Monday January 20 2014

Revisit Uganda’s development agenda

President Museveni’s end of year message was splendid as usual, with emphasis on wealth creation. The new year found me in Bunyoro where I had travelled to spend the festive season with my relatives. This visit gave me an opportunity to observe and analyse the rural lifestyle, development trends in the region, government investments in public goods and services.

I observed worrying levels of inequality; there is a growing trend of begging and high dependence syndrome. It seems the discovery of huge quantities of oil in Bunyoro heightened people’s expectations and anticipation for employment and businesses to make quick money.

The state of service delivery is appalling and betrays the huge support the current regime enjoys in the region. The bloodline of Bunyoro, which is the road that connects the region to parts of South Sudan, DR Congo and other parts of the country, is in a sorry state. This road runs from Kyenjojo-Kagadi-Hoima-Masindi then Kigumba. President Museveni promised to have the road tarmacked in 1990 when he first visited Kagadi as a head-of-state in 1988.This road has been budgeted for in national budgets and money allocated to it since then to date. However, the road has never even been graded to first class murram. The state of this road has greatly hiked the cost of doing business in the region.

When I visited Kagadi hospital which serves Kyenjojo Kyegegwa, Hoima and Kibaale District, my experience was bad. There is a lot to be done to improve service delivery as well as staff conditions. Sanitary facilities are horrible, and sewage system broke down long ago.

Similarly, the education system in the area took a hereditary trend with the children from the rich and prominent families going to schools of distinction and the children of the poor attending ill-equipped schools. That is why one can hardly get any engineer, doctor, or even a lawyer who went through universal primary and secondary education despite the long time frame of this policy’s existence. These professions are already a designate for a special class that will continue to produce the potent human resource base to ironically spearhead the emancipation of peasant from poverty.

Bunyoro has no farm school, medical school, public university and there is a whole Buyaga West constituency with eleven sub-counties without any government secondary school! There are plenty of natural resources in the region where the government fetches colossal sums of money from tourists who travel to view the tropical forests with rare animal species in Budongo, Murchison Falls and Mparo tombs. This is besides revenues from Kinyara Sugar, oil, and all other forms of indirect taxes. It appears this money does not trickle down in form of services our people are entitled to.

Mukiiza E. Ruvende,