Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Woe unto you if you are for or indifferent to the conversion of part of Mabira forest reserve for sugar production. That is the way sections of the mainstream media, citizen media and social network platforms, together with so-called environmentalists, are trying to have an advantage over those who agree or are passive to President Museveni's recent suggestion in light of the current economic problems. In particular, sugar prices have joined other commodity costs in an upward spiral. Sugar prices, on the other hand, should not be rising the way they have because Uganda has the internal capacity to produce a lot of it to meet domestic demand and even have surplus and thus keep prices low. However, we have a deficit, hence exploitative pricing, and the answer is to produce more.

This debate should be devoid of sentiment and taking the moral high ground. These very two aspects, however, are the central motivator in those against President Museveni's suggestion, in addition to political differences. First and foremost, the sentimental side cries about the price of sugar being beyond what the poor can afford. That seems noble except for the fact that it does not mention that when sugar prices recently dipped they did so only in Kampala and, even then, in places where the rich usually shop! Why is that? Should we not be appealing, for the sake of saving Mabira, not just to President Museveni, but to traders too? The poor already have it hard saving for the future on little incomes and high prices. Wouldn't it be sensible to 'sacrifice' part of Mabira now and look at mitigation measures for the future? Are we completely without the technical knowledge and capacity, with the thousands of university students the poor pay tuition for in government institutions, to come up with ways to mitigate any effects of a possible Mabira conversion? I don't think so!

Those who take the environmental moral high ground are some of the biggest hypocrites and polluters in Uganda. Honourable Beatrice Anywar, for instance, drives a big fuel-guzzling Toyota Land Cruiser sports utility vehicle, which each day emits more carbon dioxide into the environment than an average rural household does in a month. Is this the kind of person that we should believe is sincere about the environment when she opposes the conversion of part of Mabira forest reserve? When she and those like her travel to Nairobi or Juba, I bet they prefer to do so by aeroplane, which is the biggest contributor to the accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and therefore climate change and environmental degradation. The common poor Ugandan, who pays more for his sugar but emits less CO2, has to bear the bulk of the 'sacrifice' in 'saving Mabira'. Where is the 'sacrifice' of these do-gooder political activists hiding behind the environment? In their 'public servant', 'people's representative' status? I don't think so.

I urge the media not to just regurgitate what the activists are saying just because it is fashionable to be concerned for the environment. The hard questions must be asked on both and all sides. Asking the hard questions will make us all wiser because, for sure, Mabira forest is not the alpha and omega of Uganda's environment. Of the two sides, I believe the blackmailers are those opposed to the Mabira forest reserve conversion, not President Museveni.

Martin Makara,
Kansanga, Makindye Municipality, Kampala.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Day One on the Obamagenda

... no Uganda, no DR Congo, no LRA ...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ad on Ugandan Radio: "INDIAN General Manager Wanted ..."

I heard on Star Radio on the morning of Tuesday 13th of January 2009 a job vacancy announcement for (incredibly) an INDIAN general manager! Is this allowed? Is the management of the company with the vacancy aware of the laws of this country regarding ethnic discrimantion? Do they feel that it is morally right to seek to employ people of a particular ethnicity for particular jobs? Has the management of the company concerned forgotten the vulnerability of the minority Asian community in Uganda to sentiments against it among a significantly vocal section of indeginous Africans? I urge the Indian Community to condemn this company's behaviour and for the authorities to repremand it for discrimination. Failure to do so would justify advertisements such as:

Company seeking - Acholi managing director; Rwandan secretary; Lugbara guard; Karimajong farm manager e.t.c.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ugandan Women Activists: Prove You're Not Oppositionist

To some of us, right or wrong, the prominent women's rights activist machinery in Uganda is oppositionist. We see them quick to point out with zeal cases of suspected women abuse involving people connected to NRM but slow and almost blind to others. The case involving the gruesome murder of a young woman and an opposition MP has not drawn the amount of interest from women's rights activists I have been accustomed to.

It is, however, not too late for them to redeem the oppositionist impression they have put in us. Their invovement in making sure that the investigators handle this case with utmost professionalism and alertness will be very important. In the meantime, I urge them to put pressure on the police leadership to punish whoever is responsible for the 12 hour delayed repsonse to calls about the murder of Ms. Rehema Caeser. An opportunity for justice could might have been lost because of some police officer's negligence and incompetence.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ugandans' Support for Obama is not Principled

I am not one of those that are euphoric about Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency of the United States. I prefer to applaud the part of the performance I like and when the curtains come down, depending on overall delivery. Nevertheless, I understand the excitement that has led to the man taking on popular star and deity status to the extent that it is fashionable to be seen in a T-shirt bearing his image.

Mr. Obama is a symbol of progressiveness, among other things, but most of all, an inspiration to many. The ‘inspiration’ bit that is often mentioned is what bothers me. We have often queued up to identify with personalities because of what they stood for but have hardly shaped our beliefs and actions to match them. How many times have we heard our leaders naming Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, Anwar Sadat and others as role models yet they themselves are some of the most fractious individuals? How exactly is Obama supposed to be an inspiration? When we have lined up to congratulate him for his achievement, what are our thoughts about what he stands for? Is Obama a package or a charismatic Black man separate from his principles and general belief system? If I may, let me suggest to my fellow Ugandans what Obama should inspire:
  • Respect for minorities: Obama is a member of a minority community in the US. This is an important lesson for those of us who look down on minority communities to the extent of ignoring and suppressing their identities
  • Tolerance: Obama could have ran an angry and bitter campaign. He won on a message of unity and reconciliation
  • ‘The past is in the past … let us look to the future’: Obama could have gone on about the absence of his father in his life, reparations for slavery, e.t.c. He chose the message that we should use the past to shape the future but not to transplant it to the present.
  • Spiritual and cultural figures are not infallible and if they fail, we should not hesitate to let them know. Obama distanced himself from his spiritual leader when the latter fell short of his expectations.
  • We get inspiration for others in history not so that we can be fashionable or feel good about ourselves but to inspire others and form a ‘chain of inspiration’. It would be pointless for me to say that Obama inspires me when my messages to others are divisive and inflammatory.
  • ‘Yes we can’: Yes we can let Baruuli have Sabaruuli; yes we can carry out a campaign against spiritually-inspired murders; yes we can influence our drivers to be more disciplined; yes we can be Ugandans first and everything else after; yes we can confront corrupt and abusive officers, e.t.c. The possibilities that exist if we apply that slogan in the cultures, politics, business and other sectors of our country are limitless.

Let Obama not be just a fashion statement like many African icons have turned out to be over the years. We should take everything that he symbolises and tailor it into our personal and collective belief systems

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Racism = Africans Only Supporting Obama because He's 'Black'

Take away Barack Obama’s skin colour and recent-generation African roots and I find nothing else of benefit in his campaign to Africa, Uganda and me in particular. That is, of course, if one does not (like me) consider superficial feel-good sentiments that are going around much of Black Africa a benefit. I painfully listened to a call-in programme on one of our local language radio stations in which a caller said, “… nsaba omusajja waffe, Obama, awangule naffe tweyagale ko …”(… I pray that our Obama wins so that we can feel proud too …).

Obama’s tenure, if he gets it, will be first and foremost about the US domestically. Africa would be the casualty of raised hopes dashed by an administration looking inwards, as it should, in order to guarantee election for a second term. That is of no concern to me. Obama’s would be an American government by the American people and for the American people. What concerns me is the values that I cherish as an African and Ugandan and how the Obama campaign and possible administration would affect them.

Like a significant majority of Africans, and Ugandans in particular, I am rabidly pro-family, anti-abortion, against homosexual relationships, would like strong religious-based morals taught in schools and support a pragmatic rather than idealistic approach to environmental issues. These issues are very strong to me. Given the saying that when America sneezes the rest of the world catches cold, an Obama administration would strengthen the forces around the world that do not share our values and whose pockets are quite deep. A Democratic administration at Washington would use agencies like USAID to advocate for and fund anti-African values causes.

It is also my observation that much of the support Barack Obama is getting among Black Africans at home and overseas is simply because he is black and has nothing to do with his position on issues that are dear to them. Ironically many of them would give Obama a torrid time campaigning in many African countries due to his mixed parentage. Had his father been Kenyan and mother Ugandan, I believe he would not even get nominated by any of our political parties to run for president. He would not be considered Ugandan. We all know how President Museveni’s ethnic origins have been used as a weapon against his presidency. Otherwise, for the sake of Africa and Uganda’s real hopes and aspirations, rather than assumed ones, we should look beyond Barack Obama’s skin colour. Our future should not be compromised by sectarian and racist perceptions.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Why Only Small Fish Will Always Fry In Uganda

I thank Dan Ogwal and H.G.K. Nyakoojo for their letters in The New Vision of 16th June in which they point out MPs’ selfishness in their boycotting of the Budget speech in parliament. The habit of thinking mostly about themselves does not stop with our MPs but also spreads to all of our politicians, it seems. Miria Matembe added her voice to the issue of the recent police harassment of two female MPs criticising everyone but herself.

In my opinion, she should be in the same dock as those she is pointing her finger at. Thousands of women are facing some form of injustice everyday right under her nose but she will not say anything because they are ‘small people’ who are not likely to attract a quote in the news media. Matembe and her peers see them everyday that they drive along Kampala streets sweeping, raking and digging without any protective wear or protection from potentially getting knocked down by vehicles. The upcountry hotels they sleep and attend workshops in pay their girls peanuts for 15-hour shifts of work. Young women employed in small businesses that Matembe may sometimes transact with face the worst working conditions on top of insecure terms of employment.

What people like Ogwal, Nyakoojo and I are saying is, like Shakespeare’s Shylock, when we commoners are pricked, we too bleed; when we are tickled, we too laugh. The women in the situations above face injustice every single day of their lives, which should be more significant compared with the few hours of discomfort faced by the harassed MPs. But, alas, they are just small fish in a big pond where only the big sharks are noticed by Matembe and her likes.

Friday, May 23, 2008


“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out because I was a Protestant. And when they came for me, but there was no one left to speak out for me.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer – 1906-1945 (executed by Adolf Hitler).

This poem always comes to mind when I hear leaders and authorities in Uganda and abroad making excuses for xenophobic acts and utterances to the effect that they are just vents for social frustration. What is happening in South Africa is xenophobia – period. The above poem shows that one of the characteristics of xenophobia is that it is like an insatiable animal that must always be fed.

The roots of xenophobia in South Africa grew deeper during the Apartheid era. What limited black-on-black prejudices was the bigger and common fight against Apartheid. Liberation in the mid-1990’s offered more distractions that kept xenophobia at a low. What we are witnessing now is the true South Africa that has been artificially suppressed by historical events, which we all know are not permanent.

The authorities and leadership in South Africa have for long exhibited disturbing levels of naïveté both domestically and internationally. They seem to have forgotten that descriptive phrases such as “The Rainbow Nation”, “Many Cultures, One Nation” and “A World in One Country” are merely publicity slogans and not necessarily reality on the ground. With Apartheid out of the way, the insatiable animal that is xenophobia is seeking to be fed. Today it has zeroed in on immigrants, tomorrow it will want someone else and what it wants, it usually gets

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Stories of Bundibugyo District Hospital not being equipped to protect its staff, patients and the public from possibly being infected with the Ebola virus are depressing to me as a Ugandan, heartbreaking as a supporter of NRM but also puzzling as a sympathizer of the Bundibugyo community. What depresses and breaks my heart is the fact that the district has elected leadership at all of the stages of the political structures as well as highly educated civil servants; the district headquarters, RDC’s and district health offices are barely two hundred metres from the hospital and the offices of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are located within its neighbourhood. So why did The New Vision reporters who are not resident in Bundibugyo find the mess that they did at the hospital at the very height of a very serious viral outbreak? I know that we have a very serious problem as Ugandans (regardless of our political, communal and social inclinations) of not paying attention to details, but Ebola is no joke! We know how it is transmitted and we know what to do about it so let us get up and move.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Ugandan consultants are a very brilliant lot. Their expertise, qualifications and grasp on technical issues are well above international average, in my opinion. Why then are Ugandan consultancies not successful? I have noticed that they are always on the brink of something: on some days on the brink of succeeding and, on many more others, of failing. And it is the consultants themselves to blame. The same consultants who claim that they have the key to your business’s success can barely look at their own books of accounts. Why? Because they do not practice what they preach to others.

They preach about ethical practice and integrity but they are the worst manipulators and are shamelessly greedy. They will cut project budget amounts for every other item, especially personnel, but will never touch provisions for their own remunerations. Consultants preach to others about the need for and importance of motivating staff and yet their own are some of the least happy workforces around. They preach about the importance of good interpersonal relations within organisations and yet they themselves fuel feuds and wars within their own organisations (a result of their shameless greed and preference for manipulation rather than diplomacy). Fairness and equity are other favoured verses from their management bibles yet they themselves are anything but. Ugandan consultants are addicted to short-changing other project personnel. They preach about openness and accountability but are the worst in inking clear employment terms for the people they employ if they provide any at all.

All of the above can be summarised under three sub-titles: dishonesty, arrogance (preaching but not practicing and, in most religions, a top-of-the-list sin - subjecting others to conditions they would not want for themselves) and shameless greed for money. These are the enemies of any organisation. All consultancies depend a great deal on human intellect and effort so when you short-change people, you actually end up shortening the life of your consultancy. You gain the reputation of ‘the one that does not pay’. One does not need to look further than what is mentioned above to know why firms and individuals get blacklisted by contracting organisations.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Carbon footprint calculator launched - Yahoo! News UK

Martin Makara (martmakara@yahoo.co.uk) has sent you a news article

Personal message text:

This is a good thing that should be publicised and monitored in Uganda and all vulnerable African countries.


Carbon footprint calculator launched


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cart Before the Horse: Workers MP's are Offside.

Dear Sir,


Uganda's lack of a strong trades union system was supposed to be solved by the representation of workers in parliament. Trades union, though a good for the workers, can cause damaging instability for fragile economies like Uganda's that already have it rough recovering from total breakdown. Representation in parliament was supposed to act for workers as a substitute for them.


Representation of workers in parliament has hardly achieved much for them. A simple look at the streets of Kampala and other towns will reveal cleaners unhealthily working without protective gear. This is the same case in building and road construction. The workers' MP's have never sought legislation disqualifying contractors who do not provide protective wear for their employees from winning central and local government contracts. No worthy potential contractor would not like to qualify for a government contract, therefore such rules would be complied with by many. Also a poor and exploitative public transport system hurts workers most but, notoriously, workers' MP's are 'deafeningly' silent about it. The high and unpredictable fares, on top of scarcity of PSV's at peak hours, hurt the worker financially and mentally every single working day. This affects productivity and potentially makes Uganda's labour force less competitive, thus discouraging investment and threatening Ugandans' employment opportunities. These MP's have never sought legislation compelling tender boards to include service users who are in most cases workers. Awards of public transport management tenders therefore seldom have any input from passengers because they have no designated representation, hence the exploitative nature of the industry.


It is my opinion, therefore, that opposition to the proposed local service tax by workers' MP's is myopic and disgustingly populist. What should be opposed is any unfair assessment of each individual's obligations to make sure that it is not oppressive; not the tax per se. The tax has the potential of increasing employment opportunities and improving service delivery in rural towns and areas. Though not easy to accurately establish, I am certain that employed Ugandans have in some way borne the burden of the unemployed and poor service delivery in rural areas through disbursements for everything from extended family members' school uniforms to human and animal medical care. An increase in public cash in rural areas has the potential of stimulating economic activity there and reducing financial burdens on directly elected politicians who are costing the economy a lot of money.


Our workers' MP's should instead be constructive and suggest that the Bonna Bagaggawale scheme, SACCO's, commercial banks, microfinance and other financial institutions incorporate the local service tax into the products and services offered to their customers. This would most of all go a long way in popularising and promoting a saving culture among workers at all levels. Local governments can use these institutions to collect the tax as well as distribute the tax certificates in convenient ways to both the taxpayer and collector. Those who feel that a lump sum payment would hurt them can make arrangements with their respective financial services provider to pay for them the full amount which would be recovered in instalments convenient to and agreed upon by both parties. After all is said, the local service tax should not be outrightly opposed. What should be opposed is the magnitude of its burden on payers.


Martin Makara,


Yahoo! Answers - Get better answers from someone who knows. Try it now.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

martmakara@yahoo.co.uk has sent you a New Vision News Article!

Hi there!

martmakara@yahoo.co.uk thought you might be interested in this article from The New Vision online: http://www.newvision.co.ug

They also added this comment:
"What is Jane Kasumba saying?"

UBC content is professionally selected

SIR — I write in response to Mr martin Makara's letter "UBC, what message do you wish to convey in 'Wife Swap'" published yesterday. makara insinuates that some of the content aired on UBC a few days ago, bordered on immorality.

I wish to assure your readers and our viewers that we take stringent measures to sieve our programmes. Our programmes aim to be informative, educative and entertaining. The programmes you watch are professionally selected by our programmers to ensure they are in line with our editorial policy. Our producers and directors preview all content before it goes on air.

Thereafter a detailed report is written on the programme. This report will determine the life span of the programme on our airwaves. These are not the only precautionary measures employed by UBC. Programmes that may require parental guidance always mention this before the programme. A TV mention scroll is also used within the programme to caution the viewer. Any graphic content in a programme is always edited before it goes on air. Programmes that may have episodes where parental guidance is advised have their time slots changed.

All such programmes air after midnight. Programmes that may deviate from our editorial policy are not aired. Above all our producers and directors also painstakingly create local programmes that aim to morally uplift our viewers. Even in the instance of Wife Swap, one or more of the above precautions was taken. I thank your readers and our viewers for their constant support and interest in UBC.

Jane Kasumba (PRO)
For Management

You can also read the article online at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/detail.php?mainNewsCategoryId=8&newsCategoryId=21&newsId=569040

Uganda Cranes or Uganda Chameleons?

Now that the ‘small’ issue of beating ‘our new biggest sporting rivals’, Nigeria, is done and dusted (what insolence!), we have never had a better time to accord serious attention to something many of us wrongly take to be simply cosmetic – consistent and attractive national football/sports kits. Three or four different football kits in as many home games is disturbing to some fans like me. If there are still any doubts about the abilities and competencies of FUFA’s new management, given the body’s lousy past, inconsistency with kits is not helping to cast them aside. My fears that a kit for Ugandans to be proud of, like Cameroon’s, were not being taken seriously were not laid to rest by the casual manner in which FUFA’s Aldrine Nsusbuga dismissed it as unimportant. While appearing on UBC, he was asked by Jane Kasumba which of the three different replica shirts in the studio that night was part of the official Cranes kits. His answer: ‘it doesn’t matter as long as it has something to do with Uganda on it’. That may be true for the fans but should not apply to the Cranes too.

Replicas of former official kits supplied by Hummel are quite popular simply because they are beautiful. There is the white one with black, yellow and red stripes and impressions of crested cranes (Nsubuga wore this one in the TV programme and in Nigeria ), and the yellow one with black and red bars in its bottom half with ‘ Uganda ’ emblazoned on the chest. These shirts were dumped quite unceremoniously and I have heard some people insinuate that it is because they are a child of Dennis Obua’s FUFA regime. However, judging from the popularity of the Hummel shirts, even with tourists and expatriates, I think they should come back! Their potential for marketing for the Cranes, FUFA and suppliers looks very promising. If there are any obstacles stopping Uganda from accessing those popular designs from anywhere else than Hummel, we should know so that in case there are any financial implications, we deal with them.

The unveiling of a kit in some countries for club and national sides are occasions of pomp and ceremony. I think it would be good for Lawrence Mulindwa and company to unveil the two kits mentioned above as the official ones for the Cranes in the next few weeks while we are still high on beating Nigeria and long before we play Niger. It would be nice to have them before the Lesotho game, but that would probably be asking for too much. We can never accurately quantify the contribution of visuals in marketing anything but we know that they play very important selling and identity roles. FUFA should stop looking at kits as being just cosmetic and simple ways for referees to tell one side from another. They are quite serious stuff.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

30 Pieces of Silver to Save 1 Baby is no Sin

First of all, I respect the opinions of those who oppose the proposed conversion of a part of Mabira forest to sugarcane growing and I am sure that they have good intentions. However, so does President Museveni and those of us who support it. This is in response to Fr. Alex Ojacor's narrow and elitist views on the said conversion in his article Mabira giveaway: selling life for 30 pieces of silver (Sunday Vision, 6th May). He expresses concern that people today have to look harder for building material unlike in the past and yet in the modern world, if one is employed and getting remunerative income, which the 'Mabira giveaway' is aiming to provide, they would not be expected to go to a forest or thicket to collect building materials. They would not have the time for that because someone is paying for that time. When such people want to build houses, they pay providers of building materials who collect them from a sustainable source which has to be replenished because he (the provider) would be out of business if it was depleted. The more the people with remunerative income, the bigger the market for the building materials provider and the better will be his capacity to ensure a sustainable source of the materials.
Yes, God told human beings to be 'fruitful and multiply; fill the earth ...' but that is the problem. When Ojacor was growing up, Uganda's population was probably just a quarter of what it is now. Now that puts pressure on the little land formerly left for human habitation and on the forests and thickets for building materials to provide housing for increasing populations. Technology is God's gift through the intelligence he gave human beings that has enabled man to live in huge populations on otherwise limited space - urbanisation. Urbanisation would relieve the pressure on the land but it is not possible without industrialisation as we have seen in the developed countries.
Ojacor further decries the fact that trees are being cut down for firewood and charcoal. My take on this is that that is man exercising his God-given permission to have dominion over the earth. People do not use firewood and charcoal as toys but as resources for survival. What Ojacor should be worried about is the non-replenishment of the source of these survival resources. According to his line of argument, I believe that he would pass a very harsh judgement on a mother who cuts down a tree so that her babies do not sleep on empty stomachs but let a man who drives his car to buy airtime from a shop that is just two hundred metres from his home or office get off scot-free. To me, the mother can plead self-defence against hunger for her babies but the man should be judged as the real environmental criminal. The environmental criminals are the rich people who switch on all ten security lights in their compounds at 6:30 pm and not the poor ones who burn charcoal so that they can get money to pay school fees for their children.
If the 'Mabira give-away' is likened to risking selling our heritage and future for a mere 30 pieces of silver, I am happy to support government to take that risk. If the proposed sugar plantation is going to provide 3,500 opportunities for employment for Ugandans (which may be about the total population of Catholic priests in Uganda), the sacrifice is worth it. With the obscenely widening gap between the rich and the poor, how many opportunities do we have to close it with projects of this magnitude? 3,500 jobs means giving a better future to hundreds of mothers and children who are vulnerable only because their households do not bring in regular incomes. If 30 pieces of silver from the 'Mabira give-away' can guarantee that one more expectant mother will go a maternity ward and walk out healthy after a successful birth and with a healthy baby, I am certain God will understand because He is not rigid.

Carbon Emissions Can Be Deliberate Weapons of Mass Destruction

The BBC World Service Have Your Say programme of 4th May, revealed something that made me shiver. On the subject of the introduction into the market of a device that helps expectant parents know the sex of their unborn child, some contributors to the programme supported its potential for causing widespread abortion of unwanted babies. They argued that the world is overpopulated and therefore the device can be good for population control.
Though shocked at that line of argument, I had chosen not to give it any more attention but it came back to haunt me when the programme went on to discuss global warming. Listeners were being asked what they thought about the fact that developing countries are being told that if they developed to the levels of the first world countries, planet Earth would not be able to cope with the resultant negative effects on the environment. It got methinking: if some people in the western world are concerned about the global population being too big, what would stop a deliberate move to increase carbon emissions thus triggering accelerated global warming that would decimate those most vulnerable in the third world in order to achieve desirable population levels?
This may sound a little far-fetched but if such questions were asked in their respective situations, the Holocaust and the Balkan and Rwanda genocides would probably have been foreseen and stopped before they happened. The thought of this has increased my resolve to support accelerated economic growth and industrialisation in Uganda at whatever cost because time is not on our side. Only a richer and self-sustaining Uganda can defend itself best against any threats including global warming as we now see with China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil and other countries. These countries have used economic growth to ensure that their people are insulated against many of the threats that Uganda is still very vulnerable to.
Contrary to what the Ugandan elite would like to believe, Uganda's is not a stand-alone environment. The whole world is warming up (that iswhy it is called global warming) not just because Uganda's forests are threatened but more because of the economic growth, industrialisation and increased consumption in developed countries. Tackling climate change is supposed to be a global effort with every country working in tandem. However, the world is far away from reaching any concrete agreement because of the inequalities among nations. The richer nations will not sacrifice their growth so that poverty-stricken Uganda can survive while, ironically, some Ugandans are willing to sacrifice human lives that would be saved through the gaining of livelihoods that comes with growth.
The Ugandan and third world elite and governments should look at global warming and industrialisation more as questions of national security, sovereignty and survival than merely issues of the environment and economics.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Uganda Needs a Public Transport Authority

‘UTODA Prepares for CHOGM’ was a headline in The New Vision of March 27th and that is the only part of the story I read. I have learnt not to go any further with stories of UTODA in the newspapers. Many times announcements are made by this unpopular private public service provider and the newspapers are kind enough to publish them only for them to turn out to be hollow. So now, to me at least, UTODA is like the proverbial little boy who cried ‘wolf!’.

I believe that the organisation lacks a professional public relations mechanism within its operations. Someone once wrote that it should be applauded for employing a big number of musomo gwalema (personnel with little or no education). There is, however, absolutely no reason why UTODA should exhibit that in the way it is run. All of this would be solved if government formed a autonomous Public Transport Authority. The President has said that we should stop chasing demand and start planning for it instead. I believe that this should be the same in the public transport sector. The Licencing Board of the Department of Transport has its bureaucratic limitations, whose most evident product is the quality of taxis, their drivers and conductors and the setting of fares. Autonomous authorities have plugged similar weaknesses in other sectors especially when it comes to ensuring that policies are implemented.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Whether we keep Mabira gazetted or not, Uganda remains at the very bottom of the global warming food chain. Even before the suggested degazetting, we have been experiencing the negative effects of climate change in Uganda for decades now. The world is now at the other end of something that started about two hundred years ago with the industrialisation in Europe and later North America. Uganda is not responsible for the global climate change we witness today. Two hundred years ago our biggest contribution to global carbon emissions was through cooking and making decorative accessories, spears and arrows. Our ecosystem is still richer than the ones in countries we look up to as the most progressive and powerful and run to for kyeeyo and environmental conferences.

Why are we then still the most vulnerable to climate change? We have a rich ecosystem; only ten percent of our homes have electricity, about the same have vehicles and we do not own fleets of ships or airplanes. So why is Uganda getting a worse ‘climatic bloody nose’ than those with nationwide electricity coverage and more planes than our buses? In short, Uganda is not contributing significantly to global warming. It is the world’s economic powers that are doing it. We, however, do not hear that there is hunger there and yet, with our rich ecosystem that attracts tourists, we have already sounded the alarm that the enemy is in our backyard.

The reason for our situation, with our eco-faithfulness, is that we are poor. We are rooted at the bottom of every development indicator from literacy to mortality to attracting investment to wearing shoes. Because of this, we even have no say on what the world needs to do to improve the climate situation. Nobody listens to us because we are a poor and small country whose significance in world affairs is of one that is tolerated. China and Brazil have at some point almost told their critics to go to hell when they questioned their environmental credentials. They remain some of those most courted by investors and tourists. They have attained a level where the agricultural policies in other countries barely affect their economies, unlike Uganda. They are instead in the league of those that affect others with their domestic policies. When Brazil started using her sugarcane to make bio-fuel, in Uganda sugar prices skyrocketed and even became political. The same happened in Mexico when the US started making fuel out its corn making the price of the staple fajitas too high for our fellow third-worlders.

Is it not ironic that you can judge the poor and the rich, states and people, by how much carbon they contribute to the environment? The poor pollute less and the rich are a catastrophe and yet everybody, even the loudest environmentalist, wants to be and stay rich! Uganda needs to get rich to fight for the environment globally, not just at home where there will be little impact. We need to integrate with our neighbours, produce and export more and create jobs. Studies show that soon we shall be loosing more to global warming than we have got in foreign aid ironically from those that are responsible for our doomed destiny. I do not hear us threatening to boycott their aid, products and consultants. Our destiny and legacy lie in our ability to transform our country and propel it to prosperity. If we do not want our people to get hungry, let us start making them rich. Only then can they be positioned to ward off the effects of global warming. Maybe given changing the use of Mabira is not such a bad idea at all, if we look at it more pragmatically and with less sentiment and sensationalism. Yes, it comes with negative effects which, however, can be mitigated by all of us taking the necessary steps nationally and globally, and from our homes to our workplaces. I hope we can debate these more in the near future.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Uganda's Public Transport Still Stinks

The typical Kampala public transport users have neither voice nor partners in government (both local and central), their elected legislators and the parties licenced to provide it. They have to endure immeasurable levels of stress and torment getting to work in the morning, through a hard working and thankless day at work (or hospital or market, e.t.c) and then again in the evenings. The source of a bulk of this stress is from the providers of public transport which is overpriced and inadequate. What they have to do to finally get a voice is a puzzle.

They cannot die so that the report into their death can take twenty years to be released. Nor can they get themselves arrested for treason and be denied bail. The whole estimated one and a half million of them certainly cannot all be beneficiaries of the eleven plots at the taxi park to attract a petition to parliament to set up a whole committee to look into their issues. Even if many would like to take the route that Alice Lakwena, Joseph Kony and some of our politicians have taken to get someone’s attention, the typical public transport users love their country too much to let it slip back into the chaos they have witnessed. Besides that would be too much trouble to go through when they have elected leaders, wouldn’t it? I thought that a story in The New Vision on passengers who almost destroyed a taxi at the taxi park for what they felt was injustice could have acted as a signal of discontent but somehow it has been ignored.

The passenger community no longer has any faith in a toothless UTODA top dog, Mr. Ndyomugyenyi, who has time and again given them the false impression that his word counts for something yet it is totally worthless. At the risk of sounding like I am making threats, I must warn whoever has the duty of regulating and protecting passengers, either through elections or appointment that the avenues for venting out frustrations are running out fast and we may all be sitting on a time bomb. All they want is an atmosphere that is fair and just and allows them to earn a living and provide for their families a well as they possibly can. That is the main reason why they queue up under the hot sun, in the chilling cold and rain or in dusty air so that they can vote at elections. Is what they are crying for undeserving and too much? Each political party needs about five million votes to win an election. If parties did their maths, even with very little effort, they would find that it is the passengers that can deliver that number. So why are public transport providers treated as the sacred cow?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

WBS Endangered Namayanja's Kids

While I appreciate Drake Ssekkeba’s Vumbula programme on WBS TV on February 9th highlighting the problems Ms. Charity Namayanja is facing, I think he stepped overboard in revealing her children’s identity on TV. As minors, they are the most vulnerable in that family saga in which one purported to be their father is being accused of attempting to murder them, their mother and grandmother. Ssekkeba and WBS’s overzealousness in chasing a sensational story may actually have placed the children in more danger, exposed them to ridicule as well as other forms of unhealthy attention.

After eight years in operation, it is a shame that WBS is still miles away from ethical journalistic practice. If they have not fixed that by now, we all have to be worried about the standards at our leading electronic media houses and the training systems we have in the country. If a veteran like Ssekkeba can fail to appreciate that minors should be protected in news stories, what are we to expect from his charges? A leaf should be borrowed from Betty Tibaleka’s The Untold Story that aired the same night on UBC TV in which the featured guest, a minor female victim of rape by her father, had her identity protected. That was professional, that is how things are done.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Kalyegira Ranting as Usual.

Hello people,> Thanks for writing in. I am going to send you the first and second parts of my July 2006 conversation with this Seer.> But first, a few notes to go with it, which I might expand on in next week’s column (if we here at the Daily Monitor are not too timid to publish):> When I asked this lady what she foresaw happening in the Horn of Africa, she said there would be a short but intense spell of fighting and then there would be an ongoing war of attrition between the Somali and the occupation forces.> I was seated next to her and seated opposite me was my translator. Because she laughs a lot and is relaxed as she foretells the future, I was not too sure that I should take her Horn of Africa prediction seriously.> I could not believe it when, on December 26, 2006, I saw Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Ethiopian TV read a statement in which he talked of being in Somalia for a short time!> And if you have been following the world news, it is clear that the ousted Union of Islamic Courts deserted Mogadishu without bothering to put up a fight, while the Ethiopian forces were still hundreds of kilometers away.> This could only mean one thing: they decided to fade away and blend into the general public, after which they would launch the urban and highway guerrilla war that we are witnessing in Afghanistan and Iraq.> This woman could see all this as early as October.> I will write about this conflict in Somalia sometime next week if I can get space in the Monitor.> 2. When I visited Rwanda in May with my fellow Daily Monitor journalist, Andrew Mwenda, as usual he was full of praise for Rwanda and President Kagame. He pointed out the clean streets, lights, and sense of order in Kigali.> However, by then I had heard of this Seer who predicts things so accurately but had not yet met her.> Although Andrew was enthusiastic about Rwanda, I was quiet for most of the time. However, I did mention to the Director of Rwanda’s intelligence, Dr. Emmanuel Ndahiro, one evening over coffee with Mwenda, that I felt Rwanda was headed for gloom soon, although I did not know when.> “Why are you so pessimistic?” Ndahiro asked me. I could not explain why I felt so, but I maintained by pessimism.> For those of you who monitor the news, Rwanda in the last two years has been in the news for what seem to be the right reasons --- corruption is being fought, it has a clean capital and streets, it was attracting international investment conferences and Kagame was accepted as a competent leader by the West and much of Africa.> So the Seer’s forecast in July seemed unlikely. But who would have expected what happened in November when, out of the blue, the French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière issued arrest warrants for Kagame and nice of his top officials for allegedly shooting down the plane carrying the late President Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994.> Suddenly, Kagame was on the defensive and since then the positive stories about Rwanda have vanished from the news.> As I said on the KFM Hot Seat talk show last night, January 5, 2007, all the French needed to go after Kagame was the arrest warrant of a respected judge.> 3. I tried to get as much as I could out of this Seer the first time in July, but the translator advised against it. But during the second meeting in October, I pressed for the dates of when these events would take place.> The Seer talked of 2008 and is adamant that the things you will read about in my forwarded email are going to happen.> This Seer talked of “One and half years from now”, which dating from October 2006 would land in or around April 2008.> Finally, I was concerned about the departure of President Museveni leaving a power vacuum in Uganda and chaos resulting. I asked what would become of the group of people that are widely perceived as Museveni’s real power base, the Bahima.> Barely had I asked the question than the Seer told my translator that “within hours” of the end of Museveni, there would be an uprising or action of some sort, in which Bahima would be attacked, dispossessed of their property, and killed.> This last claim by the Seer shook the translator, who happens to be a Muhima.> I think if I were a Muhima and I am identified too closely with the Museveni regime, I would start to cut these links as soon as possible.> These giveaways of land, rampant and shameless corruption by the ruling clique, the assault that Museveni is making on our forests, and the constant tear gas that Ugandans face at the hands of the army (dressed up in military uniform) is creating an amount of anger and desperation that might turn the usually passive Ugandans into charging tigers.> You might wish to know that just two weeks ago, military men were passed out somewhere not far from Kampala, after undergoing a training course in crowd control and the handling of tear gas. The people spraying tear gas are soldiers, not the police.> What I learned from that strange Seer is that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, there MUST be intelligence, conscious forces in the universe that control world affairs. Whether you call that God or demons or spirits, or whatever, there MUST be some power beyond what science can explain.> An ordinary, almost illiterate peasant such as this Seer cannot know so much, so in advance, so accurately --- unless there is some kind of invisible power that people like her have.> When you look at all the actions that Museveni is taking lately, isn’t it clear that some force has him in its grip, urging him on to his own destruction?> Last point: the late President Habyarimana sent some people to consult about the future a few months before his death. She told me that she avoided them. Reason? “When I see that somebody’s fate has arrived, I know I can’t change it and I would not want to have to tell them lies. So I dodge them.”> Frightening, isn’t it?> Okay, over to what the Seer told me.> Cheers!> Tim> Encounter with the spirit world, part 1> BY TIMOTHY KALYEGIRA/ July 2006> Recently, a friend told me something extremely interesting. There is a person known to him who claims to have the ability to see into the future.> I have always, like most people, had an instinctive suspicion and even fear of these diviners. I had heard enough about them to know that their powers were probably real.> However, I had to prove for myself if this seer’s clairvoyance was real and so we set up a meeting. Since the seer is practically illiterate, I needed an interpreter.> As I have made clear in this column, I have grown disillusioned with the standard education that we are given in institutes of higher learning and the standard news that we read in our press.> Once we met, I examined our surroundings at the seer’s home carefully for any signs of blood, a sacrificed animal, bones or skins, or anything primitive or weird. There was none. The Seer was dressed casually and could have passed for any simple African peasant.> Different from what I expected, this Seer was also relaxed and nice and laughed easily. The session started off with a review of my life.> Speaking through the interpreter, the Seer talked of how I work hard but I remain broke (which is true), told me that President Museveni’s State House has me under close scrutiny (true, my phone is tapped by the intelligence people), and some other general details.> The Seer then told me things about my family that I am sure that neither this Seer nor my interpreter would have known. Certainly, only my wife and I would know the things this Seer was telling me about our marriage.> I listened intently, looking out for any trace of fraud and inconsistency. I was surprised but not shocked by the Seer’s incredible accuracy.> I had known for many years that there is a real, spirit world and that certain people can see into the future using spiritual powers, be they satanic or God-given.> The Seer then turned to my friend the interpreter and told him things about his life and family. In disbelief, all he could say over and over again was “This Seer is thorough!”> However, the reason I had gone there was because I was interested in what the Seer foresaw about the Great Lakes region and most of all, where Uganda is going and what is to happen to the NRM government and its leaders.> The Seer thought for a minute and then told us what was to happen in the near future. What we heard was amazing and deeply shocking.> After hearing things about my life from this Seer that only I know or knew, I could not doubt the picture being given to us about forthcoming events in Uganda.> Although the details are extremely serious and shocking, these too did not surprise me.> I have been monitoring world news and news from the Great Lakes region of Central Africa on the basis of a prophesy outlined in the Biblical Book of Isaiah, chapter 19, that speaks of political upheaval and climatic catastrophe along the territory covered by the River Nile.> In his 1960 book, The White Nile, the Australian historian Alan Moorehead wrote thus about the River Nile: “Had it failed to flow, even for one season, then all Egypt perished….But there is no record of the river’s ever having failed.”> The fact that up to the 1960s there was no record in history of the River Nile drying up --- and yet the Bible says it is to dry up --- means that this cataclysmic change in the river is in the future.> Already TIME magazine --- CNN’s sister media --- has mentioned in its April 23, 2006 issue that, “[T]he Nile is an engine of economic growth. But environmentalists fear a development boom will destroy ecosystems, force people from their homes, and reduce the river to a trickle.”> This Bible prophesy is coming alive, as lakes in Uganda, Rwanda, Chad, Eritrea, and other eastern African countries start drying up.> Isaiah’s prophesy also obliquely suggests that the countries of the Nile basin (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, the DR Congo, Rwanda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt) have terrible national political crisis ahead of them.> Using the Bible as a guide and tracing the people in eastern Africa referred to by history and the Bible as Cushites, I started compiling news scripts and radio summaries in January on Somalia, convinced that something probably involving terrorism or a takeover by Islamist forces was going to shake the Horn of Africa or Islamic Zanzibar.> Then on Monday, June 5, the most unexpected news from Somalia took the world by surprise: an Islamist force had won a four-month battle and had taken over the capital Mogadishu.> Next week, I will outline what lies in wait for Uganda and Rwanda as foretold by this strange Seer and what I have been able to piece together from Bible prophesies. Be assured, Uganda’s worst days are not behind us, but just ahead.> Catastrophe awaits the NRM. The runaway sale of valued public land by President Museveni is one of the first clues.> Part 2: The forthcoming events in the Great Lakes region> BY TIMOTHY KALYEGIRA> In July 2001, the Russian newspaper Pravda published an interview with Tatyana Koryagina, a senior research fellow in the Institute of Macroeconomic Researches in Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development.> Dr. Koryagina had predicted that the United States was to come under a major attack around or not long after August 19, 2001 and Pravda asked her how it was possible to predict this coming attack on America.> Dr. Koryagina, interviewed on July 29, 2001 replied as follows: “The mystical and religious components play extremely important roles in human history. One must take into account the shadow economy, shadow politics and the religious component, while predicting the development of the present financial situation…. The U.S. has been chosen as the object of financial attack because the financial centre of the planet is located there…The strike waves of economic crisis will spread over the planet instantly and will remind us of the blast of a huge nuclear bomb…. Some fluctuation in this date is possible.”> And as we now know, on September 11, 2001, Arab militants staged one of the most dramatic terrorist attacks in history on New York City and Washington.> Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency read Dr. Koryagina’s prediction and passed it on to Jerusalem. That is the reason why on September 11, Russian and Israeli citizens were mostly unaffected by the day’s attacks.> That is the crux of what I have been driving at in this column for the past few weeks --- there are unseen and intelligent forces from beyond the human realm that silently orchestrate the events and decisions that we see in the daily world news.> In his 1985 book Reality and Reason, Sean Sayer, a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Kent at Canterbury, argued on behalf of the ideas proposed by the Austrian Jewish psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): “[It] was Freud’s great achievement to have discovered and, in a large number of cases, to have demonstrated, that dreams (and other sorts of delusions, fantasies and apparently irrational and illusory forms of consciousness) can be interpreted. They have meaning.” (p. 67)> In February 1978, President Idi Amin’s fortune-teller went to meet him with an important message. He was called Hassan Mwangaza. His father was Malian and his mother Senegalese, but he had come to Uganda from the then Zaire (today’s DR Congo).> Mwangaza (nicknamed “Tipu Tip” after the famous 19th century Tanganyikan trader) told Amin that he had looked two years into the future but he could not see Amin being president.> According to Ssemwanga Kisolo during his Friday Sekanyola programme on July 14, 2006 on Radio Uganda’s affiliate station Star FM, Amin took offence at Mwangaza’s prediction and it appears their relationship cooled.> That October, something entered Amin’s mind, made him invade Tanzania’s Kagera salient territory, and six months later in April 1979, Amin had effectively fulfilled Mwangaza’s prophesy more than a year ahead of schedule.> In February 1994, the Seer I mentioned last week foresaw an incident involving the Rwandan President, Major-General Juvenal Habyarimana, and this incident would involve his death.> Late in 2000, the same Seer claims to have had a vision of President Laurent Desire Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo in danger and ending up assassinated.> So to continue from last week, what did the diviner I recently met predict about Uganda in the days ahead of us?> This Seer said that there would soon be a war between Uganda and Rwanda. After that war, the President of Rwanda will be assassinated. Not too long after that, the President of Uganda will also be assassinated.> Both instances will be a replication of the blowing up of President Habyarimana’s plane in 1994 and in both instances according to the Seer it will be done by their own close people.> It also seems that the President’s family will also perish after or soon after him (although the Seer was not definite about this.)> What was not clear to me was what would happen to the other NRM leaders after this stunning event, but I inferred from the Seer that most of today’s prominent NRM and military leaders will be hunted down and jailed or shot.> The Seer also said that the FDC’s President Kiiza Besigye would not become Uganda’s president and that in the near future Besigye would flee into exile for a second time.> It is a frightening nightmare that we are faced with, if the Seer is as correct as in previous predictions.> This is my faithful recollection of what the Seer told us. However, one has to caution that a Seer, a Prophet, a Fortune-teller is only just human. Perhaps these shocking events will not happen.> Watch the current sale of land and how the image of a First Family gradually becomes a constitutional monarchy.> Watch how First Lady Janet Museveni steadily proposes bills in Parliament and they easily sail through.> Watch how she will rise to become the de facto Speaker and head of Parliament, as the majority of the MPs bow to her will. See if she does not toy with the idea of proposing that Uganda be declared a Christian state. Where will all this lead?

Timothy Kalyegira.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Besigye’s remarks about bahima were outrageous

SIR — I wish to comment on your story “Besigye slams Bahima” published on Monday. The outrageous comments of the FDC leader is a clear signal that his plea for power is not to unite ugandans but cluster them into tribal, religious and racial sects. I don’t know whether Besigye’s was correctly quoted. He does not only owe an apology to the bahima but all ugandans. How many bahima own land in kampala. Besigye owns a very big ranch in kasangati. if it is true that land is being grabbed in kampala what yardstick did he use to establish that so and so is a muhima or not? He justified his malicious comments with prof. Gilbert Bukenya’s on the presence of ‘mafia’in Government. Bukenya did not classify people in his comments. His attack was generally about corrupt leaders in the country where even Besigye could have been involved. Emmanuel Sunday Kampala

Turning Golf Balls into Planets

For a leader, Erias Lukwago, MP for Kampala Central, Uganda, is very good at blowing things unnecessarily out of proportion. He chooses the minutest things that any other mature leader would choose to ignore and he makes the world of them. The most recent instance was when I saw him before the TV cameras at parliament clowning in an attempt to ape the way Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya was behaving when he aapeared before a parliamentary committee that Lukwago sits on. To him, the 'airs' of the minister were much more important than what he had or had not said. Previously, Lukwago had laboured over one small typing mistake in the addendum to the Scotland Yard Kayira Report to trash it. To him, the inclusion of the name Tito Obote instead of Milton Obote was far more important than any other material in the report. To me this is immature and amateurish behaviour. This country needs serious people who deal with substance rather than superficial things.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

BUGANDA UNDER SIEGE! So Says Some Paranoid Guy.

Forwarded Message [ Download File Save to Yahoo! Briefcase ]
Thu, 18 Jan 2007 05:05:13 -0800 (PST)
"Ekissodde Ekissodde"
Fwd: Buganda Under Siege
bkamya@parliament.go.ug, elukwago@parliament.go.ug, email@wbs-tv.com, impactfm@dehezi.net, mejangu@yahoo.com
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Note: forwarded message attached.
Finding fabulous fares is fun.Let Yahoo! FareChase search your favorite travel sites to find flight and hotel bargains.
Forwarded Message
"Daudi Kiribedda"
Buganda Under Siege
Thu, 18 Jan 2007 02:05:30 +0000
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Buganda Under Siege

By Asumani Balwaana Kaama

Recent Events In Uganda have brought us to the conclusion that Buganda today is in the worst position it has ever been in within the last 100 years. The spirit and resilience of our people has been seriously challenged and in many cases suppressed, indeed many have given up hope of a better future.
The level of deliberate employment discrimination; calculated and deliberate economic dis-empowerment; systematic political oppression; non-stop judicial injustice; relentless cultural degradation and increasing land grabbing has finally convinced us that we have to change our value systems if we are to survive as a nation.
The constant bullying, patronising by the million Runyakitara’s who are solely in charge of every aspect of our lives are a clear indication that Buganda is under siege and that we have to change all our core beliefs in order to survive. Today we live under the Runyakitara vision of "no more greater good for all – every man for himself". We have always survived as society and we shall strive the more to do so whatever the cost.
The fact that hardly any Muganda is ever employed in any government department even at the lowest level and the few that have found favour with the Runyakitara overlord have had to sell their souls means that:
Every government official we interact with even at the village level will never employ a Muganda on competence;
Every URA officer who forcefully collects taxes only applicable in Buganda and nowhere else in the country works against our interests;
Every traffic police officer who constantly takes bribes and arrests us as a display of power is not interested in our welfare;
Every magistrate, judge or court official we meet on the numerous occasions we are arrested is not motivated by justice;
Every agricultural officer who deliberately took the matooke and coffee weevil to our farms works for the starvation of our people;
Every NGO boss who gives us deliberately useless information on AIDS and how to get rich is indifferent to our suffering;
Every bank officer we approach for loans/grants we are never allowed to get works for our impoverishment;
-Every newspaper reporter who degrades our culture daily by showing dead, naked, indecent Baganda bodies is motivated by our humiliation;
-Every permanent/under secretary who ensures that we never get to know of ANY of the grants and soft loans borrowed in our name is tickled by self-interest;
-Every land office official who steals our land titles from the public land office is a victim of greed;
-Every judge who allows foreign land grabbers to kick us off our land has lost sight of the purpose of his/her office;
-Every official who patronizes us by telling us how we are stupid does not care about our future;
-Every election returning officer who steals our vote whenever we vote perpetuates a lie that only one man has all the answers;
-Every police officer and army soldier who tear gases us, or shoots at us whenever we complain ignores our simple wish to live in peace;
-Every passport officer who refuses us a passport so we can run away from this tyranny laughs at our misery;
-Every ESO/ISO agent who spies on us when we manage to run away from the tyranny is contemptuous of our sufferings.
The common trait among all these people and their agents is that they are arrogant oppressors and bullies who do not even bother to speak the only language we know. There is an overwhelming feeling of foreign occupation far worse than the colonial type because the current one gives nothing back in return but merely works to undermine our culture and history and further seeks our total destruction as a people.
There is no doubt that Buganda has arrived at this junction due to the very poor leadership we have at Mmengo. The level of political and commercial discrimination and marginalization against the Baganda has increased, as it became obvious that there is NO one in Uganda who wants to or can stand up and advocate for Buganda’s rights.
The Katikkiro we had for the last 10 years proved to be useless in championing our causes and turncoat to our suffering. The current Katikkiro has made some noises on our behalf. This has turned him into a foe of Buganda’s enemies and it is now on the cards that he will soon be replaced by a toothless stooge who will oversee the acceleration of Buganda’s destruction.
IF the current Katikkiro is removed, we will take this to mean a dereliction of duty on the Kabaka’s part and that Mmengo has abdicated the role of representing the Baganda and their interests within Uganda. It stands to reason that there will no longer be a purpose for the Mmengo establishment i.e. the Kabaka, Katikkiro and Lukiiko to continue to exist.
We are therefore issuing warning that we will work for the total removal of the Mmengo establishment if Mmengo continues to serve the Banyakitara rather than their rightful masters, the Baganda who are the sole reason Mmengo exists at all.
We will mobilize and withdraw our allegiance from the current Kabaka Mutebi, the Katikkiro and the Lukiiko and we will ensure that they no longer purport to represent us the oppressed Baganda. We will manage to do this without use of any weapon by withdrawing consent, which is all that binds today.
We have come to this conclusion because we believe that with the current situation prevailing, we are better off without a Kabaka since the current one has proved not to have any recognised interest in our welfare. In his New Year message he passed the buck when he said: "We hope that now that the elections have been concluded, leaders will solve issues dear to us and that worry our people - like land. It is then that we shall build a nation we all aspire to live in."
Kabaka Mutebi is asking the Banyakitara who have made our lives intolerable to do what they wish with us. A more acceptable cowardly statement would have been: "I will work with the elected leaders to ensure that my people are protected in the enjoyment of their constitutional rights."
Since the Kabaka’s power over us is a moral one, it is within our rights to withdraw it and we will do this as soon as it is necessary. No doubt it will be a long journey but an achievable one none the less.
May the almighty help us all!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


At first, I thought it was the result of a technical problem but when I noticed that it was repeated over and over again, I was shocked to conclude that it is deliberate. The pay television service, Multichoice’s DSTV, actually erases the word “God” in the phrase “Oh my God” in many of the programmes in its channels! When characters in these programmes use the phrase, it comes out as “oh my ---!”. While I commend Multichoice for being sensitive enough to extend such treatment to most forms of bad language, in Uganda, for their information, “God” is not an offensive or inappropriate word. I certainly cannot see how a phrase like “let’s have sex” can be deemed to be less offensive than “oh my God”.

God is so prominent and mainstream in Uganda that no official national function is without a call to Him in prayer. He is in our national motto, ‘For God and My Country’ and the first stanza of Uganda’s national anthem is a prayer to Him as seen in the opening lines, ‘Oh Uganda, may God uphold thee …’. “God” in Uganda is a politically correct word and I find it more of an offence and outrightly disrespectful for Multichoice to keep erasing it as if it is some kind of scary infectious disease. The Media Council ought to look into this.

Another issue for the Media Council is the airing of two programmes on the same DSTV service with heavy homosexual content. They include A Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The L Word. These programmes might be okay in Multichoice’s mother country, South Africa, but I think they have no place in Uganda. They glorify homosexuality which is a practice that is not only a crime here, but also socially unacceptable. In fact, with the recognition of homosexual relations in law and homosexuality becoming more fashionable in their country, DSTV and other South African companies are a possible platform for the launch of that abominable practice into Uganda and Africa in general.

I suggest that the Media Council build capacity to help it censor programmes with homosexual content from Uganda’s airwaves. It should install hotlines through which the public can report the airing of any programmes with offensive content, which should be investigated before action is taken against the responsible station. The mass media is a very important tool that has become very influential in all aspects of society. We must ensure that it is insulated as much as possible from all the negative forces that are trying to use it to pollute our society.

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Friday, January 12, 2007


Should the word 'God' be erased from from secular films?
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Thursday, January 11, 2007


(This blog was first posted on 07 November 2006.)

I feel that some of the loudest opinions on Iraq , its occupation and Saddam Hussein’s conviction are choosing to take a very myopic view of the issues involved. Those opinions seem to insinuate that the violence – sectarian and all – is simply and primarily a reaction to the US-led invasion of the country. That is wrong. It is more of a reaction to a post-Saddam situation. The violence and instability we see today was only waiting for one particular event – the removal of Saddam from the leadership of Iraq .

There are so many ways in which Saddam could have been removed from power. He could have resigned (unlikely); he could have been voted out (very unlikely); he could have been assassinated; he could have died (painfully of some disease, some accident or peacefully in his sleep), or he could have been toppled. Whatever the scenario, there was going to be violence and instability in Iraq that would have had the world struggling to get in to stop it. With Afghanistan and Somalia , we all know how hard that is.

It would also help for us to always be reminded of the geopolitics at play in that region of Asia . Saddam was a dictator who was responsible for the death of thousands and suffering of millions of Iraqis. His leadership extended the death and suffering beyond his country’s borders to Iran and Kuwait . Iran also became home to many Shiite Iraqi exiles and rebels who, with its support, not only worked to remove Saddam but also lay prepared, waiting for news that he was no more for them to pounce. Another neighbour, Syria , was also home to many Iraqi exiles and anti-Saddam forces ready to pounce. Turkey was already worried that Iraq ’s northern region of Kurdistan was enjoying more autonomy and was aware that the only thing that was stopping its push for more self-control was Saddam. A power vacuum in Baghdad would complicate Turkey ’s fight to contain its own rebel Kurds who would certainly base their operations in Kurdistan . On top of all of this would be Al Qaeda. We must remember that Al Qaeda took advantage of the initial instability in Afghanistan to establish itself and spread its evil around the world. Just imagine what opportunity they would see in an unstable Iraq . It would be Al Qaeda’s new home after the loss of Afghanistan and a good launch-pad into Saudi Arabia , Kuwait , Jordan and Israel . And let us not forget the fact that the terror organisation would have a big hand over billions of barrels of oil.

We must also keep in mind the Shiite-Sunni divide in the Islamic world and nowhere is this more apparent than in Iraq, a fact Al Qaeda is very aware of and has already tried to take advantage of. The two sects try to put up a diplomatic face to the rest of the world but what simmers beneath is contempt for each other. Saddam, a Sunni, used high-handed methods to keep any potential sectarian conflict at bay, but this was often at a high cost to the Shiites. The seeming peace that some people try to remind us of today was only artificial. The exit of the dictator by whatever means was always going to bring all these factors to the top and into play.

So, what am I saying? Vultures are not created at the appearance of a corpse. They are always there somewhere waiting for a corpse for them to make an appearance. The violence we see today was always going to happen with or without the US-led occupation. Everyday that passed with Saddam in power was a day closer to the end of his reign. No one was sure about how and when this end would come or can claim to know with absolute certainty what would happen when it did. But the factors at play around Iraq and the region, added to his and his possible successors’ brutality, were just fuel waiting for a spark. I believe that it was important how that spark came and who would be in charge of Iraq when the explosion happened.

The US-led invasion therefore took care of the uncertainties of how Saddam would go and who would be in charge of Iraq when the violence and instability that were sure to follow set in. The US-led invasion was and still is a shock-absorber for the landing of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq . I am grateful to the US and its allies for that and for their being a lot far-sighted than many people give them credit for.

Martin Makara,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I understand Andrew Magunda’s concern in his letter in ‘Vision’s Saturday Soccer magazine of December 16th in which he decries the popularity of the world’s big football leagues over local African ones and Uganda’s in particular. Also, while I agree with him that it is quite embarrassing for us to appear to pay allegiance to football leagues that are not our own, I personally see football leagues as purely a source of entertainment rather than national duty. Where one chooses to find one’s entertainment is that individual’s prerogative.

Football fans, like any other Ugandans and consumers, work very hard for their money and, as a result, they want it to work for them too. They want to get the most out of each shilling they get. Football leagues therefore have nothing to do with patriotism or the lack of it. They are just one of many sources of entertainment (commodities) on a liberal and global stage (market). If you are a poor performer (poor product), you will always find a thin audience before you. It is as simple as that.

The popularity of the big European football leagues in Uganda is more of a blessing than the curse many people see. They have opened our eyes to the better quality in all aspects of the game that our leagues can have but curiously do not. They have raised our expectations and the evidence is in the actions of Save Our Soccer, which I believe would not have had the will they showed but for the big European leagues. Their popularity among Ugandan fans is a silent cry to the all the leaders of football in their various capacities for something much better than what we have been subjected to.

Furthermore, the huge following for foreign leagues that cuts across demography in Uganda is a suggestion that there is a big market for football here. Those leagues have actually done a lot marketing the game of football in Uganda. There are certainly more football fans as a percentage of the country’s population than there were in the much glorified days of the past. Football has been added to the subjects talked about in female students’ hostels, something that never happened in the past. Local football has its work cut out for it to position itself to attract everyone’s attention. There is everything to win and nothing to lose since most of the fans have left it anyway. The days when fans were fed on anything limited by the mediocre abilities of the personalities in the game are long gone. Ugandan fans will not be taken for granted anymore. Loyalty is not an obligation on the part of the fans and a right on the part of a club or league. It must be earned.

Maybe what we should be debating now is; which is the horse and which is the cart. Should we first the fans’ attention on the local game and then wait for the quality to come later or quality first and then the fans? What are they; fans or philanthropists?

Monday, January 08, 2007


In justifying why opposition parties prefer the Constitutional Square to host their political events, Ms. Beti Kamya, MP, explained in the media recently that it is because the other venues cost money or are controlled by the State. She claimed that since politics is competitive, the Kololo ceremonial grounds are not favourable to them because they are under state control. If the opposition ever requested to use them and were denied, they (the opposition), in keeping quiet about it, missed a great opportunity to score massive political sympathy points.

That the other venues cost money, I believe there is nothing wrong with that. It costs money to maintain these places – naturally, they must charge money. Maybe each political party should acquire their own rally venues for which they would not have to pay fees. However, rallies cost money and there is no way around that. When I saw on television Kamya arguing as mentioned and then DP president-general John Ssebaana-Kizito riding comfortably in a fuel-guzzling luxury sports utility vehicle (SUV), I lost even the slightest shred of sympathy for her position - if he rides in an SUV, he can afford the fees charged by Nakivubo stadium. Besides, political leaders, at least those worth their salt, are in the business of planning for the distribution of wealth, and DP or FDC spending money is a contribution to that end.

However, I believe that rallies for everything are so yesterday. They are just opportunities for political acrobatics, sloganeering and the Mbiddes to stroke their overgrown egos. In the 1960’s to the 1980’s, they may have been fashionable because most Ugandans had very few sources of entertainment but today they are spoilt for choice. The release of Kayiira’s murder report did not require a political rally. However, if the rally was meant to achieve the ends further above, then it was very much justified.

One does not have to look very far to see that rallies are always not critical to achieving what parties want. Every Ugandan knows that Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging without them being invited to a rally to witness the event partly because none of them was eligible to attend but most of all because it was happening more than a thousand miles away. The news and the pictures, however, reached the biggest part of Uganda’s population less than six hours after the execution. If DP was honest, creative and had actually the will they would have released whatever version of reasons for Kayiira’s death. The Ugandan public would have had it by now. In fact, a rally would have been more appropriate after the release of their report.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Public Transport in Uganda is a Mess!

"Letters" , bukedde@newvision.co.ug
"Susan Nakawuki" , "NRM" , "Freddie Ruhindi" , elukwago@parliament.go.ug, cakandwanaho@parliament.go.ug, hkyanjo@parliament.go.ug, mmbaikke@parliament.go.ug, sebaggala@parliament.go.ug, rsemur@parliament.go.ug, gbukenya@parliament.go.ug, jkubek@parliament.go.ug, bkamya@parliament.go.ug, nsusana@parliament.go.ug, snjuba@parliament.go.ug, nsempala@parliament.go.ug, "David Mafabi" , political@infocom.co.ug, mejangu@yahoo.com

The public transport system in Kampala and Uganda in general is a very peculiar one. Most of the time, it is shaky and very frustrating to its users. Some of its aspects include:
· It breaks down and is completely insufficient when there is a disturbance in any part of the city, like a protest or operation by the authorities against non-compliant motor vehicles
· It is overwhelmed by the big numbers of passengers every morning and evening
· Who ever heard of a public transport system that charges its users congestion fees? I thought this was supposed to be collected from motorists. However, at peak hours in Kampala , taxi fares rise by more than 40% and the excuse given is always ‘jam’
· Kampala’s taxis are the only ones in the world that have their fares rising when the cost of fuel has been dropping for the last two months. How can it be that from the city centre to Nakawa, it now costs Shs. 500 – a quarter of a litre of petrol!
· The system is also the only one in the world whose fares are at the exclusive discretion of drivers and conductors and is therefore without fixed rates arrived at transparently
· The route distribution for the taxi network is also left at the discretion of driver and conductors, which means that some areas will have an oversupply of taxis while others remain starved of service
· It is also weird because it punishes those that choose to travel early and rewards the sleepy heads. Taxi fares are higher in the early hours of the morning and drastically cheaper in the mid-morning. They then rise again just when the tired and stressed-out Kampalans retire to rejuvenate for the next day between 4pm and 8pm. This is not sustainable for Uganda ’s economy
· The public transport industry in Uganda is the one with the shabbiest, rudest and most incompetent workers, and the poorest customer relations in the country.

I am disappointed that our leaders have completely ignored the rot in the public transport system. When it comes to the lives of the ordinary voters, there seems to be less creativity and initiative on the part of these leaders. For instance, they have bent themselves backwards to be seen to be doing something about the Makerere University crisis which will be solved anyway. Makerere will be solved and reopened and there is no doubt about it! The public transport rot can only get worse and yet it is an important tool of production for millions of Ugandans compared to the closed university which directly benefits a few tens of thousands.

I laugh at those leaders and experts, including Makerere University dons, who go on and on about fighting poverty and decongesting slums but continuously fail to see how important an efficient and affordable public transport system can be in those efforts. I always hear President Yoweri Museveni castigating a section of Ugandans for being elitist and I see our public transport system as a classic example reinforcing his concern.

I would like, at this point, to salute one former Member of Parliament who had a vision to improve public transport in his constituency when he provided the market vendors there vehicles that transported them at subsidised rates. The next big thing that should happen in the parliamentary committee on social services and the House at large is to investigate the rot in the public transport system and put all of its stakeholders (UTODA, KCC, traffic police, passengers, trades union, experts, e.t.c.) in the dock. I am mostly interested in hearing what Public Enemy Number One, UTODA, has to say about itself. Our leaders must remember one thing: the users of public transport, though the most silent, are a bigger voting block than the taxi/bus owners, drivers, conductors and other operators put together. Otherwise, the ordinary commuting Ugandan faces hell everyday for a service that is important to whether on not s/he has bread on the table at home.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The scene is the Tusker Challenge show at Nairobi’s Carnivore shown on UBC. One of the judges, Ian, is having an exchange of words with the show’s presenters including Gaetano Kaggwa.

IAN: … we are tired of producing ‘one-hit wonder’ musicians in East Africa. What we need is popular artistes that can produce hit after hit, album after album.

GAETANO: … but we have them …

IAN: Okay, name me just five artistes in the whole of East Africa that have produced more than one popular album.

GAETANO: Okay. I’ll start with Uganda. We have Chameleon (applause and screams), we have … ummm … Bobby Wine …

IAN (interrupts): … NEVER HEARD OF HIM!

ME (thinking aloud): OUCH!


Dear Editor (www.newvision.co.ug),

When the MP for Aruu County in Acholi got access to some hundreds of millions of shillings, he invested in a mansion in a lakeside village in Buganda. Just that village alone in Makindye Division East, represented by Michael Mabikke, has a combined property value that could be triple the value of the whole of Aruu County. I wonder how much of that investment in the mansion made it to Aruu because I think the porters, water, building materials, electricals and other inputs all were sourced from Mabikke’s constituency. In that scenario, we do not even need to give points for guessing whose constituency gained economically from Otto’s investment – it is a no-brainer.

Some people have questioned why we should have age limits in the constitution for persons that can offer themselves to run for the presidency of the country. Otto’s outburst about spearing anyone who dared invest in his constituents’ resources (never mind that he has softened this stand) answers them. As for MP Okello Okello’s similar sentiments, I just cannot comprehend. He is so incredible that they named twice! I cannot imagine how much Otto would have been able to do with the hundreds of millions of shillings he spent on a luxurious roof for his family if he had invested it in Aruu County, but I know it would have been something quite significant. After all, is it not the votes of the peasant and unemployed voters of Aruu that are responsible for his being able to be employed in his current job which has given him access to those hundreds of millions of shillings? It seems to me that any investment in Aruu would be a threat to Otto’s stature as the ‘King of Aruu’. A richer citizenry, it seems, creates a more enlightened and progressive community and such a community is very demanding and forces the ‘king’ to think, which is something that the ‘king’ abhors.

Citizens of Aruu, you know best what you want. Otto’s family is very comfortable. It is your children that are hungry, walking long distances to school, health centres and water sources; it is your children that are dying from preventable and curable diseases, not your MP’s. You already have enough problems in your land. What you need to overcome them are allies, one of whom is Otto. Consider him an ally to you because he chose to invest huge sums of money in somebody else’s constituency and he was not speared (is he spear proof?). There is absolutely no reason why he should scare away and discourage any potential ally who might be considering associating with you. You have always protected your land from more violent, unfriendly forces and I see no reason why it should be different in the twenty first century. If you need money to invest in yourself and your family, and for the future, you should be able to use any resource at your disposal, including land, as long as it is the right one.

Martin Makara,

Monday, November 20, 2006

Crane Bank Official Replies

Dear Sir

Thank you for the pains you have taken in sending us this detailed mail, we have noted with concern the points raised by you and wish to meet you to understand more about the problems.

Please be rest assured that we will address the issues raised by you to the very last detail.

Please feel free to contact the undersigned at your convenient time on the following numbers. 041343345, 0772 777783.

Kind regards
A. R. KalanManaging
DirectorCrane Bank Limited

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Crane Bank in Uganda Sucks!!!

I walked into Crane Bank's main branch on Kampala Road today with a simple problem but walked out a whole HOUR later. All I wanted to do was get a new PIN for my ATM card. Now, I would not have had any problem if the fault was entirely mine. The operations of this bank and its staff ensure that everything must move at a snail's pace. If you are a busy person and are looking for a bank in Kampala that can serve you fast, don't go to Crane Bank.
Here's exactly why:
  1. After queuing behind three people to be served by a snail of a young woman in their Crane Access Customer Service Centre for 18 minutes and just as I am next, she (the snail) pulls out a birthday card and, right there in the presence of us customers, she starts to write in it. And she took her time at it too, about 2 minutes. On average young snail woman takes about 7 minutes to serve 1 customer.
  2. At one point, she did a very smart thing. She consulted with her neighbour about a letter of recommendation for a customer that was not addressed to the bank manager - a "To Whom It May Concern". Unbelievable, but the neighbour advised quite loudly, "THROW IT AWAY. LET HER TAKE IT TO WHOM IT IS ADDRESSED!". She didn't give a damn who was listening. Young snail woman did another smart thing - she consulted someone more superior and he okayed the use of the letter of recommendation! All of this was taking place while the queue grew longer and longer.
  3. Then there is the habit of staff talking for long periods on phone while serving customers. I don't even want to go there. It is disgusting. It makes one feel like they are a nuisance to the staff.
  4. And there is something I can't comprehend. After depositing cash(which comes after another looooong wait in a queue), one has to wait on the side to have their copy of the deposit slip returned to them. Apparently, the deposit slip, after being acknowldged by the teller, and details entered into a computer, has to be taken somewhere else prompting another wait. This is an ancient style of operation! It would be a bit of a relief if the teller would explain what is going on to a baffled a customer, but all they do is stare at their papers and computer screens, and never say a word. This is RUDE! The only time I saw a smile on the face of the teller who served me today was when she was interrupted by a security guard while served a customer!
  5. Why in God's name did they fit those space-age type of doors that make one feel like they are entering a space rocket if they cannot maintained them? This things keep jamming every now and then. I am not sure they are safe anymore.

In a nutshell, Crane Bank needs to work on its customer relations because they are sick. I'll give it to them, they know how to hire good looking girls but they are nothing if they are not well trained in handling people and how to behave. Crane Bank is a cold place. It seems that the staff are always reminded that if they smile they will have their salaries cut! Without good customer relations, the people gaining most from their marketing drives are the media, not Crane Bank. It is a pity that the ads don't match the actual products and service. Not even Aldrine Nsubuga, whatever his credentials, can help if the customers are not treated well. GROWING TO BE GLOOMY AND SLOW should be their motto.