Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World

Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World
Red Roses for You, My Sweet Friends ... Total Love.

My Sweet Friends

My sweet friends,

We grow closer to each other;

When we interact together and share ideas;

The common faith that we share,

Binds our hearts in one accord.

For sweet friendships last a life time,

When built on mutual respect, humility and understanding;

Throughout each different season,

We find we are one in life.

Sweet friends are there through times of grief;

And times when hope is gone;

Always there with encouragement;

So we can carry on.

I thank the Lord for you,

My true and faithful friends;

To fondly speak with you, whether we agree or not,

On this, our beloved blog;

For sweet friends will stay, no matter what;

Giving support.

Together, our hearts and minds truly unite;

With the amazing love of sweet friends.

In the spirit of true friendship,

Best wishes, my sweet friends;

May the Lord bless you abundantly.

I remain, yours truly,

B.B. Bakampa.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Building A Better Uganda: My Demands And Expectations Of The Next Government

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma

“Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I will move the world.” Archimedes
Whereas I am well aware that it is better for me to ask, “What can I do for my Government?” rather than ask, “What can my Government do for me?” I must nevertheless pose the latter question since the necessity of having a Government is reciprocated by the eventuality of ordinary citizens approaching it for help on various matters. Thus I pose the question to all political parties, leaders and subsequently the next Government following the 2011 general elections, through the following demands and expectations:-

1. Observance of democracy and good governance
“I have cherished the ideal a democratic and free society...it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die”. Nelson Mandela
The Constitution provides that Uganda shall be governed on basis of democratic principles which empower and encourage citizens’ active participation in their governance and stipulates further that Uganda should be a demonstrably free and democratic society. Hence the state is obliged to put in place mechanisms and structures in which Ugandans can freely choose their leaders through regular free and fair elections. It is my prayer that the free will of Ugandans should continuously be sought and respected even after the 2011 general elections.

But democracy means much more than just a political act of casting a vote: it doubles as an economic empowerment strategy because regular change of leadership facilitates equitable distribution of resources in the economy. A team in government gets salaries and lucrative contracts and when it leaves, others get the same opportunities hence facilitating easy flow of income, which culminates in widespread investments thereby reducing rampant unemployment. Since the rate of unemployment (common among young people) is almost as high as the number of youth in this country, this would be an effective way of tackling it.

2. Infrastructural development
“Investment in infrastructure is the only viable way forward for Africa’s development.” President Yoweri Museveni
A 2010 World Bank report titled Africa’s Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation observes that “…infrastructure has contributed to Africa’s recent economic turnaround….” Sadly however, the report notes that “Africa’s Infrastructure lags well behind that of other developing Countries.” Bearing these findings in mind, I expect the next Government to prioritize infrastructural development in a bid to bolster youth-led development. In addition to physical infrastructure like transport and communication systems, there is need for creation of an enabling infrastructural environment entailing the following;

(i) a robust education system that enhances skills development so that students aren’t just marked on the quality of the writing they put down on paper, but the quantity of profit they make from those skills.

(ii) inspirational, empowering and enabling training: the kind that helps us youth address the defining challenges of our generation.

(iii) a mentorship programme premised on the notion that young people need to learn from those possessed of superior experience and knowledge. Writing in his book The Prince, Nicolo Machiavelli gives the relevance of mentorship stating that “A wise man ought always to follow the paths beaten by great men, and to imitate those who have been supreme, so that if his ability does not equal theirs, at least it will savour of it.”

(iv) a funding stream that avails capital for youth to start businesses that will offer employment to several others yet to come. Let’s face it; there is hardly any point in educating, training and mentoring young people to become professionals and then not avail them any source of revenue with which to create employment opportunities so as to exploit the skills gained. Uganda is full of frustrated young graduates and trainees who have no outlet for their training and expertise. A certain research by Youth Business International found that 1 in 5 youth have the intuitive skill to start and run small businesses. This finding is vindicated by Open Society Initiative for East Africa’s youth funding programme where at least 75% of youth sponsored projects succeed. Therefore, government programmes like the defunct Entandikwa should be revived for this purpose and more resources allocated to the ministry of youth affairs.

3. Respect for human rights
“Basically we could not have peace, or an atmosphere in which peace could grow, unless we recognized the rights of individual human beings...their importance, their dignity...and agreed that was the basic thing that had to be accepted throughout the world.” Eleanor Roosevelt
All people are endowed with human rights and freedoms whose duty it is for Government to protect. They are guaranteed by both our laws and other international legal instruments like the UDHR. The next Government of Uganda should endeavour to respect and safeguard them at all material times, even when Government and the people disagree. Tolerance, as is well enunciated in Francois Marie De Voltaire’s assertion that, “I disapprove of what you say, but I shall defend to death your right to say it,” should be the guiding principle here. For that matter, acts of gross human rights violations shouldn’t be tolerated at all.

A Synovate research released on Thursday, July 8th, 2010, found that 54% of Ugandans are happy with the state of human rights in the country. Whereas this is impressive, the 46% deficit nevertheless leaves a lot to be desired. Deplorable reports of torture in the so-called ‘Safe Houses’ that are run and managed by State security agencies are a common occurrence in the media. Unlawful militia groups like the Kiboko Squad and Kalangala Action Plan that are notorious for beating peacefully assembled citizens whose only crime is expressing views contrary to those of Government should be curbed and arrested.

It is unfortunate that these militias are comprised of youth who choose to unleash terror on their fellow countrymen and women (majority of whom are moreover youth) exercising their fundamental human rights and freedoms. So it is a case of youth against youth and oh God, how terrible it is! Government’s duty to champion human rights includes prevailing on all those who threaten to abuse them. A person’s rights stop where another’s begin. This way, human rights will be made a fact, not an idealistic dream, as advocated by Ron Hubbard.

4. Promoting equality of all Ugandans
“In order to change, the world needs everyone.” Federico Mayor
Government is expected to ensure that all of us are treated equally and fairly so that we are all partners in the common enterprise of building our nation. I envisage nurturing a nation where we all feel a sense of belonging: one where we feel valued and appreciated instead of being treated by others as means to achieving desired ends. Uganda should be a sectarian-free country where the character of its people and their ability is what counts instead of where they hail from or how well connected they are to the powers that be. The Equal Opportunities Commission established by the Constitution and the Equal Opportunities Commission Act, 2007 should be accorded all necessary assistance and good will to achieve this noble value.

5. Fighting corruption
“Fighting corruption and bad governance is everyone’s business.” Robert Zoelick
I need a Government that will not steal from us. It should hold accountable those who misuse public resources without fear or favour, in a non-selective manner. Corruption is cancerous and hampers development by compromising good quality service delivery, demoralizing hard-working people who see no point in wearing themselves out well knowing that at the end of the day someone else will only swindle the gains of their hard labour. Talk of reaping without sowing. When people perceive the system as being unfair and inequitable, they lose the incentive to work thereby retarding economic growth and development.

Although the various institutions that are mandated to fight this evil like the Anti-corruption Court, Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee and the Inspectorate of Government as well as other civil society organizations are doing a commendable job, a lot more is desired to be done. The World Bank projects that over Shs. 250 billion is lost annually in corrupt transactions. This is cogent evidence that corruption in Uganda is still high. The above anti-corruption agencies and others should be fully supported and well facilitated by Government in order to execute their duties efficiently.

In conclusion, I must say that this is only a presentation of my basic demands and expectations of the next Government; the list not being exhaustive. For ordinary citizens though, what matters most is having an administration that listens, cares, understands and acts appropriately as and when the need arises. While I agree with President Barack Obama when he says that Government cannot solve all people’s problems, suffice to say that a true Government of the people, by the people and for the people endeavours to provide the basics. I appreciate that Government faces stiff challenges. In spite of this though, like Tom Sawyer, I say, “Please, give me more.”