Letter from the Editor | Ronnie Mayanja | February 2011

Posted February 1, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 4,290 views


Africa seems to be undergoing the winds of change. A few weeks ago Tunisia set the pace through the people’s revolution that brought down their government. Next came Egypt whose strongman Hosni Mubarak is a US ally and has been credited with maintaining relative stability in the region and keeping Israel’s enemies at bay. The recent events have also been a demonstration that people can only stomach so much after a while they implode if their leaders do not heed to their requests. The Arab revolution started in North Africa precedes those that swept Eastern Europe and Latin America and will be sure to transform regional politics.

Like the French Revolution of 1789 that transformed feudal, aristocratic, religious privileges and saw the establishment of the French republic or the American Revolution that led to the defeat of the British, we can only hope that our political leaders will pay closer attention to the mood and demands of the people they lead in order to avoid insurrections.

On the home front it’s down to the home stretch as Uganda heads to the polls this month. After weeks of campaigns the nation will choose new leaders on February 18th 2011 who will assume office for the next five years. Amidst concerns of bribery, vote buying and the lack of a level political playing field it will be interesting to see how the entire process will play out. As promised UNAA Times Online is already on the ground and should bring you all the major highlights from the elections as they happen.

Of particular interest to me will be the outcome of the mayoral race. For some of us who have had an opportunity to travel to the more developed world, the state of Kampala continues not only to baffle but annoy as well. One would think that with all the money flowing into our capital a better planned city would be in the offing by now with all the necessary infrastructure place.

But instead there seems to be no master plan adopted and everyone with money simply erects a structure once he or she is able to bribe his way past the city council. The road network too needs a major overhaul as most of the roads are full of potholes that add to the nightmare traffics jams that dot the city. We have more cars today than perhaps what was planned for these roads many years ago. Kampala needs a new city plan with fly overs to decongest. And I am one of those in support of moving the capital to a new location the way Nigeria did with Abuja as a means of developing our metropolis and returning some sanity and orderly development. Surely our new found oil wealth should allow for this transition to take place.

There has been talk of a government take over of Kampala and the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer but our hope is that it will not be another failed politician rewarded for his loyalty who assumes the role of managing and planning for this expanding city.

Back to the mayoral race and its outcome; what would be good to know is the experience and the credentials that many of these candidates bring to the table in regards to city management. We can’t afford another 5 years of air supply while the road networks and the many infrastructural challenges continue to deter development.

Overall Uganda has made progress but issues like corruption, good governance, equitable distribution of wealth between, job creation, delivery of basic services like health care still need to be addressed if we are to take off into the next chapter of our development.

What Uganda needs today is to build independent institutions that are free of patronage and partisan politics. Although this election will be determined on platforms of continuity or change the winners will have to incorporate those good ideas in the various party manifestos that allow for a progressive Uganda. With more than 70 percent of Uganda’s population composed of the youth our leaders need to pay closer attention to this demographic to connect with the voters.

Finally may the best man win, and as they say “In a democracy, people will always get the leaders/governments they deserve,” it’s my hope that those deserving will prevail and lead us into the promised land.

For God and My Country.

Ronnie Mayanja
UNAA Times Online
Cell: 1-978-235-2459
UG Cell:+256773212007
UG Cell: +256703999898

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

One Comment

    Kato Kajubi

    Comrade Mayanja,

    Thank you for sharing these editorials and your observations with us. You are correct Uganda is in dire need of developing democratic institutions at all levels. The upcoming presidential elections are nothing but a joke. I fact in my opinion such rigged elections generally have the effect of legitimizing dictatorships (albeit falsely). We all know who will be declared the winner after all is said and done after which the international community and the the likes of Jimmy Carter will declare the election free and fair if there is little or no violence during the process. As is so often said it is not the voting that counts but the counting of the votes that really matters.

    Yes we need to focus on developing a system of governance that will allow for more autonomy at the state and local levels and in my opinion the best way to do this is through a federal system. In my humble opinion this will be the best way to get planning boards that will be more accountable to the people so that our cities and towns can be properly developed.

    It is clear to me that most of our legislative leaders (and I use that term loosely) like Speaker Ssekandi are in effect an extension of the Executive branch. This is a clear violation of the “separation of power” an essential ingredient in the checks and balances of a democratic society. And yet we continue to allow this parliament to continue to make laws that are drastically changing Uganda with little or no accontability at all. As Martin Luther King said “if we are to find the real cause of man’s problems we have to look in the hearts and souls of men.” The fish always rots from the head on down and to this I say, amongst others, men like Prime Minister Nsibambi, Speaker Ssekandi and Attorney General Khiddu Makubuya who were sworn in to uphold the constitution of Uganda have truly let us down. How can the focus of parliament be to enact a “cultural leaders bill” with such urgency and especially before the upcoming elections when we have thousands and thousands of children suffering in Northern Uganda? Are cultural leaders really the source of our misery? I think not. For most of us they are a source of joy and inspiration and we adore them with much pride and love.

    Again quoting Martin Luther King “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” And as Abaraham Lincoln also said “nearly all men can stand the test of adversity, but if you really want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Our current leaders have shown their true colors. When the day of “reckoning and judgement” comes for this NRM government (and it will) I can’t imagine there will be too many people who will look back and say these men did their jobs admirably and with “truth and integrity”, except of course themselves.

    Alluta continua,

    Kato Kajubi
    Awangaale Ssaabasajja

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