where are all the housies?

Following closely on yesterday’s revelation that the Government had hit on a brainwave in paying jobless Ugandans as a way of  thinking of “reducing poverty and accelerating economic growth”, I have suffered a minor domestic loss.

I got home at around 1745hrs, just a little earlier than usual, threw the newspapers onto the table and placed my laptop carefully by the side of the armchair and proceeded to go through my evening routine as normal – shoes off, kids on, kids off, clothes off, bathroom, night clothes on, blackout, wake up, bathe, clothes on, kids on, coffee on with yesterday’s newspapers, etcetera.

I don’t know whether it was the extra hour that did it, but I think it had some role to play in subsequent events.

The above routine broke off after ‘kids on’. There was no coffee, neither were there newspapers from yesterday. A quick search of the kitchen revealed that there was no housegirl either. Apparently, my early arrival yesterday evening gave her an extra hour of interaction with my stuff.

Particularly the newspaper.

In further detail, that bloody page one story!

It turns out that prior to taking up a position in my domestic department, the damn woman (pictured right), originally from somewhere in

If you see her, please retrieve my newspaper. I hadn't finished the Sudoku!
If you see her, please retrieve my newspaper. I hadn't finished the Sudoku!

Bushenyi, had attended primary school for a modest number of years. Whereas she was incapable of working out the science behind decisions such as, “For how long should I press this flat iron against this dress, which is made out of a very light material? Longer or shorter than the time I press it against the khaki shirt?”, she could read the words, ‘Government to Pay Jobless Youth’ quite well.

I suspect that it took her most of that hour by which I had gotten home early, to read the five words in that headline. I am sure that the decision to quit her gainful employment with me in search of the promise of payment by the Government was taken rashly. Just like the time she microwaved a tub of Blue Band to correct her error of placing it in a freezer. Nevertheless, she took her decision, as well as my copy of the newspaper announcing the Government’s brand new poverty alleviation plan.

‘Pay Jobless Youth’ indeed! All of you out there resident in the Pearl of Africa should beware – there will be no housies left before long, considering how much you pay them. Actually, come to think of it, there might be no young people left either, if the other Government plan of paying the elderly a monthly stipend of Ushs200,000 goes through!

What happened to educating people and facilitating them to work and generate not only their own incomes, but economic stimulants in the form of industry and business that would provide government revenues by way of taxes to be utilised in providing social services, educating more people and providing infrastructure and so on and so forth?

no pain, full gain

Increasing our reading on the stupidometer significantly yesterday morning, somebody in the Government has engaged on a plan to pay a “monthly facilitation” to “unemployed youth”. According to The New Vision lead story, titled, ‘Government to Pay Jobless Youth’, the plan, “aims at reducing poverty and accelerating economic growth.”

Enter George Bekunda who is NOT above said numbskull, but is identified as Director of Social Protection in the Gender Ministry, with the comment: “We have finalised the draft plan for the automatic cash transfer scheme as a form of extending social protection to the vulnerable groups.” He obviously does not realise that the vulnerable group here is the group of Uganda shillings that will be allocated to this purpose.

But further on in the story, more is revealed. Apparently, even the Minister of State for Labour, Emmanuel Otaala, made comment on other plans to provide a monthly facilitation for “elderly people who are not catered for under the pension scheme and NSSF” – and all this at a workshop on social protection organized by “Development Research and Training, a local advocacy organisation”. Uganda, the story says, has around 1.4million elderly people, or 4.6% of the population, and 2% of the total labour force of 11million was unemployed in 2005/2006. “However,” the story says, “400,000 enter the labour market every year, of whom only about 113,000 find employment in the formal sector…Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 56% of Ugandans under the age of 18.”

This, for me, is the point at which we should have hope. We need to harness this 56% of Ugandans, as yet untainted (we hope and pray!) by the stupidity of their immediate predecessors. We should address the brain matter of this 56% of Ugandans with top quality education, high level mind prompts and solid, non-governmental role models so that when their time comes they do not come up with hare brained schemes such as UG40, or UG200K.

Government To Pay Jobless Youth?

Shouldn’t the government be offering to top up employed youth’s salaries with Ushs100,000 a month rather than pay the Jobless Ushs200,000 a month? Turn that round on its head and see how many people register with NSSF and URA!

crying over shilt milk

Now check: according to one of our newspapers, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire (http://www.sundayvision.co.ug/detail.php?mainNewsCategoryId=7&newsCategoryId=125&newsId=677692) last week advised journalists to “…stop ‘killing’ tourism cash flow…”

“We have got so much to show and see in Uganda, but the 4th Estate says we have shit (feaces – sic) in our milk,” the Honourable Minister is quoted to have said.

Refer to the story that ran a day before that (http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/677581) concerning lions being donated to Uganda by a zoo in the UK. Given that our biggest tourist attraction is the possibility of viewing our wildlife out in the open, what could discourage a tourist more than the news that we have so few lions that we are taking donations of the bloody animals from the UK?

The UK? The last time they probably had lions indigenous to them the mammoth was current affairs.

So in the case of the UK-donated lions, who is scaring tourists away – the media or the ‘Wildlife Education Centre’ that informs the world in an official quote that “…There are national parks in the country that were once known to be populated with lions, but they no longer have any lions.”?

The honourable Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry would do well to interest himself in the qualifications and intelligence quotient of the official who ‘educated’ tourists on our availability of lions in our national parks.

Better still, perhaps he should take an interest in how the media works in order to get to the bottom of this problem of discouraging tourism by pointing out shit in milk.

If you boil your damn saucepan of milk, sir, and due to poor urban planning it ends up being placed in the corner of a pit latrine where undisciplined users trip about in pot holes while thousands of unregulated, ill-trained boda-boda chaps and taxi drivers race around with no regard for rules, law and order, then, honourable sir, there will be shit and a lot more besides in your milk.

And when somebody points this out to you, the normal order of things should have you whipping out consultation fees and a decent tip to show your gratitude for the heads-up, after which you should get about putting your house in order.

Start by firing the ministry..I mean kitchen staff.

Otafiire cautions media

By Francis Emorut 

THE minister of Trade and Industry, Kahinda Otafire, has warned the media against highlighting negative reports about the country that would scare away potential tourists and investors. 

“We have got so much to show and see in Uganda, but the 4th Estate says we have shit (feaces) in our milk,” Otafire said while addressing hoteliers and tour operators at a cocktail at Serena Hotel in Kampala last week. 

“Journalists should stop ‘killing’ tourism cash flow. I do not know why President Yoweri Museveni, went to the countryside to teach teachers about patriotism and not beginning with journalists,” Otafire said. 

He argued that there was no country in the world that could not do without tourism and does not attract investors. 

He urged the media to sell Uganda’s image abroad instead of decampaigning tourism industry and antagonising the investments in the country.

Published on: Saturday, 11th April, 2009

king of the bungle

Disbelief slammed me right in the centre of the forehead on reading Thursday’s hot news re: ‘Uganda gets two lions from UK’, followed by a strong bout of nausea that intensified when I got to paragraph three where the reporter wrote, “These two lionesses were recently donated by Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).”

A Wildlife Park in the UK donating lions to Uganda? WTF?

My anger rising at the same rate at which stupidity appears to be spreading among certain sections of the management under which our society finds itself, I read on in astonishment: “The UWEC executive director, Dr. Andrew Seguya, hailed the arrival of the two lionesses, saying they would boost the campaign to conserve lions.”

What is hailing? According to my Apple dictionary: “acclaim enthusiastically as being a specified thing: e.g. he has been hailed as the new James Dean.”

The Executive Director of UWEC, therefore, poured enthusiastic acclaim onto the UK wildlife park for their donation because it would “boost the campaign to conserve lions”.

The Uganda Wildlife Education Centre’s contribution to the campaign to conserve lions, from what the story tells us, has so far led to there being one (1 = moja = ein = un = une = imu = emu) lion in existence at Entebbe.

See paragraph two: “The (two) big cats bring to three the number of lions at the centre…they will share their new home with Kibonge, the lion who has lived a lonely life since the death of his partner, Salama, in 2003.”

For the last six years, UWEC has had only one lion.

A couple of sentences later, the Executive Director, Dr. Seguya, delivered a fantastic quote befitting of his job title, academic qualifications and, obviously, vast intellectual prowess: “Lions are one of the renown big five (animals)…”. This profound revelation, which my six-year old daughter has been aware of for the last two years at least, the Doctor quickly followed up with his contribution to the development of Uganda’s tourism industry: “…There are national parks in the country that were once known to be populated with lions, but they no longer have any lions.”

I won’t go into my private efforts to pull more tourists into Uganda.

Angered enough to wish the lonely lion had lost his mind years ago and mauled his keepers to death, I noted that the story quotes three employees of UWEC – the hapless Executive Director Doctor guy, the spokesman, who gives us a quote that underscores the kindness and empathy of the Paradise Wildlife Parks as well as the numb idiocy of our one and only zoo, and some other doctor who claims that should any disease be identified in the donated lions, “…we will be able to monitor…carry out different tests…and knock it out…” which is a damn lie considering that they have had only one lion to study these six years past. The buffoons.

But the point is, here we have three officials and just one lion. WTF, I ask you again? Seriously, what is wrong with this picture besides the fact that the country’s leading newspaper chose to run the article in a straightforward manner, allowing the ludicrous to go past like a silent fart in a public toilet?

Story follows below for your disgust. Please avoid spitting on your computer as you read this: 

By Steven Candia 

AMID the chirping of birds and beneath the gently swaying tree canopies, 11-month Zara, who arrived in Uganda on Tuesday night, paces about agitatedly in a holding facility. 

A few metres away in a separate enclosure is three-and-half-year-old Bisa, seated peacefully trying to come to terms with her new environment. 

These two lionesses were recently donated by Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK to the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC). The big cats, bring to three the number of lions at the centre. 

After habituation, they will share their new home with Kibonge, the lion who has lived a lonely life since the death of his partner, Salama, in 2003. 

Zara, who turns one on May 13, was raised by Brian Badger, a senior keeper at Paradise Wildlife Park. 
The 72kg lioness was rejected by her mother at the age of five months. 
Badger, who accompanied her to Uganda, leaves for the UK today. 

Bisa on the other hand hails from South Africa. She was flown to the UK at 12 months. Unlike Zara, she is not attached to Badger. 

“I am no magician and I cannot put myself to unnecessary risk with Bisa. There are things that I do with Zara that I can not do with Bisa,” Badger said. 

Ten-year-old Kibonge roared with joy upon the arrival of the lionesses. 
The UWEC executive director, Dr. Andrew Seguya, hailed the arrival of the two lionesses, saying they would boost the campaign to conserve lions. 

“Lions are one of the renown big five (animals) which face extinction. There are national parks in the country that were once known to be populated with lions, but they no longer have any lions,” he said. 

UWEC spokesperson Mbaganya Niwomujuni said: “Members of Paradise Wildlife Park visited us last year and were touched by Kibonge’s loneliness. They decided to donate the two lionesses,” 

When theThe New Vision visited the centre on Wednesday, Kibonge sat at peace under a tree, as if in harmony with the arrival of the new guests, now quarantined in the facility next to his. 

The lionesses will spend 30 days in isolation, which UWEC’s Dr. Noel Arinteireho said is aimed at guarding against the spread of diseases at the centre. 

The quarantine will be followed by two weeks of integration, conservationists said. 

Lions have a life expectancy of 15 years in the wilderness and between 25–27 in enclosed environments. 
While lions reach maturity at about five years, lionesses attain it at about four years. 

“From here we will be able to monitor them and carry out different tests to check for diseases. But the duration is also long enough for a disease to manifest itself just in case they have any and for us to knock it out,” 
with their maturity depending on many factors like healthy, nutrition and the environment among others. Some lionesses have been reported to reach sexual maturity at 2.5 years and others at 6.5 years, says Arinteireho.