition, famines or severe hunger occur due to a combination of failure of food production or distribution, rising food prices, unemployment and depletion of assets which impoverish victims leading to sharply increased mortality due to starvation and associated diseases. Thus famines are characterized by excess deaths, social disruption and economic chaos. Here are a few illustrative examples of famines around the world.
Following the elimination by Parliament of term limits that had been built into the 1995 Uganda Constitution, President Museveni is eligible to run for President of Uganda as many times as he wishes. He has already declared he is running in 2011.
Under the current constitutional arrangements, President Museveni has a right to run. However, his decision to run in 2011 has raised two issues. Some people are saying that if he runs he should not be supported because he has been in power for too long. He should therefore step aside so that others can try their luck.
report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
issued in September 2008 warned that 80 percent of Uganda will become desert within
100 years. This warning should be taken very seriously. Already there are some
parts of the country where desert conditions are evident especially during the
is important to remember that the present Sahara desert was once fertile and green where crop cultivation and herding thrived.
Around 5000 BC, animals including cattle were domesticated in the area. And
between about 4000 BC and about 2000 BC the Sahara was full of economic activity and well populated.
the climate changed: wet periods became shorter and eventually the area turned
into a desert forcing the dwellers to move away into other parts of Africa and Asia. Fortunately there were places to go to.
order to take corrective measures in Uganda, there is an urgent need to
identify the causes of thermal and hydrological changes that are taking place. So
far there are three schools of thought.
2007 and 2008 world leaders gathered in New
York City to discuss world affairs including the
implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Noting that Africa
especially Sub-Saharan Africa may not achieve
any of the MDGs by 2015 they concluded that the region was in a state of
emergency requiring massive and urgent international support.
the rapidly deteriorating social and environmental conditions in Uganda leave no
doubt that the ‘Pearl of Africa’ is in deep trouble with a bleak future.
Reports from credible sources reveal that 30 percent of Ugandans are suffering from
hunger, over 33 percent of Uganda’s population are suffering from mental
illness, 40 percent of children under the age of five are undernourished, 12
percent of infants are born underweight because their mothers are
undernourished, up to 80 percent of children are dropping out of primary school
largely because they are hungry (and most of the 20 percent who graduate are
functionally illiterate) and 80 percent of Uganda will turn into a desert
within 100 years largely because of extensive de-vegetation including draining
swamps. Uganda ranks among the top ten countries in the world in alcohol consumption. Add on
the fact that over 22 percent of children between the ages of one and nine
years have trachoma, the leading cause of blindness, and one has no choice but
to conclude definitively that Uganda is indeed in a state of emergency!
In my message of September 12, 2008 to the Prime Minister of Uganda I referred to a preference for prevention, because it is less costly in all areas of human activity, than cure.
Land has become the nation’s single most controversial issue in Uganda’s political economy and history. This is the second time the country has been confronted with the land dilemma. The British administration was faced with this challenge at the start of its administration. However, after careful and informed discussions between London and Entebbe, it was definitively decided that Uganda’s land belongs to Ugandans. The British recognized that Ugandans and their future generations have an inalienable right to ownership and utilization of that land. Besides it is the only asset that the peasants, 90 percent of Uganda’s total population, possess. Ugandans should therefore be very careful, especially the executive and legislative branches of government, in applying theoretical advice floating around about how best to utilize Uganda’s land to integrate the country into the global economy and modernize its society. Four proposals to dispossess Ugandans of their land have been made that need sober examination.