Govt should firmly deal with the Bududa situation

By Admin

Added 16th October 2018 05:11 PM

Teso always suffers floods that destroy crops and property and some cases lives are lost

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By Carolyne Muyama

On Thursday, October 11, landslides buried people in Bukalasi sub-County in Bududa district after heavy rains. By evening, over 30 people were confirmed dead, but the search is still on. Continuous heavy rains caused the flooding of River Suume, which swept away people and destroyed homes and property.

Bududa has always experienced landslides, but the most severe one happened in March, 2010 in Nametsi. Over 300 people were buried under the soil and many bodies weren’t recovered from the rabble despite all the efforts by the Government and other players. Many term this Nametsi area a mass grave because of the bodies that lie buried under the soil.

In an effort to avoid a similar occurrence the Government relocated the people from landslide prone areas of Bududa to Kiryandongo district. Surprisingly, some stubbornly refused to relocate saying they would rather die in their homes. It is not surprising that some that went came back claiming the land in Kiryandongo isn’t as fertile as theirs in Bududa.

Landslides are a natural phenomenon that occurs predominantly in mountainous areas. According to a Geological Survey of Finland 2014 Report, landslides are normally triggered by long lasting rainfalls and unfavourable conditions such as high slope angles, loss of vegetation cover, unfavourable geological structures, rock types or soil types.

Mt. Elgon slopes have been deforested for agriculture; therefore, slopes are no longer stable. In Uganda, landslides prone districts are Kabale, Mbarara, Rukungiri, Kasese, Bundibugyo, Kabarole, Bushenyi, Kanungu, Kapchwora, Sironko and Mbale and indeed they experience landslides time and again although not as frequently and as severe as Bududa does.

Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) announced mid-September as the onset of seasonal rainfall and indeed the rains are here. This month is the peak of the rainfall and the rains end in November or around early December. Areas announced to receive excess rainfall are Bududa, Bulambuli, Bundibudyo, Kasese, Kabale, Rubanda and Kisoro, which are mountainous areas and landslide prone.

There is a fully fledged regional and international climate forum of scientists concerned with reviewing the prevailing and expected state of the global climate systems and their implications on the performance of seasonal rainfall over east African region. This forum works in collaboration with international fora like the World Meteorological Organisation based in Geneva. This forum is called the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum and is co-ordinated by Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.

The fiftieth Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF50) met in Kigali Rwanda in August to provide consensus seasonal climate outlook for the months of October, November and December (OND) for guidance to reduce climate-related risks in support of key socioeconomic sectors and resilience building for sustainable development and provide a regional interaction platform for decision makers, climate scientists, research scientists as well as users of climate information.

Uganda, as a member of CHACOF, participated fully and gained from a wealth of ideas and good practices shared at the forum. And indeed shortly after this forum, a detailed weather forecast was compiled by Uganda National Meteorological Authority and shared with the media.

The UNMA called upon district authorities to update their contingency plans for better co-ordination in case of any weather and climate disaster that might occur during this season. Areas of

Teso always suffers floods that destroy crops and property and some cases lives are lost.

Communities were advised to construct proper drainage, open drainage channels to avoid flash floods and water logging and local leaders to mobilise communities to clear the possible water drainage areas and encourage tree planting along riverbanks and clear water pathways to avoid silting.

All these suggestions are welcome, but can the people afford these mitigations? Who is following up to ensure that the contingency plans are in place and updated? What channels are these messages being passed through, who do they target?

The Government should keenly monitor and evaluate some of these programmes and how they are handled. Coming up with these smart suggestions is not enough when they are not yielding desired results.

For the case of Bududa, warnings are always issued and the people know when danger is coming and yet they continue to die in big numbers while the Government continues to send relief to the affected communities and the same repeats every other season. The Government needs to take a firm decision to forcefully relocate all the people in affected areas or more lives will be lost.

This is an issue that needs to be handled carefully yet firmly otherwise people will continue to die, if we continue to do things in the same way.

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Agriculture Is Still Uganda’s Future

By Carolyne Muyama

Vegetables at the presidential cottages

Those in urban areas and don’t have big space can grow vegetables on their verandas or small spaces to avoid buying everything from the market.

According to the 2016 Poverty Assessment by World Bank, between 2006 and 2013 poverty in Uganda reduced from 53.2% to 34.6% and this is attributed to the significant increase in agricultural income, good rainfall, favorable prices, and political stability. During that period Uganda reduced monetary poverty at a very rapid rate. The proportion of the Ugandan population living below the national poverty line declined from 31.1% in 2006 to 19.7% in 2013. Similarly, the country was one of the fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce the share of its population living on $1.90 per day or less, from 53.2% in 2006 to 34.6% in 2013.

In Uganda, the agriculture sector employees over 70% of the population and contributes 26% to the national GDP. In the financial year 2016/2017 government increased the funds towards agriculture by 65% to 832b although this is only 3% of the national budget, which is way below the Maputo declaration of 2008 that requires members to apportion at least 10% of their national budgets to agriculture. The argument here could be that Government of Uganda has invested in other social sectors like energy, transport and health care which directly impact agriculture.

It is without a doubt that agriculture will play a big role in achieving Uganda’s Vision 2040. The overall objective of the agriculture sector is to promote food and nutrition security and contribute to household income through deliberate coordinated interventions. Agriculture accounts for 79% of the national poverty reduction observed between 2006 and 2013, which underscores the important role the sector plays in creating lucrative livelihoods.

As the backbone of Uganda’s economy, agriculture contributes to over 70% of Uganda’s export earnings and provides the bulk of raw materials for predominantly agro-based industries. That means government needs to prioritize the agriculture sector and support and encourage the farmers through research, affordable implements and access to markets.

The biggest percentage of farmers in Uganda is of small scale basically growing food for consumption and a small portion for sale. Even those who do commercial farming are doing it on small pieces of land but are contributing immensely to the country’s economy as illustrated. Uganda still grapples with the challenge of how to shift farmers from subsistence to commercial agriculture in a hope that this will improve GDP and Ugandans out of poverty.

The encouraging news is research has proved that an acre of land is enough for a farmer in Uganda to shift from the poor to the non poor farming household. The research also deduced that increasing farm size alone is not a silver bullet but only one ingredient of the successful structural transformation in Uganda. There is need for a reexamination of agricultural policies with a focus on extension services, input availability and quality, and access to credit.

In fact research has shown that significant output of farm size stops after 10 acres. This means even with the current land challenges in Uganda, farmers can still maximize output from their land and get out of poverty. This means the biggest percentage of Ugandans have a chance of contributing to the development of this country if they decided to make good use of the land they own.

President Yoweri Museveni’s emphasis for Ugandans to make use of the land they have to engage in agriculture both for food production and commercial purposes is in tandem with the research. Meaning leaders should continue to encourage people to utilize their land as government works on improving breeds, controlling pests and availing markets for farmers.

In Uganda mechanization of agriculture is almost non-existent mostly because Ugandans cannot afford the cost of buying and maintaining implements like tractors. The terrain of the soils is also another factor and yet the most fertile soils are located in hilly areas. There is a practice in Uganda to parcel land into small pieces, which makes large scale farming almost impossible. The issue of absentee landlords also adversely affects agriculture output as the rich people buy off villages of land, which they leave idle and leave the sellers poor and with little or no space for farming. The land policy should also seriously be revised. The issue of selling land to foreigners should be addressed urgently if Uganda is to maximally gain from agriculture given its impact on the economy. Lest, foreigners start selling food to indigenous Ugandans in their own country.

The climate projections in Sub Saharan Africa forecast an increase in the intensity and frequency of droughts. The rain fed character of agriculture in Africa presents challenges as the small scale farmers who are responsible for the largest percentage of agriculture production are the least equipped to adapt. Uganda still relies more on natural endowment than on created advantage like lower transport and electricity costs, superior seed technology, and stronger institutions.

The President’s effort to show people how to irrigate their gardens during the dry season is welcome but cannot be enough. Much as Ugandans need to take harvesting water seriously government should drill dams for communities especially those whose water sources are few and scarce. The extended drought we have had in the past months has shown that if we don’t think outside the box on how to address this challenge more Ugandans will continue die of hunger and the economy will greatly stall.

President Museveni carrying grass for mulching his banana plantation in Kawuwu.

President Yoweri Museveni carrying grass to mulch his matooke garden at Kawumu Presidential Demonstration Farm (2017). Picture by Muyama 

There should be an arrangement by government to ensure that semi- arid areas where agriculture doesn’t do well get food from other areas of the country that produce food in plenty.

Of course the issue of silos should be taken seriously and at village level each homestead should have a granary where food is stored for times when there is food scarcity. It is a shame for a country like Uganda with very fertile soils and two rainfall seasons to be asking for regional or international help because certain communities don’t have food and yet during bumper harvests food rots away in gardens. The reason why farmers sell off food crops like maize and beans from their gardens is because they don’t have means of storing these crops for seasons when there is scarcity for them to get some reasonable money.

As government encourages more people to get into agriculture or to increase production, the issue of market should be addressed because as we have seen, people will only produce the quantity the market will consume. Agriculture is one of the surest ways every Ugandan can make a living because as sure as we live we shall eat. Our biggest task it to strive to meet regional and international market standards.

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Uganda Media Centre Magazine

office-of-the-president-magazine-2017 Click on the link above to download PDF

via #LiberationDay17 Magazine — Uganda Media Centre

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October the Cancer Awareness Month, Reason for my Clean Head

Me and my little sister Christine

Me and my little sister Christine

This year brought some of the saddest news I have heard since my childhood days. When it broke I didn’t know what to say. In fact I didn’t react. It was too painful to take in. The next few days after that I struggled to push every thought related to that to the extreme back of my mind. I hoped I didn’t hear correctly. But how not, it was from the horse’s mouth. A very effective communicator, there is no way it was a mix up of words. In fact she had used the right words for the situation. No second guessing what she meant.
My aunt, the lady I call ‘Mum’ had CANCER. She had delivered the news calmly and left and gone back to her work only to return weeks later to do her city routines. I did not bring up this discussion again in all the conversations we had thereafter. I refused to accept what I heard. It only sank in when she told me of a scheduled surgery to scoop some tissue from the affected area for further tests. I knew then that it was serious.
I was among the very few people she had told and this was not to be discussed with anyone else until she decided. I am sure the person who escorted her to hospital didn’t even know what she was dealing with. So the brave woman drove herself to hospital to the surprise of her doctors.

After weeks of waiting, she confirmed my fears.
All this time I had questions in my mind. I was angry, disappointed, confused I didn’t know what to do. I hoped the tests were negative; in fact I was sure they would be negative. I was wrong. So many nights I went to bed and stared into the dark until wee hours. I had to share this with somebody, I had to let this pain out, I had to have a real long conversation with God, and I had questions.

As a little girl I lost both my parents a few years apart. Or at least that is what it seemed like to me. My little mind had to deal with all that pain and i had to somehow console myself and move on with the world. It never stops you know! Worse still I was separated from my siblings because we had to be looked after by different families (relatives). So each one of us dealt with the loss our own way and we definitely were brought up under different circumstances. We only saw each other once a year if we were lucky. One of us didn’t make it but the two of us survived the harsh world.

We had to adapt to life as quickly as possible and learnt to be adults before the right time. Life was a roller coaster thereafter and I will spare you the details. We are here now, bless the Lord.

During our adult life God gave my sister and I a mother. You know God can destroy a village to save one person. After all that went on we had a mother again. She opened her heart to us. We have now grown close and we are more like sisters. She has cared for us and shared her life with us. I know from a special place in her heart she wishes us well.
Now imagine my disappointment when this woman I have grown to love so much and embrace as my mother breaks the news of a possibility of her having CANCER. She calmly broke the news to me and quickly consoled me saying she will be fine. I knew she was only doing what mothers do, I think, being strong for their children. With the little I knew about CANCER it was hard to take in. I remember the day I openly talked about it I cried myself to sleep. It was too much pain to take at that time but from when I started talking about it I started seeing hope. When I finally confronted God with this matter I had an assurance it would be well.

The journey is still on but there is HOPE. We haven’t given up and she hasn’t lost HOPE. She is a STRONG woman and she never gives up. That’s the one thing I am still struggling to learn from her. It’s not been easy at all and if you have watched a loved one in pain you kind of get it. From the loss of hair, appetite, weight to the endless pain, some days are just better than others.

We have learnt to celebrate the small things that we take for granted in life. That she could sit up some times was cause for celebration, when she got out of bed and came to the living room we celebrated, any news of her eating was a miracle. Each one of us monitored her progress in different ways. We no longer complain, we thank God for the far He has brought us and pray that His healing continues in her life. It will be well. This should also teach us to pray for those in a similar situation.

For the Cancer Awareness Month- October, I decided to shave my hair off instead of carrying a pink ribbon on my chest. Many of us women cannot imagine waking up bald, let alone going out with our hair unattended to. Hair is a woman’s glory, that’s biblical. It adds umph to our outlook. An outfit is not complete without neatly done hair. It is the reason we shall spend hours in the salon just to have it right. Now imagine one morning waking up and your treasured hair remains on the pillow? It is horrific, right?
Cancer patients are put on a treatment called Chemotherapy depending on the stages of the disease. Among the adverse effects of chemo is loss of hair. This happens almost as soon as you start the treatment. It is not easy adjusting to the fact that your hair is no more especially for those who hair is such a big deal.

So Mum lost her hair within the first week of chemo. We are now used to the fact that she has no hair but we are sure it will grow back once this is all over. So you now understand why I got rid of my hair. My shaven head earned me lots of unnecessary attention. First the barber couldn’t believe it when I asked him to cut off everything. He sure gave me a piece of his mind about my own hair. Never mind that we were meeting for the first time. Everywhere I have gone, people especially ladies look at me and look again. It was uncomfortable at first but I got used to it. Now I don’t even notice the stares at all. I have gone through all the why did you cut your hair off, why do you have a bald head, why this why that? A few of them have taken me aside and inquired why my husband wanted my hair off. ‘The only reason you would cut off your hair like that is if your husband orders you to.’ Poor man! But yeah, that is what some people think of marriage.
Also people will have something to say about your life, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with them. People will always talk. Ignore the whispers, discouragements, the strong negative opinions, the judgment and all that negative energy that people like throwing at others. When you lose weight they will talk, when you gain they won’t shut up. You are either too aggressive or too passive. We can never mind our business and let people be, can we?

Cancer Awareness

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Lessons from Gen.Aronda’s Life

As is my practice at a certain hour I turn off my data and eventually switch off my phone before I sleep, which is usually an hour after midnight. So that night I went to bed phone off as usual. When I opened my eyes in the morning I reached for the phone and switched it on and bam! An sms from a friend, ‘Aronda Nyakairima has passed away from Dubai.’ I didn’t even know he had travelled to anywhere. Not that I always know but…
My jaw dropped. I hoped it was not true, that it was a mistake or bad joke. Quickly I turned my data on and alas! All the groups I am part of were going on and on about the same. I couldn’t contribute anything I couldn’t ask for any details. That was shuttering enough.
I didn’t think of his family immediately, I thought of what Uganda had lost- one of her finest. Selfless, dedicated, hardworking, resilient, humble and many other qualities that have been used to describe Gen.Aronda. Many will agree with me that it’s very hard to find such qualities all in one person lately.
I had never worked directly under or with Gen.Aronda although I found myself at a few meetings he chaired or functions he officiated at. Nevertheless I have a few good friends who worked directly under his supervision and I had heard stories. His meetings were no nonsense, assignments had to be completed in time without excuses, phone calls came in at any time, and there was no weekend, no holiday because work had to be done. Many of these had grown fond of him and enjoyed working under him. I thought of these too. How devastated they are! It’s only today that I managed to send an email to one of them. I don’t know what to say without making cliché statements. I haven’t learnt how to deal with grief despite my story.
In comes the family, seeing pictures of his daughter and son seated at front rows watching their dad’s casket makes me wonder what they are processing in their little minds. Losing a parent will never be easy and nothing can ever prepare anyone for the loss of a dear one. And so my heart goes out to the widow and her children. I pray God’s providence is upon them and that they find comfort in the Lord. To his sister who I met once through my very connected friend, no words are comforting enough.
Gen.Aronda did his part. He even died on duty. How committed are the rest of us to the jobs we have? How much of our time do we sacrifice to see good things happen for the good of others? With all the filth especially in government offices, how many are ready to stand for transparency and honesty no matter the ridicule? What we see today evidenced by the stories carried in the media are people bagging as much as they can and little work being done. Broad day robbery!
Roads meant to last 30 years waste away in just months, corruption is the order of the day. Even getting the money that is duly yours is a problem; the paying officer wants a pinch of that! People want to be bribed to do the jobs they humbly applied for. And so when we lose outstanding people like Gen.Aronda my heart aches for Uganda. When people enter jobs they think it’s their turn to eat.
It will take a supernatural power to boot these rotten characters out of our way. And so those who pray to any power summon them for help.
My challenge is to clean up my house, pick a few a few of Gen.Aronda’s attributes and do my part.
Rest in Peace General Aronda.

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Take Charge of your life, Get Tested

That is my post last year and not much has changed since then. This year the focus is on having ‘zero new HIV infections’ and the aim is controlling the number of babies being infected at birth or through the infected parents.

The HIV prevalence rate in Uganda is 7.3% and 1.6m Ugandans are living with HIV of which 100,000 are pregnant women.

To join the struggle, take that test today and live responsibly.


Almost every family in Uganda has been affected by HIV/AIDS- they have lost a relative or friend to this scourge. At some point in the history of HIV/AIDS in Uganda, most of the orphans were victims of this scourge.

To this effect many NGOs had opened up to help such children by taking care of their education needs but also their health and nutrition needs. Never mind that before long some living parents started registering their children under these programs.

Because of the seriousness of the virus and the effects it had on communities in the country, the government was quick to step in. There were all sorts of campaigns carried by all available media against this scourge.

‘I still remember the sound of the drum that was played every hour over the radio with a message that warned against HIV/AIDS, it was terrifying and depicted the seriousness of the…

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Tips for a bride to be

It is said that the last four months of the year are the busiest on the ‘marriage calendar’. So you will be told to book everything early enough including the guests! I happened to have my traditional marriage in one of these busy months and true to what they say, it is peak season! Prices are up and competition is on. What will save you is planning early enough and booking in time. From the whole running around, there are lessons I picked for you who is planning such a function for yourself, sister, mother, grandmother, co-wife or a dear friend.
Praying Woman
This is the time you will need prayers most because your mind will be filled with a lot of stuff. If you are not careful your mental faculties will shut down a bit. The only way I stay calm is by praying. When I have prayed then I know it’s my obligation to believe and to believe I have to keep fear far from me. So pray, pray and pray some more. Every one of us has something we believe in – my God above did wonders for me and up to now I am still in awe!
He dealt with the finances, placed the right people in my life just for that purpose, raised intercessors for me and the weather was on point! That is beyond my expectations. I had asked God for all these and He outdid Himself.
I vividly remember one morning about three days before my function when a friend I had not heard from in a long time and who I had not personally told about the function called me to tell me she had a conviction to pray for me and had me in her prayers. This was confirmation that God was on my side, I sat on my bed and didn’t know how to react. God is awesome like that, just trust Him.
The key to a successful day is planning. Plan early enough and have plan B for almost everything. Some things will definitely not go as planned but plan anyway. When the day comes, ignore the few things that will go wrong and smile at the good ones. A gloomy face will ruin your pictures- ladies you know how important pictures are 

Hold meetings for ideas and support

Hold meetings for ideas and support

Your parents or guardians will have a very big influence on your function so the earlier you involve them the better. Be as understanding as possible. You may want a very small function but your parents will have friends. I thought 150 people were a maximum until my father dropped in on me. His relatives and friends alone were more than 300! Yeah, my jaw dropped too. But everything worked out well and at the end of the day I was glad everyone came. So talk the parents and come to a compromise, at the end of the day it is also their function and they are celebrating you!
‘Friends are a family we choose,’ so choose yours wisely! Friends are an asset and the more you have the better for you because some of them will disappoint you nicely but if you are lucky a good number will stick with you. No need to judge anyone, people will be themselves once in a while.
Seek the help of friends

Seek the help of friends

Kajambo to my dear friends who were my eyes, ears and hands as I was being confined to those four walls as is the norm with most African brides. Where I wasn’t you were, God will bless you because I asked Him to.
They are an asset but can also be the biggest lot of saboteurs. Choose wisely who you deal with. Some of you may not understand this so good for you. For those who do, take caution and involve your friends in the preparations because where you will not be your friends will be – hopefully.
Service Providers
While some will not care what quality of service they throw you as long as they have taken your money others won’t have their name go down the drain just because of the few shillings you couldn’t top up. Hi5 to Makayi (those from Eastern Uganda should try him) for the delicious food cooked with his soul and heart. I saw professionalism in every sense of the word!
Luwumbo was one of the delicacies on the day's menu

Luwumbo was one of the delicacies on the day’s menu

Unfortunately, there are not many Makayis. Some will take your money, give you a crappy service and insult you. Feel free to consult me before you make up your mind (those from Bugisu) on some of these people.
Anyway, when that happens, focus on ‘Makayi’
and smile through your day, don’t go down the drain with them.
Spend only what you can afford. We all know the kind of function we want and how much we can afford. If there are resources, spend as much as will make you happy. It makes no sense working to impress anyone, at the end of the day nobody cares. Do what will make you happy! Be simple if you want to be simple, go flashy if that’s what makes you happy and you can afford it.
Before you call people for a meeting be sure to foot ¾ of the budget if things don’t go well at least the remaining ¼ can be foregone or solicited.
Avoid being your own treasurer because you will not know how money collected has been spent. Separate your money from the money for the function for better planning.
Use the money for the intended purpose

Use the money for the intended purpose

Identify reliable friends/family to deal with paying different service providers to avoid being stressed on your day. You can’t be the one paying service providers as they arrive or leave! All you need to see are receipts after payments.
Even when everyone has been paid off, carry emergency money. Things always come up.
Enjoy the Day
Enjoy your day

Enjoy your day

Last but not least, whatever happens enjoy your day! Whether the decorator has not come or the dry cleaners messed up your best gomesi/mushanana/mwenda, smile because nobody will tell. At the end of the day it is your smile that will set the mood for the function. Whether in plan B or original dress, all people will remember is the happy bride! I believe I enjoyed my ‘kwanjula’.

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