Ugandan Diaspora News | Letter from the Editor | March 2013 | Happy Easter
The year 2013 is now in full gear and if you set yourself New Year’s resolutions, now is the time to reflect and see if you are still on course. Life happens, as they say, but I have determined to rise above the challenges life throws at me–as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. It’s therefore never too late and one is never too old to dream. I once read that the most valuable piece of real estate on this planet is the graveyard because buried in there are many unfulfilled dreams and visions. So never give up on your calling and the pursuit of happiness!
At the time of this writing, it is unknown if a looming $85 billion in immediate government budget cuts, known as ”sequestration,” can be averted, as we enter a new round of confrontation between the Obama administration and Congress (primarily Republicans) little more than a month after avoiding the “fiscal cliff”. To put this more into perspective donor agencies like USAID have indicated that they will be cutting back on their budgets and programs. A move bound to indirectly affect our donor based economy. https://www.devex.com/en/news/as-sequester-sets-in-usaid-bites-the-bullet/80409
For Uganda there is good news–part of the sanctions imposed by some of our development partners in recent months are now getting lifted. It is not clear though if any checks and balances have been put in place to avoid future abuse by politicians and civil servants. It is particularly sad when intended recipients of donor funds are short changed–many of the so-called technocrats are building mansions and living large at taxpayer expense. Many of these “fat cats” walk free or are the first to be granted bail when stolen monies are reported.
Lately the government has also come under criticism for dipping into the state coffers to appease donors in an effort to pay back some of these stolen funds. Clearly this is not a solution and more stringent laws are needed to curb the corruption that now permeates every level of Ugandan society, including the Church. More recent stories like the shs 13 billion settlement awarded by the registrar of the constitutional court to Mr. Severino Twinobusingye for winning the case in which he challenged Parliament’s power to force the Prime Minister and two other ministers to resign over bribery allegations has left many infuriated as has the proposed purchase of Apple IPAD tablets for MPs that will cost the tax payer $377,000 dollars.
In my view change can only happen when we put country ahead of self. I am troubled at how easily our system is abused and national pride damaged by non-citizens who access our travel documents, evade taxes and engage in a host of other illicit activities, including the transportation of narcotic drugs. But who is to blame for this state of affairs? Some have placed blame on our poor systems, politicians and legislators, many of who are now motivated to join politics not for ‘service delivery’ but rather as a means to personal gain. The accountability so sorely needed should require all those running for office (and those already in office) to disclose their assets and how they were acquired, as the race for 2016 shapes up.
Kenya, our neighbour to the east and biggest trading partner, will be heading to the polls in March and Ugandans are jittery as they remember the violence that marred the elections of 2007 that led to a shortage of goods, saw sections of the Uganda Railway uprooted and inflated prices for many essential items.The landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and the eastern DRC, count on the stability of Kenya for their economic survival. During this election cycle Kenya will be implementing a new constitution and one-time favorite Raila Odinga of the ODM party is facing several opponents in what has been deemed a volatile contest, with ODM defections and a more divided political landscape with tribalism expected to affect the outcome of this election. http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/02/20/inside-politics-decision-kenya-the-travails-of-raila-odinga/
However pundits and analysts have applauded Mwai Kibaki, whose second term expires this March and who will be stepping down, leaving a legacy that has led some to describe him as Kenya’s ‘Infrastructure President’, given the massive infrastructure developments Kenya has witnessed in the past 10 years, particularly in Nairobi. Hopefully we shall not catch a cold if Kenya sneezes this time round! http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/02/18/new-africa-magazine-forgetting-the-big-man-syndrome-kibakis-legacy-as-the-infrastructure-president/
The 264th successor to St. Peter and head of the Roman Catholic Church, 85-year old Benedict XVI, ended his 8-year papacy, in a move not seen in nearly 600 years since Gregory XII abdicated in 1409. In what was an emotional send-off, unique in our lifetime, the head of nearly 1.2 billion Roman Catholics retired to his papal villa of Castel Gandolfo as a ‘simple pilgrim’. The 266th conclave will select the next Pope, who will assume the mantle of the Catholic Church, which has been rocked by scandals of child abuse among some of its priests.
Finally, join us in getting the word out that the first Ugandan Diaspora Trade and Investors Expo — Boston 2013 is in the works for July 6. If you believe in Uganda and its business potential, this event is for you. The US Embassy in Kampala and Ethiopian Airlines have indicated a willingness to help expedite visa requests and smooth travel arrangements, respectively. We have also received some positive responses from both the US Department of Commerce and Ugandan governments.
I can also confirm that the former Executive Director of Uganda Investment Authority and now Director of Crown Beverages (Pepsi) Ltd Prof. Dr. Maggie Kigozi will be leading a delegation from Uganda and will moderate our business forum. Therefore we hope to see many of you attend the event and network with the various stakeholders in an effort to market Uganda and its economic potential to New England. http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/02/05/dont-miss-the-ugandan-diaspora-business-and-investors-expo-boston-sat-july-6th-2013/
As we enter into the long-awaited spring weather, let’s start this next quarter of 2013 trusting that all things are possible for those who dare to believe and are determined to succeed against all odds!!
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:3)
Happy Easter Good People.
MSc. Comm – Boston University
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