Thought and Ideas
WATCHDOG: Ex-FDC official sought Museveni nod for UN job
Posted Sunday, August 5 2012 at 01:00
President Museveni is out doing what he does best, hunting. This time though it’s not for animals, but spineless officials from the strongest opposition party, FDC. First was the former FDC Jinja District Woman MP contestant Maureen Kyalya Walube, who was appointed as presidential adviser on poverty alleviation in Busoga.
Put another way, she was appointed to earn a salary for doing nothing in Busoga. Presidential adviser “jobs” are usually cushions reserved for NRM political failures, but this scoop meant that a position had to be created for Kyalya. You’d think that in this era of unreflective ministries (Ethics and Integrity) and districts poverty in Busoga deserves a ministry, but apparently it does not make the cut. This week another FDC official was ensnared. FDC ideologue Anne Mugisha applied for a UN job, passed the interview, but then met with an obstacle: she was known for criticising the government. Ugandan officials complained to the UN that she might not work well with AU peacekeepers in Somalia, where she would be stationed, because of her affiliation. Anne thought and in the end turned to the benevolent provider, writing a letter to the President promising to end her “opposition activism.” What’s the word again, go-getter?
Makerere rises in world varsity ranking
Ah well, the only ranking where Makerere always improves. Of course accompanied with the usual fanfare: newspaper headlines about how Makerere University has risen in world rankings (surprised though that the government bulletin did not give it front page status). Top it with a self-congratulatory statement from a university official about how the university is getting better and better.
Bollocks, I tell you. By now we should just nod nonchalantly each time Webometrics publishes it rankings and get on with more serious stuff. There is nothing much to be proud of in rankings whose criteria is a university’s visibility on the Internet, including the volume and quality of its research publications. What this only tells you is that the university is quite adept at using the Internet; end of story. The rankings don’t assess the quality of the publications. And, in Makerere’s case, they won’t tell you that living conditions for on-campus students, the halls of residence, are atrocious. That the university is embroiled in an embarrassing vice chancellor selection process. That teaching standards and the final products are lax and half-baked. No wonder the university’s quality assurance director dismissed more rigorous and respectable rankings as “not inclusive” and “very rigorous.”
Ebola patients go on strike over govt neglect
I don’t like faddish phrases – kyaba too good, kyaba too much, that kind of thing – because they are fads, hence shallow. Yet, with each story about the Ebola outbreak and government’s response, I’m slowly falling for one I keep meeting strewn all over social media; only in Uganda.
Only in Uganda would it take the Ministry of Health two weeks to ascertain that a “strange” disease is indeed Ebola, despite the fact that we have had outbreaks on more than one occasion. And, after news saturates and a response is mounted, somehow the medical workers in the most critically hit area, Kibaale District, have their lives put on risk because government has failed to provide adequate gear and drugs.
You wonder whether the intention is to create more heroes to justify those ridiculous medals they hand out every June 9th.
Not that the patients were any better off. At Kagadi Hospital, Kibaale District, police had to be brought in to calm patients protesting neglect in an isolation facility.
Apparently they did not have food and clean water, and they said they were better off at their homes.
The hospital resorted to asking well-wishers (whatever that means) and civil society organisations to donate food. Like they say, only in Uganda.
Let’s not deride performance of Ugandan athletes
It is a truism that sports is not a priority of this government. Developing it will not win them elections – creating new districts, intimidation, and rigging the electoral process usually does it – and there is no direct (read monetary) gain if it establishes well-funded and accountable structures. So while blaming them for our poor performance at the Olympics is warranted, it is begging the question. The better thing to do is forget about it and watch as it messes up everything else.
Yet, we are not doing our athletes, or those who will follow them, any favours by making fun of them when they fall short. What did we expect; that they would go on to break world records and stack up gold medals after the inadequate preparation they had for the games? Making jokes about how our swimmers were disappointed after being told they could not use jerrycans is well, funny, but is also forgetting that we are emperors in our new clothes.
Our Olympic excursions, as long as things remain the same, will always end the same way this will end. Sure, a few initiatives could improve our standing in the next games. Until then, we should be proud of what our team is doing. Cease the stupid jokes.