Letter from the Editor | Ronnie Mayanja | June 2011

Posted June 1, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 4,449 views


By Ronnie Mayanja | Editor, UNAA Times Online | Greetings, And hopefully you are all enjoying some great summer weather. Ofcourse to many of our brethren in ‘tornado alley’ it has been a trying time as mother nature has decimated their entire livelihoods. Last month was a tough one for me too first came the sudden death of a dear friend Paul Kim whose life caused me to reflect on things that are more important in life and perhaps the legacy I would like to leave should my time come.

He was a living testimony of a life well lived and this was partly proved by the online fundraising effort launched on Facebook and UNAA Times that yielded $10,000 dollars in just over 7 days to help transport his body back to Uganda.

The great out pouring of love and support from literally every corner of the world was a sign that Paul Kim had run a good race and left a mark on many. The strength of his widow Olivia who was 9 months pregnant at the time with the couple’s first child was plausible throughout the entire ordeal.

Just as I was coming to terms with the departure of a dear friend, I lost a cousin who died in a fatal car accident on his way home home from the Boston Twegaite Convention. Talk about life happening and throwing some heavy blows but life has to go on.

On the political front, Uganda’s long awaited fourth term cabinet was finally unveiled with the most powerful positions of Vice President and Prime Minister going to Mr.Edward Ssekandi and Hon. Amama Mbabazi respectively. As a very disciplined cadre the President seemed to assure the nation that in the appointment of the ‘super minister’ and NRM Secretary General Hon. Amama Mbabazi we would perhaps see the implementation of the President’s Election manifesto and more improved government accountability.

However there was surprise and a mixed reaction as the full cabinet list was released. New faces like Radio One’s proprietor Maria Kiwanuka emerged as Finance Minister while in a surprising twist former Mayor Al Haji Nasser Ssebagala became a full minister without portfolio. I wondered how this newly formed cabinet resonates with the changes that many of the activists for change[A4C] were advocating but this should be a story of another day.

I am not exactly sure if putting new wine into old wine skins is the change we needed but will give the new administration 100 days in office before I draw my conclusion. But some old timers needed to have been retired in public interest.

What perhaps was most disturbing for me was what the 9th parliament embarked on as their first order of business after assuming office. Increasing their emoluments or call them ‘groceries’ in a closed door session when the majority of the Ugandans survive on one meal a day in these very tough economic times was a grim reminder of selfishness of Uganda’s politics.[Whatever happened to the patriotic spirit of the 1960s when people were proud to be Uganda.]

Our legislators should have been more concerned with providing better health care for our people, paving bad roads instead of acquiring car loans for powerful SUVs and perhaps providing food security for their constituents. But why should I even be surprised when the last parliament could not even account for the final 20 million shillings that was forked out under mysterious circumstances just days to the Presidential elections. This one act seems to have set the stage for the 375 newly elected MPs that they were pursuing a different agenda from that of the people who elected them into Office.

This past month I had the rare opportunity of getting invited to the State department for the Secretary Of State Sen. Hillary Clinton’s diaspora forum and was quite enthused by the way the US government taps its diaspora community. Overall remittances by members of the diaspora living in the US is believed to be over $300 billion dollars annually. The US government through organizations like USAID has recognised and empowered this diaspora constituency to ensure job and service delivery for its nationals abroad.

Our government in Uganda needs to emulate this principle and appreciate the value addition many of us in the diaspora can bring toward our national development. Avenues like an expatriate workforce and diaspora tourism are ways in which to actively engage the Ugandan diaspora communities abroad. [See link below to the Secretary’s speech at the Diaspora Forum]

On another note this year is an election year in Denver and as a two term UNAA board member I will be stepping down from active UNAA politics and allowing some new blood to inject fresh energy and ideas in the affairs of UNAA. So far many people have approached me encouraging me to run again as top executive however having given of my time, resources and energy during the past past 6 years I feel it is the right time to step back although I will remain a committed UNAA supporter.

It is important that many of you travel to Denver in support of these UNAA elections. But the electoral commission will need to address some concerns like fielding of candidates coming from the same region or state within the executive wing. In my view a more diverse executive will help create a system of checks and balances even before we get to the UNAA Council. The voter register will also need to be availed to all candidates in time as a way of ensuring a level playing field.

Finally I wish you all ‘God speed’ as you celebrate life with those you love and care about because tomorrow is never promised!

Ronnie Mayanja | UNAA Times Online | |
Ugandan Diaspora Inc | |
Soreel Mayas Grafx Ltd | | UG Media |
USA | +1-978-235-2459 | Uganda +256-773-212-007
Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja |

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


    Ronnie …thanks for this content rich in information. May all those who lost their lives rest eternaly in peace. This is a reminder to all of us that life is indeed fragile.It reminds me of James 4 :14.

    “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone”

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