With all the resources in Uganda and donor money and the work that needs to be done, there is no reason why Uganda should suffer the current unacceptable high level of open and disguised (underemployment) unemployment. Instead, youth open unemployment stands at over 80 percent that has triggered mass poverty also at over 80 percent. In a true democratic country, Museveni would have been impeached. But he is still around governing with an iron fist threatening to crush those who oppose his vision of ‘under-developing” Uganda into a Fourth World country and impoverishing over 80 percent of Uganda citizens. NRM dismal performance is a function of two factors.
First, Museveni knows exactly what to do to get Ugandans to work and end unemployment. But he can’t do it because that would empower and encourage Ugandans to oppose his long stay in power. So to keep them powerless and voiceless, he has chosen to marginalize them through unemployment and disguised unemployment. Without paying attention to lessons of history and how unemployed mobs can easily turn revolutionary as in France in 1789 and Russia in 1917, Museveni believes poor people can be sat on forever. If the trend continues recent by-elections are sending a signal that Museveni’s time may be up for voluntary exit or he could face a revolution of French or Russian style led by poor, hungry and unemployed mobs – and we have plenty of them in Kampala and elsewhere. Don’t rule out the possibility of disgruntled security forces joining the mobs. There are rumors that cracks are opening up in some sections of the forces.
On this Mothers’ Day, United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) congratulates and wishes you all the best. We appreciate the work you do often under difficult conditions at home and abroad. You are wonderful mothers and we thank you. Besides motherhood, you have played and – in many cases – championed work in Uganda’s economic, social, cultural, ecological, spiritual and increasingly political areas. The role of mothers in education, healthcare, nutrition and general hygiene through organizations like Mothers Union is particularly noteworthy. Your current struggle to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms has been noticed worldwide and highly appreciated.
From time immemorial mothers have made history and championed major changes of historic significance. Mothers including in France, Russia, United Kingdom and South Africa played vital roles at critical moments in history. One of the reasons for their struggle was to get empowered so that they can participate fully in decisions that affect their lives. The mothers of Uganda need to be empowered with support of the government, development partners and other organizations.
UDU’s National Recovery Plan (NPR) accessible at www.udugandans.org has accorded gender issues a very high priority. A Department of Gender was created in the UDU Secretariat to ensure that gender issues get all the attention they rightly deserve. The head of the Department is Ms. Dorothy Lubowa.
The issue of immigration has taken center stage in domestic, regional and international debates. Global economic hardship and the associated high unemployment as well as demographic dynamics have triggered the resurgence of interest in reviewing the benefits and costs of immigration. In Uganda concerns about immigrants’ disproportionate participation in the economy, politics and security forces are being expressed in various forums. Globalization and East African economic integration processes have opened Uganda gates to all kinds of immigrants with serious political, economic, moral and cultural repercussions.
Uganda’s story about immigration goes back to the 1920s. Pull economic factors as Uganda began cultivating cotton and later coffee that required a lot of labor and push political and economic factors in neighboring countries especially then Rwanda-Urundi resulted in many immigrants entering Uganda in search of work. Other immigrant workers came from Kenya and then Tanganyika. They located in areas where they could find jobs according to their skills. Those with herding skills went to cattle herding areas in all parts of the country particularly in Ankole, Buganda, Eastern and Northern Uganda. Those with farming experience found jobs in cotton and coffee growing areas in Buganda and parts of Eastern Uganda. Some workers returned to their countries of origin, others stayed. Some of those who stayed married local women, adopted local languages and culture and got completely assimilated. Others adopted local languages and names but married women mostly from their country of origin or from their ethnic groups already in Uganda and resisted assimilation or Ugandanization.
Enlightenment and dialectics have entered into Uganda’s political economy discourse. They have developed a questioning mind about who is governing them, why our institutions and systems (education, health, nutrition, agriculture, ecology, urban housing etc) are collapsing, why Uganda’s population growth is excluding migrants and focusing on natural growth alone (births minus deaths) which is half the story.
The people of Uganda are beginning to understand their inalienable rights – God-given rights – that no leader can take away. These are not privileges. When a leader denies the people their inalienable rights, they have a right to demand them back. And that is what the people of Uganda are demanding their rights right now. Through disenfranchisement, many Ugandans were denied their right to elect their representatives at the presidential, parliamentary and local levels.
Authorities and development partners are worried that Uganda’s population ‘explosion’ (which has been exaggerated as one of the highest in the world which is not true because there are countries with over four percent versus Uganda’s 3.2 percent growth rate which has remained stable for decades) will constrain economic growth, social progress and aggravate environmental degradation. If Uganda’s economy is growing at an average annual rate of 6 percent and projected to increase and population at 3 percent and projected to decline albeit slowly then population growth will not fundamentally undermine economic growth. Poverty is high because of skewed income distribution in favor of a few rich families connected with the first family and in-laws. Rural environment has been damaged largely by reckless extensive agriculture and draining wetlands that leads to clearance of large swathes of vegetation and commercial ranches owned by few rich families as in Kabale and Nyabushoz districts. Urban decay has been caused basically by mismanagement, corruption and lack of planning.