To end impoverishment, Uganda needs a new leadership and economic agenda

Poverty – broadly defined – is a social problem that stifles the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Ugandans need to regain freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom to live in dignity. Today, in 2011, except a few families, Ugandans are absolutely poor (in the sense that they cannot meet basic necessities of life). They are sick, getting insane and selling their children to make ends meet. They are undereducated, poorly fed, poorly sheltered, poorly clothed and unemployed.

Maternal mortality is rising and undernourished women are producing underweight children with permanent physical and mental disabilities thus undermining human capital formation. Maximum brain development is stifled because of poor diet during the first three years of life from conception. And Ugandans have the lowest life expectancy in the whole of East Africa, reflecting the lowest level of the standard of living.

Ugandans still use primitive implements such as hand hoes and machetes. They broadcast seed by hand, weed by hand, harvest by hand and grind the grain by hand as was done in medieval times.

Land is life

Fourth appearance on Radio Munansi

Greetings fellow Ugandans and friends

In this session I wish to share with you why in Uganda land is life and cannot be sold or leased to outsiders as is being done by NRM government.

1. Every human being needs land for a house, factory, recreation, garden, final resting place or a combination of all these functions.

2. Thus, every Ugandan whether educated, urban dweller, wage earner or not should have a piece of land. President Museveni stressed this point of land ownership when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2008. He stated that in Uganda all families own land. This point was well received by the audience.

3. Land ownership is especially vital for those who do not have non-agricultural skills.

4. Based on how an urban area is defined, some 90 percent of Ugandans still derive their livelihood from land.

5. The issue of land occupied the attention of colonial authorities. After serious debate between London and Entebbe taking into consideration the failure of European plantation agriculture in the 1920s, the colonial administration decided that Uganda’s land would be owned and worked virtually by Uganda peasants.

Rwanda government can do what it wants with impunity

I have read, listened to debates and conversed with many people in Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Nations in New York to find out why Rwanda authorities – government and armed forces – are not held accountable for the atrocities they are reported to have committed since 1990 when RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) invaded Rwanda and are still committing in Eastern DRC and Rwanda itself.

In January/February 2010, I spent thirty days in Burundi, DRC and Rwanda and conversed with many people from all walks of life. I got a lot of information mostly from informal and anonymous conversations. The following information is what I have collected before, during and after the mission. I am making this contribution in an effort to find a durable solution to the challenges not only in Rwanda but in the Great Lakes region as a whole.

Enabling environment

Some developments have emboldened Rwanda government (and its army) to do what it wants with impunity. Here are some of them.