We should prioritise security, education, health and youth

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My eyes are on the EAC having just admitted the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which raises  enviable socio-economic comparative advantage compared to other global economies

Certain vagaries that occur should send us in high level thinking, seeking proactive safeguards and/or proffer lasting solutions, should they dawn on us or recur in future.

For instance, when I consider what devastating gloom Covid-19 blighted our economy with due to infirmities, hampered economic productivity, mortalities claiming tens of thousands of lives, or more recently, the unfortunate and costly ailment and subsequent demise of former Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, and/or nearly two years of our children’s would-be progressive education lost to lockdowns; or the depressing ravages of Western-funded 2011 Arab Spring insurrections that left hitherto magnificent cities and coveted economies, especially Libya in ruins, needless to mention the murder most cruel of its leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi, and now the crippling phenomenon of war between Russia and Ukraine, I am restless with the conviction that rethinking, reclaiming Africa’s future and destiny has never been more urgent.

Such is the discourse I wish to see gaining traction among African decision makers or leaders. We can no longer afford to slumber, giving the enemy opportunity to engulf us. Africa must arise.

My eyes are on the EAC having just admitted the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which raises  enviable socio-economic comparative advantage compared to other global economies: demographic dividend with majority over 60 percent, youthful, innovative, ambitious, but also fairly idle citizens due to piercing unemployment; insurmountable natural and mineral resource potential think about a coast-to-coast economy; from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic ocean unhampered, plus, of course, untapped immense mineral and oil deposits etc.,

I can only imagine what threat that presents to Africa’s adversaries, and what evil schemes they may already harbour. For their vast oil and minerals, South Sudan and DRC have since long endured unacceptable foreign interference and conflict consequences of which spill[ed] over to their neighbours. Internally, myriad promising lives are unfairly lost to war, survivors grievously traumatised, some maimed, and deprived of livelihood, scamper fleeing to seek refuge from neighbours. For instance, for over 50 years, Uganda has been and remains second home to tens of thousands of refugees from Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

However, despite great support governments of host countries and humanitarian agencies may render refugees, nothing whatsoever effectively compensates for their natural habitat, and freedom of mind and movement. A typical African is used to fending for their livelihood within the means their natural habitat offers rather than be confined in a settlement / camp and wait to be fed like caged chicken!

A free and sober mind is the greatest resource human beings are blessed with. These confer and reinforce our dignity. Sadly, conflict and confinement inhibit them and expected benefits thereof. Security of persons and their property buttresses their well-being and empowerment, which those [foreigners] with sinister exploitative interests against such people find unpalatable. They would rather have them in unending dependence so they can perpetually control them. That, regrettably, for far too long, remains the case for Africa and specific foreign nations. It must stop! Guaranteed security cuts it.

As safeguards in deterring such, our leaders should focus more on Africa’s aforesaid demographic dividend young people, and through unified solidarity, and [strictly] only strategic mutually-interdependent alliances, tap, train, innovate distinctively African models, and deploy them to make the most of them, replicating them across the EAC bloc/continent.

We must be deliberate about African defence. We need a regional / continental standby army including ground, naval, air/space forces to counter any foreign attack.

Young people are exploiters’ targets; if ignored, they are a ticking time bomb! I have passionately written about this before and, therefore, need not overemphasise it.

I am thankful that the discussion about the young people is now intentional, by and from fairly youthful, powerful and privileged like Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Patrick Katagata Jr, Prospective MP Buhweju County, [email protected]

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