dismay is reading newspapers without warning aka “fwaaaaa”.

DISMAY, according to my Apple dictionary, is: “concern and distress caused by something unexpected”.

I got to Page 12 of today’s The New Vision at 2100hrs/9:00pm and that’s the word that came to mind to describe what I felt.

Of course, I have more than my fair share of lugezi-gezi, which I confirmed by asking a couple of people whether they had read the papers today. They had, much earlier in the day, and had moved on with life.

I couldn’t.
The first box story on Page Two titled ‘Govt to set up productivity centre’ was accompanied by a photo of Minister of State for Labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana, who said the poor mindset of Ugandans coupled with the poor education system has led to low productivity.

Therefore, the government is to set up a productivity training centre for people intending to be employed in the public service so as to boost the country’s productivity, economic growth and gross domestic product.

What does this mean? NO, SERIOUSLY? 

I went to the website, as advised at the end of the clip, to see if there was a more elaborate story about this productivity centre there but found none.

So I googled the headline and the first entry was a story from The Standard of 2002!

‘Kenya: Govt To Set Up Productivity Centre’:
31 January 2002
Plans are under way to establish a National Productivity Centre in Kenya, Minister for Labour, Mr Joseph Ngutu, said yesterday.
Ngutu said the proposed centre aims at spearheading a productivity movement and ensure there is a paradigm shift to performance management…”

Lower down on the page was another small story titled, ’Nandujja wows House’ that referred to Annet Nandujja as a “crooner”, which title I grew up associating with the likes of Freddie Jackson, Luther Vandross and Keith Washington.

It irritated me to read and I just had to check a couple of dictionaries, all of which converged on the decisive definition of a “crooner” as “male”, “soft”, “sentimental”, “low voice”.

I turned the page and tried to forget.
Only to land on Page 5’s ‘Besigye, Lukwago arrested in Kampala’ which carried the memorable: “Besigye reportedly arrived in Kisekka disguised as a passenger in a taxi.”

In short, he got there in a taxi.

Is there a costume or something worn by a passenger in a taxi?

Do they have a certain look about them? A smell? A posture, perhaps, by which they are widely recognised and can camouflage themselves to evade detection?

Is the act of entering into a taxi itself the complete disguise?


Now disguise yourself as a reader and move on:
To the other end of the same page where the snippet ‘Youth want MPs support on health’ irritated me more than the thought of Nandujja crooning.

“A group of youth health activists want MPs to join them in a campaign dubbed” ‘A clean Uganda’…the leader of the activists, Hannington Kato, said the campaign…needs financial and moral support from MPs…”

This is the idiotic dependency syndrome that is being cultivated amongst Uganda’s youths and that somebody must put a stop to soon.

Unfortunately, it won’t be the MPs because they put everything on the bill that taxpayers have to pay – including their iPads – and you try getting them to email you back or read this blog and make a comment off their (my) iPad.

The youth health activists asking for financial support to do some cleaning, though, might have been prompted by reports that the MPs had just received a Ushs36billion parking lot and were now asking for Ushs16billion security system for it.

Like I said, another story for another day. (And I got back to politicians and the youth a few pages on.)
First, though, the Page Six report of Buganda Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga’s fundraising visit to Parliament: “After the motion was moved by Mityana North MP Godfrey Kiwanda and seconded by Betty Nambooze (Mukono), MPs wondered why it had taken the Government so long to release the report (on the Kasubi Tombs fire).”

Which MPs wondered?

Just last week the Parliamentary Committees themselves presented reports to plenary that were two years late – such as the Ad Hoc Committee report on Oil & Gas considering allegations of bribery and the Ad Hoc Committee report on Energy.

In a Monitor story on the delayed Report on Oil & Gas, the Committee Chairman Michael Werikhe is quoted as saying: “Our investigations were issued based and the report is going to be strong and issue based. Let people sit back and wait…”
We did, and there was a story last week saying the allegations were found to be false and baseless.


Strong and issue-based.

I can almost hear him saying, “Yah!”

As for the Ad Hoc report on Oil & Gas, it’s main thrust was to sort out the high energy bill presented by the thermal fuel power generators. One of the companies stopped supplying Uganda with electricity and left the country in June last year (Aggreko), the other two haven’t supplied electricity in 2013, and…ah!


Two Pages later, the story ‘CAOs, town clerks warned over budgets’ promises that “Chief Administrative officers and town clerks have been directed to submit budget framework papers by November 30 or be fired. The directive was given by the acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Patrick Mutabwire.”

I dare any newspaper to report on this come December 1, 2013.

Even The New Vision.
Page 10: Back to the youth issue, with ’Stop politicking, youth told’.

“Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Daudi Migereko has asked the youth to stop wasting most of their time politicking but invest such time in productive activities.”

I personally disagree with the call for them to stop politicking, and prefer instead that they be told what type of politics to engage in – and certainly not the type most of the people older than them seem to be wasting time doing.

But in the last paragraph the fundamental problem with our approach to the youth presents itself, after the story tells us that Migereko pledged Ushs2m and MP Vincent Bagiire promised Ushs1m to the group: “The chairperson of the Jinja Development Group, Asuman Kambo, explained that they started in 2010 with 50 chairs and one tent, which they hire out to event organisers, but they have now grown to 500 chairs and 10 tents.”

THIS is what the youth do – stuff like boda-boda, hiring out tents and chairs. NOT assembling boda-bodas, making tents and chairs or any wealth creation, and not using loans that they must work hard to pay back.

Perhaps they should attend Rukutana’s Productivity Centre?
On Page 11, the story ‘Dokolo farmers use beehives as coffins’ finally appeared (advertised on Page 1, so I had been waiting for obvious reasons because I have always known bees to be quite small…beehives, too).

“Five years ago, the Ministry of Trade and Industry trained 250 people in beekeeping to boost honey production in Dokolo district…following the training, each participant was given a beehive and the minister (Fr. Simon Lokodo) promised to establish a honey factory in the district if production shot up…”

But then recently, according to Cecilia Atim Ogwal, Dokolo Woman MP, “some residents have used the beehives to bury their dead children, while others split them for firewood.”

Julius Okello, a resident of Atwako village in Okwongodul sub-county, added: “some people use the top iron-sheets of remaking doors and preparing brick-making boxes.”

!!!! #smh #eish!

So maybe the training and intervention should have been in support of brick-making?

Maybe they lost the plot because the honey factory wasn’t established?

No, because Dr. Richard Enyang, the district production officer, “said the production of honey in Dokolo district has gone up due to the many farmers’ groups formed under the programme”.

So perhaps the journalist should be asking Fr .Simon Lokodo whither the factory…

Meanwhile, “Robert Okodia, a farmer and honey dealer, attributed the misuse to ignorance…”

Even after training was conducted?!

I believe the problem is that the beehives were given to them free of charge instead of as a loan secured by the threat of serious personal loss, but again I just have lugezi-gezi.

In the long run of the story, “In Dokolo…the biting poverty has prompted the government and other humanitarian agencies to devise several intervention measures…”

Another thing I disagree with, because it interferes with Darwinism and natural selection.
Below this story was ‘Dr. Obote College picks science prize’ claiming that the College “has received 20 computers after it won this year’s Science and Innovation Challenge…and beat seven traditional giants to win the contest.”

How did they do so? No information. What did they create? No information. Okay, what was the innovation challenge they met? No information.

The rest of the story lists the seven traditional giants in full, names the contest organiser and the sponsors.

Like the beekeepers, you learn nothing.
On Page 12 I gave up after reading ‘MP Cadet advises farmers’ which thankfully was a brief stating in full: “Bunyaruguru Member of Parliament Cadet Benjamin has urged the people of Rubirizi district to engage in commercial farming as one way of eliminating poverty from their homes and improve on their living conditions.

“Poverty and hunger can be eliminated if all people practiced commercial farming for both food and cash crops because this area is suitable for coffee growing,” said Cadet.”

Besides the fact that he was stating the obvious, why is this news? Why do MPs get to gather people in places to listen to such statements?

I can’t be bothered to go and check the Hansard to confirm whether he contributed to discussions on Genetically Modified seeds, biotechnology and other agricultural development debates; or to hear whether he pushed for government expenditure to be re-prioritised to support commercial farming – like asking for Ushs36billion to be re-allocated from a parking lot to tractors for every district or something.

But this is the first time I have heard his name so…fat chance.
In my dismay I really wish we could leave a lot more to natural selection rather than MPs and productivity centres.

8 thoughts on “dismay is reading newspapers without warning aka “fwaaaaa”.

  1. Thanks for the great analysis. I think the solution is to develop the culture of competition in media houses if competent people are hold those critical jos. That is lacking in Uganda seriously. The funny bit is that those guys are alwyas praised.


    1. That’s a good move; but we should start off by employing the very best and most interested; I have always sworn that anybody who reads as a hobby and then takes up journalism will do a better job than someone simply seeking employment and running a gauntlet.


  2. Simon,I feel you fully on this one.I still remember confessing to Peter Mwesige when the Daily Monitor was slammed shut last year that all along I thought I was buying the daily kumbe actually it was the columnists I was interested in! I had by chance noticed that I only bought the paper in anticipation of reading my fav columnists – COO, Daniel Kalinaki,David Mpanga on Saturday, Mark Ssali and Moses Banturaki! Peter then suggested that subscribing to their blogs guaranteed my weekly fix other than buying a useless paper, I never intended to read after all! Fortunately, for the Monitor except for Mpanga and COO the others are not known to blog!


    1. It is a sad state of affairs, but it will improve if we continue pointing out that we know better. If we just go on buying and browsing then we will certainly get what we deserve.


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