Sunday October 7 2012

What I love about Uganda

I love the nature and the beauty of the country - Hon Christine Ondoa, Minister of Health.

I love the nature and the beauty of the country - Hon Christine Ondoa, Minister of Health. 

Life asked some people what they love about the country.

Hon Christine Ondoa, Minister of Health
I love the nature and the beauty of the country. We have peace, freedom of speech and business. Kampala has expanded from the seven known hills. The education system has been improved with the many universities, institutions and schools. There is an improvement in the health sector where the services are extended to all the health centres, people no longer need to travel long distances in search of health services.

Timothy Mutebi, taxi driver Ggaba stage
I love nothing about my country because it is filled with corruption; the leaders no longer care about us the peasants. We always go to hospitals but do not find medicine. Our children go to school but are not taught because the teachers are striking and there are high levels of unemployment. People have lost the dignity and women dress indecently. It is so annoying that no president has left the presidency peacefully.

Peter Kajjiri, councillor, Buwama, Mpigi District
I love the cultural settings where people are free to practise their cultures and norms. Uganda is a God fearing country and people have been given chance to practise their religions. I also love the built relationship between the policemen and soldiers with common people, they are no longer a threat like it was before independence; they got to know that we are human like them.

Julie Mutesasira, local gospel artiste
Everything around us is good, for example, the security. People move at any time of the night without being bothered by army or policemen like it was before independence. I always leave functions late at night and reach safely. I love the favourable weather. It never interfers with our trade or locations that much unlike in other countries where people may get displaced.

Patrick Isiko, LCII chairman Buwenda Parish, Mafubira Sub county, Jinja
There is freedom of speech, worship and good security in the country .
In education there is a problem, those days they used to give scholastic materials but it is not the case these days despite there is free education.Nonetheless, for the last 26years, there has been security. Women have been also recognised as you can see, there are female ministers, which is good for our country.

Faith Biyinzika, textile cloth dealer, Jinja
I love Uganda because the security has improved. People move freely throughout the night. Even if you come across police and soldiers they do not disturb along the roads.
I see people travelling with soldiers in public vehicles and interacting freely which was a great change compared to the past regimes. There is stability in the country, people are constructing big houses and there is free education for the children of Uganda.

Andrew Ogwang Oyang, LC5 vice-chairman, Lira
I love my county motto- For God and My Country- this makes Uganda a religious country that embraces all sorts of religious sects within the country; everyone is free to practice his or her religion. Secondly, what I love about my county Uganda is the recognition of the contribution of different personalities in the country. Celebrating Ugandan Independence is recognising the effort of the ex-President Apollo Milton Obote and his auxiliaries in the fight to bring freedom from colonial domination.

Gertrude Lando, Mbale
If the people who struggled for this country to get independence came back today, they would ask to go back immediately because they will find a country they craved for messed up. The old governments were here for a short time, but there was no corruption, they built infrastructure that still stands the test of time. Today, the only thing I can love about Uganda is that we are independent, we can manage our affairs although the type of leaders we have all self-seekers, we just need to revisit our past.

Monday Kabiito, a trader in Masaka
What I like about Uganda today is the relative peace and stability that we are enjoying. The question is how long will it last, especially if we do not pursue the political lines that sustain stability and peace, such as carrying out fair elections? There is some economic development and people everywhere in Masaka Region are constructing better houses. I see more cars on the road. If we learn to change our leaders peacefully and we sustain this kind of stability then the future will be bright.

Mary Bebwajuba, Kabale District vice chairperson
People vote candidates of their choice regardless of who is influencing them. Uganda is a better country than what it used to be in the past. Government policies on education such as universal primary and secondary education, Naads, improved health services at parish level, improved transport systems making the rural villages connected to market centres to sell their agriculture products makes Uganda a good country to live in.

Canon James Kahuku, retired church leader, Kabale
I love Uganda today because of the current peace and freedom of expression. In the olden days, you would not be sure of tomorrow. The existence of many places of worship and dedicated church leaders have also made Uganda a beautiful country for one to live in. What we want to day is for Ugandans to love and forgive each other to fight greed and promote harmony.

George Rashid Opio- Ojwina LC5 councilor, Gulu
My love towards the country is improving now that people are preparing for the celebration of Uganda’s 50 years of independence.
However, there are few things in the country that need to be addressed; the level of corruption by the Central Government is becoming unbearable and affecting development
in the country.

Sam Kusemererwa, fruits seller, Kampala
I would have been proud of my country and all we have as Ugandans, but the problem is that we are not safe. Our security is poor, poverty levels are still high, and leaders do not want to leave their post. This has created wrangles and insecurity right from the local levels.

Sula Magezi, human rights activist, Masaka
What I like about Uganda today is the freedom that we have which allows people from any part of Uganda to move and do business or any other job in any part of Uganda. Take Masaka here as an example; we have people from Kisoro and Fort Portal working here without any problem. When you go to Mbarara you will find people from as far away as Jinja.

Justine Bako, Social Worker, Arua
Uganda is my country no matter what happens in it. You can never buy a mother. Even if you go to the market, you cannot buy another mother. It is a real Pearl of Africa because of the beautiful sceneries we have and the peace. When someone is coming to the country, they say I am going to the Pearl of Africa. So it is the best place to be in because I love it.

Sam Waboga, Mbale
There is nothing to love about Uganda, but rather all of us must rethink Uganda. Our parents who grew up in the past lived in a good country, the governments of the day built schools, hospitals, built a respectable civil service, respected everything in the country and ensured every Uganda benefited from the country, but today we have lost. This is a country for a few people who don’t even care whether others have eaten or not.

Interviews and photos by Christine Katende, Robert Muhereza, Michael J Ssali, David Mafabi, Denis Edema, Bill Oketch & Felix Warom Okello


Foreigners share on their love for Uganda
By Jonathan Adengo

The people in Uganda are very hospitable and respectful a lot. They really have respect for other people. I have also come to appreciate the weather in Uganda. It is very good unlike for us in India.
Yogesh Vyas, Sales executive

Uganda has a very good business environment given its vast population. I also love the various cultures of the people especially the central where it’s really strong. I also generally love the weather in the country.
Jagdish Patel, Store manager

I have lived in Kigali and compared to Uganda, Kampala is very alive. The people are kind and always happy. I have come to appreciate the fact that Ugandans generally like to have a lot of fun. The city is also very much alive with a lot of hang outs-Katherine

The people in Uganda are really very friendly and the weather is also really cool. The people around are also very respectful and have good hospitality. I also love the culture of the people.
Ross Wilson

I come from China and Uganda is like a home to me now. It’s a generally nice country though there is too much jam and dust. Otherwise the people are good and business is also good.
Fan Junyi, Businessman

Uganda is a lovely country and the people are very enthusiastic. The weather is good. The business environment around is also very conducive except for the high theft and poor drainage.
Lan Yin Xin, from Korea

One thing I have liked in Uganda is the weather. The people are very nice and also hospital. The security is also good and there is a lot of fun in Uganda.
Meng Ling Dong from Japan


The fame and shame of Uganda

By Brian Magoba

Stop reading now if you expect this article to encyclopedia practices from all 56 Ugandan ethnicities, or trends that represent the 36 million Ugandans spread across over 112 districts. But if you understand it is no substitute for live experiences, get books like Shirley Cathy Byakutaaga’s Tips on Ugandan Culture, and enrich your understanding of the shameful and positive things that define Ugandan-ness.

English with a Ugandan flavour is broken English meets-broken vernaculars. The result is a hodge-podge of direct translations sharing conversational space with phrases so localised that speakers of the original languages need “Ugandan software” to decode things like “eh, you got lost on me bannange!”, and how English verbs earn extra a’s at the end (we will ku-sharing-a the ka-pancake).

Wedding meetings
Formerly, weddings were simple affairs with toilet paper decorations, desks for guests, the best sofa commandeered for the bridal couple, plus milk-tea/soda with samosa/cake/bread. Now common are what satirists call “begging meetings”, where couple and friends chat ways to raise millions for a “respectable ceremony”.

Forceful Wooing
One foreign friend blushed when on a hiking tour of downtown Kampala, a ruffian hissed “sister” at her, before asking his new sister for “some”. I told her she was lucky he did not feel her up.

Come tomorrow
Getting clothes back from a tailor? Chasing papers like academic transcripts, or cutting through bureaucratic red tape? Expect a “come (back) tomorrow”, which tomorrow might never come if you are allergic to greasing palms.

Poor reading culture
One chapter in Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino is titled My Husband’s House Is a Forest of Books. PhD’s are called Permanent Head Damages, and each Reading Week chief guests repeat the barb about books being a good hiding place for money. The Ugandans who read live by Ecclesiastes 12:12; “Of making many books there is no end, and much studying wearies the body”.

The Elastic-Time Concept
T-shirts proclaim “In Africa No Hurry”. Professor “Lugubrious” Apollo Nsibambi is famous for not conforming to “Ugandan/ African” time, where one is on time if they arrive at 5pm for an event meant to start at 3pm.

Macabre funeral dramas
Funerals make actresses of most Ugandan women. Tears, even when genuine, are sectionalised; the pulling-out-my-hair type for her arrival within 100metres of where the deceased lies, as the body is carried out the house, and lastly as the first dirt clogs hit the casket. Professional mourners allegedly engineer tears by squeezing chopped onions concealed in hankies directly into their eyes.

Post-funeral etiquette
Drinking joints where pork can be delivered are usually where most mourners let off funeral-related fatigue. Really hungry ones, especially those of/from Kampala are known to place orders on their way to the funeral itself.

The food
Andrew Zimmern, in Season One of Bizarre Foods, experimented with Ugandan delicacies like grasshoppers, white ants, millet bread, Nile perch and cane rat. Street foods like the Ugandan omelette (rolex), plus staples like the ettooke kawomera (banana plantain) Annet Nandujja sang about partly constitute the bounty that ensures one might never eat the same food twice in the same form if they did a thorough culinary tour of Uganda.

Idi Amin and Kony
Uganda’s two most infamous personalities, known to visitors who can bother to google Uganda before they visit. If not, they would have heard about them from The Last King of Scotland, Kony 2012 and War Dance, which so far are Uganda’s best representatives on the international movie and docu-drama scene.

The unpaid analysts
They seem to do nothing besides congregating over ludo and holding vibrant debate about everything under the sun. Usually men in blue-collar professions, these grassroot pundits are will happily explain the how and why of bars emptying during Ramadhan, why calling places by their official names (St. Balikuddembe Market) is pretentious if common-usage ones (Owino) exist, and why street performers like Diikula were forerunners of Uganda’s budding stand-up comedy.

Uganda is the locale of a bi-annual circumcision fest, subject of BBC documentary World’s Worst Place To Be Gay?, and also where giving directions seems like a vocal mime. These samples mean there is plenty of stuff to enjoy viewing, be divided about, and enjoy enacting.

Readers on Facebook

Qn. As Uganda celebrates her independence Jubilee, we would like to reflect back at the things we love about our country. Share your thoughts: What do you Love about Uganda?

Richie: Petrol Corruption & inflation.
Dani Yell Angulu DaTicha we are very patriotic when it comes to football we just love our dear cranes.
Kaziro Martha: Our beautiful scenaries
Olwiny Joseph: We just don’t care
Saul Zohan Wizeass :pretty women!
Muzukulu Wa Ssambwa: Nature, our environment
Kennedy Mumba Kaingu no democracy! 50yrs dwn te line...
Kyosaba Nikola Ugatfifty: The good relation that motor operators share with those traffic guys at times.
Balikoowa Ronald: God gifted fauna n flora, i lov u all.
Eyvind J. Schumacher :The people, and the nature!
Masaba Aaron Nyereki: there is a lot of drama and comedy in the Ugandan politics...... Haha now “mbu” proscovia arengot is 21 yrs old, days after she claimed she was 19. This is Uganda. I love UGANDA
Ann Rich: when i come the people and the smiles even though so many ive in poverty , and the fact that they believe in God with all the suffering ..
Pule Bryan: The weather.....and pot holes........!!!
Acidri Jackson Ugandans are good People. I LOVE U UGANDANS!
Isa Kanyonyi: Our artists like Master Blaster
Aida Carla: I love the spirituality of Uganda and that It’s not so polluted by some western immoral values
Obua Ronald: Arresting the president like a chicken thief...?
Isaac Osinde: Every thing is possible in Uganda a medical doctor can be an Engineer
Talwana Mark: Weather friendly and peoples’ hosiptality to foreigners.
Drake Dicken Dankari: almost no underground city gang authority like in most developed cities.Relatively peaceful, very poor but seem happy, too much time for any thing
Mukung Joseph Steve: FOOD...
Denis Owor Uganda: @ 50??? The country is more like 5 Yrs
Mugarura Don: I find that I have a lot to hate about this country now that is our own creation than what is inherently good about it