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Day November 24, 2008

Does Uganda care about its children(Asuman)

State of child welfare in Uganda

By Balaba Asuman Student Makerere University P.O.Box 7062 Kampala

+256752536771, +256775519571

How child friendly is your country? Should parents or the state be held accountable for the well being of children? Does a country’s wealth guarantee better welfare for children? Should the state interfere in the how parents treat or bring up their children?

In Africa and the world  at large, it is the responsibility of the nationals and the government entrusted to power, to create an enabling environment geared at safeguarding child rights and well-being of children because they are the future governors of the next generation. To answer the above question I will base on the NGOs findings and general observation of the situation in Uganda.

African Network on Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) had frequently reported a high level of child abuse in districts of Uganda. ANPPCAN, research reveals child abuse despite wide exposure by the media and other research institution.

Children have been abused physically, sexually and neglected in that out of 16,800 cases of child abuse 95 percent were committed by male aggressor and 5% by female. The sexual abuse takes (82.9 percent) 13,929, physical abuse (9.9 percent) 1670 and neglect with (2.6percent) 450, while a total of (4.5percent) 751 cases were not classified.

The compiled report from judicial proceedings totaled 1808 cases with Lira having the highest of 221 cases, followed by Mbarara 182, Mubende 136 and Moroto , Buganda Road and Masindi had few cases, 2, 5 and 6 respectively.

On regional level out of 8681 cases, western had 31.1%, followed by central 29.1%, eastern 22.7 and northern with 17.7%. District level, out of 3103 Jinja had 509 with the highest figure, followed by Masaka 419, Pallisa 399, Lira 359, Kira Rd ( Kampala ) 339 and Mpigi 312.

The cause of child abuse has been brought by cultural practices like early marriage with the desire to get dowry, inheritance of the deceased which is found out that most people donʼt use the responsibility entrusted of taking care to children. Also ignorance about the existence of laws to the public has been instrumental hence lagging the effective implementation of ANPPCAN objectives.

There also challenged with limited funding from government in that more emphasise is on child health care like fighting Malaria, Polio among others and little is forwarded to stop child abuse.

ANPPCAN does advocacy work targeted to policy makers to steer the programmes into force like enacting laws to punish the culprits involved. Giving children skills in decision making, build confidence and creating awareness to the public is essential to be focused on, but it wonʼt be possible if there is no proper implementation of policies and law to enhance child rights.

There is need for law enforcers to deal with the aggressors without favouritism promoted by corruption, as well dealing with parents, Guardian or authorities who at times settle matters in the curtain intentioned to bribes given.

Protection of children is everyoneʼs responsibility, for a better Uganda, tomorrow and forever.

ANPPCAN Uganda chapter was established in 1992 being part of the continental Pan-African movement with offices along Kira Rd to advocate for the rights of children and it work with other NGOs like Uganda human rights commission (UHRC), FIDA (Uganda women lawyers association), and Media in the country.

Those abused are in the age bracket of 8-17 and cases ANPPCAN had taken action includes defilement maintenances, parental neglect, child starvation, indecent assault, abandoned, alleged child sacrifice and giving support to former child domestic workers like education.

Does Uganda care about its children?

You have asked a proper question. Does Uganda care about its children? The answer is; No it does not. This is my observation. It is based on the fact that the killing of innocent children for ritual sacrifice has taken on the angle of tacit acceptance/approval by the state. Even Uganda parents who should normally be abhorred by reports of children being sacrificed, are also silent in a gesture that shows they also approve of the ritual killings of children.

If the state had cared about its children the current rampant kusaaddaaka of children including the calous one where a girl of 12 years was killed in a very painful manner where she was placed in a ditch and a mixture of concrete poured over her, even ignoring her cries, then state should have mounted a nationwide search for the tycoon who killed this girl.

But even Parliament has shown no concern otherwise the cabinet should have brouhgt a motion to outlaw witchcraft and stiffen laws against ritual sacrifice.

The possibility is that the people who should implement these laws are themselves believers in ritual sacrifice, believers in witch-carft, and most probably their huge buildings we see in Kampala are standing on the skeltons of these chlidren.

Henry Ford Mirima

Forget Obote and 1966 Lubili attack

“Buganda should forget Dr. Obote, who has long departed to join his
creator, and move on with what is here to be done if they are to avoid
becoming irrelevant in the Ugandan context.”

My friend Abbey Semuwembo,

Your article was great in your attempt to place the blame on Dr. Milton Obote’s door steps. I was indeed intrigued by it since one of the problems we are having in Uganda is not so much the presence of people like Milton Obote amongst us, but rather rewriters of Ugandan history camouflaged in their unquenchable thirst to paint Mr. Obote such terrible negative pictures. Let me quickly mention here that if Dr. Obote was really that stupid and dump, how could the whole Buganda Kabaka in the person of Sir Fredderick Edward Mutesa accept to join hands with him and form the first post colonial Uganda Government knowing well that the historical turn would determine the fate of a virgin country like Uganda. And more, if Dr. Obote was really such an imbecile, how could he have convinced all those “intelligent” Ugandans at the turn of Uganda’s political history and work his way into
becoming the Prime Minister of Uganda with a gun shot, live alone any weapon for that matter. It all goes to say that DR. Milton Obote was a
brain to recon with. I swear that if Museveni had existed then, with his militaristic mannerism, the British would not have granted Buganda
and Uganda Independence at the time when they did it.

Let me now get the second point as food for thought for you here, Kabaka Sir Frederick Edward Mutesa II admits and mentions it in his own words in his book, “The of my Kingdom”, that he sought for military ware from the British Government who turned it down. So he went elsewhere to get the weaponry. His ultimate motive was to start a war if need be. To this therefore, he sought for an approval from the Lukiiko to legitimize his actions. That is why the Lukiiko had to pass it and request the Uganda Government to move out of Buganda. What you continue not to mention in your skewed argument is that, Amin, who was the commander of the Army at the time, was already well aware of the animosity that some Baganda had on him, and there was also the talk about him being censured for his participation in the mutiny in the army in Jinja in particular. Secondly Amin was already aware also that
his actions in subduing the Sudanese rebels in Southern Sudan, and the massacre he carried out in Kenya when he was sent to recapture and
return the stolen cattle from the Kenyan Turkana, were issues already
coming out in the parliament of Uganda. Let me also mention that one
of the reasons for the mutiny in Magamaga was because of the fear that
the Amins were having, including Tito Okello, about the eminent
retrenchment in the Army following a parliamentary advice to the
Government to professionalize the Uganda Armed services.
Now, you say Dr. Obote breached the 1962 Constitution, which constitution was already in trouble because there was a section of the Baganda who were already calling it the “ebbiyoya bya enswa”. The constitution was already headed for a crisis within Buganda, since it emphasized the supremacy of Uganda as an entity in the new country. The Kabaka wanted to have both his roles reflected in the Constitution of Uganda. There were people who then suggested and preferred the creation of a country where the interest of all Ugandans could be taken care of inclusively under the same flag. Some Baganda then realized that they were not going to have their way if those people won. And this was already very likely.

Let me mention here again very quickly that the reason Dr. Obote was overthrown by the military twice is because he was not a war monger let alone his principle of not mixing the military with national politics. Mr.Obote was a man who believed that differences could be resolved by debate and discussion. That was why he liked the parliamentary debates like his baby. Unlike Museveni who only shows up in parliament when he is coming to push something down the throats of Ugandans. Dr. Obote may have his short- comings as a person like all of us, but using the military to score a
political goal was not his alternative. That was why he could be
overthrown by the military but not defeated in a debate.

Museveni could not win by his rebel activity in Luweero; he owes his success to the Okellos. Actually you could see the involvement of some Baganda in
the Luweero misadventure as a continuation of the plans of some people
in the Lubiri in 1966. But to get back to the attack on Lubiri, and in the light of my points about Amin and co. it was therefore carried out on Amin’s orders. Dr. Obote only deployed the special force to go to,first, have Amin withdraw the army back into the barracks, and then have the special police force calm down the situation and restore order. In that confusion, and since you could not tell who was who, Dr. Obote himself apologetically says that regrettably, chaos ensued and people were killed. Unfortunately, the did had already been done by Amin, and the Kabaka had already fled. In an attempt to redress the unfortunate incident, Dr. Obote then tries to get in touch with the Kabaka while he was still in Kigali to no avail. The Uganda Government did not stop his allowances from being sent to him later wherever he was. The Kabaka eventually settles in London and the Government continues to wire his allowances there. It was after the concern of the British Government that how could Sir Frederick Edward Mutesa II justify his claims of prosecution when he was continuing to receive money from the same Government that allegedly was persecuting him,that the funds were finally stopped.

As for the mutiny you referred to, I have already given you a quick
synopsis about it. Remember that the non-commissioned army personnel
and other armed officers were being paid minimal pay sine they did not
fall anywhere in the Ugandan Civil Service pay structure. Some of them
complained that they should be paid like other civil servants since they were also working for the same government.  Meanwhile, the citizenship of some these people were also under review. So you are talking about so many issues that the new Government at the time had to deal with, and from scratch mark you. They were dealing with everything from scratch, with no previous experience and/or record to deal with. Forget about Museveni coming to power with an elaborate record keeping and civil service procedures.
On the issue of the tribes in Uganda, and their sizes, I think you better revise your history about that. Each of those East African countries have not only huge tribes in themselves, but several diverse peoples that Uganda just looks a baby. Take for example, the Luo of  Kenya who out number the Baganda in Uganda. Then take the Kukuyu who out numbet all the westerners of Uganda put together, if you want take also the Meru of Kenya, which is a small tribe by the way, they are the size of Buganda, live the Masai alone. Go to Tanzania, you will even be more shocked. Uganda at the end has the least population in the whole of East Africa. So saying that tribalism in Uganda in such a difficult thing to deal with is an indication of the exact nature of the problems we are dealing with: absolute ignorance and outright stupidity. Some Baganda, with their uninformed beliefs think exactly
like that to the detriment of the entire respectable Buganda community. There are Baganda out there who are truly Ugandan in their perspective, and they have benefited tremendously from their advanced perspective of the Ugandan experience.

On the issue of how Museveni has handled Buganda, let me say this,
Museveni is a very intelligent student of Dr. Obote’s.  Remember I said earlier how Dr. Obote regretted the Lubiri incident, there is therefore, no way Museveni would go along that road. In any case, there is no body else who is interested in pursuing that line like Amin personally had it. More so, the external factors that were interested in pursuing that line no longer hold anything against anybody in Uganda. Those external factors who had earlier granted Buganda independence in a hurry well knowing that it did not solve the Buganda question knew that that was an issue they would use later to
continue to exert control over Uganda, which indeed they did. Now fourty years latter, and satisfied that they have achieved what they wanted, viz, make Buganda royalty pay for its stubbornness, they are not interested anymore in the issue. Buganda is a non issue to them now, it is history, and this is rude to say the least.

My friend Mr. Semuwembo, some of your points are just meant to justify
the hatred you harbour for Dr. Obote, and they are not going to resolve any of the recurrent problems of Uganda. For instance the issue of the Government not employing Lawyers because all of them were Baganda, or Betty and Kyanjo are not put in jail because Museveni is more whatever than Dr. Obote, **&%$ it; I think all that is mere crap.I mean today as you and I write, the high court is still complaining about the number of judges, we have “safe houses” all over Uganda where Ugandans are being forced to share space with snakes and crocodiles, etc etc, I wonder whether it is still Dr. Obote’s ghost in charge? Traders in Kisseka Market are striking because of Museveni’s policy; did you hear anything like that under Dr. Obote? Tear gas was introduced in Uganda for the first time under Museveni, do Ugandans deserve that when all they are asking for is simply to have the right to protect their God given inalienable rights?

I swear that Kabaka Mutebi is a much better Ugandan to run the Uganda affairs than Museveni, and I do not understand why instead of  Baganda vigorously pursue for his leadership as the President of Uganda so that Buganda can have its way in the Ugandan general context people like you
Semuwemba are wasting time hating Dr. Obote and praising Museveni. If
Buganda cannot solidly define their aspirations, or better yet if the Betty’s and Kyanjo’s who are parliamentarians cannot realize they could use the august house to push for the Buganda agenda, like the westerners have done so under Museveni, they should just shut up and stop wasting the time of their people. All their struggles and political innuendos will be nothing but “ebbiyoya bya enswa”.

Buganda should forget Dr. Obote, who has long departed to join his creator,
and move on with what is here to be done if they are to avoid becoming
irrelevant in the Ugandan context. They are continuously beating the drums whose sound has long died away. No body is listening anymore.Whether Dr. Obote was right or wrong, it is of no consequence now. Let those who are still serious about the secession get down to real work and get the task done. Let those northern folks alone now; you got the seat of leadership; use it now to get what you want. Other rest your case and let Ugandans live in peace. UPC is here, and it is here to stay because it was a movement started by Ugandans for Uganda and in Uganda. Museveni tried all possible means to kill it but UgandaPeople’s Congress has defied all logic of doom Sayers. And Mr.Semuwemba will be shocked at the number of Baganda who support UPCwhen the moment of truth comes in Uganda.

Bwambuga Wa Balongo

Lake Victoria and Fish

Scientists Discover Fish in Act of Evolution in Africa’s Greatest Lake

cichlids-fish-species-evolving-in-lake-victoria In what could be a first in the world, a fish species in the cichlid family has been observed by scientists in the act of splitting into two distinct species in Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake and one of the world’s biggest fresh water bodies.

This may be remarkable because what is causing them to diverge are adaptations to their vision as animals and plants try to cope with increased pollution and the effects of climate change. The change is also happening without geographical isolation, which was thought to be a precursor for evolution.

The Pundamilia nyererei is a haplochromine type cichlid native to areas in the Mwanza Gulf region of Lake Victoria. This region consists of many islands where each island region has its own color variant of the fish.

In a report published in the journal Nature, researchers from Tokyo’s Institute of Technology and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology have observed the cichlid evolve into a new species better adapted in sighting its prey and predator.
But the scientists have also tabled evidence indicating that it is not pollution and over-fishing alone that are responsible for the disappearance of some fish species in Lake Victoria and the evolving of others like the cichlid into new species.
The report summarizes that new species may be born because of vision differences and what fish see at least in one African lake could be the driving force that causes them to evolve into new species.

This may explain the very rapid loss of pundamilia in Lake Victoria over the past 30 years. The study says the eye adaptations have also affected mating patterns.
Researchers looked at two species, conspicuous by their red or blue colours. They determined through lab experiments that certain genetic mutations helped some fish adapt their vision at deeper levels to see the colour red and others in shallower water to recognise shades of blue.

The researchers showed that the eyes have adapted to this difference so that fish that live in deeper water have a pigment in their eyes that is more sensitive to red light, while shallow-water fish were sensitive to blue.

Generally, the evolutionary process of speciation (the formation of new species) occurs when one species is split by a physical distance or barrier, allowing each group to develop different traits. The observations of Lake Victoria’s cichlids provide evidence of an unusual form of evolution known as sympatric speciation, which occurs without the physical separation of a population group.


Comment By Jeniffer .B(New York)

This may not be sympatric speciation but  a possiblitity of deep water dwelling fish coming  to adapt to the surface as result of overfishing the top layer dwelling species. To be able to appreciate this purported evolutionary nyererei species, we need to know all the types of fish, their color, at different water depth habitats as well as their visual color acuties. then we compare,physically,macro and micro -genetics.  One needs to appreciate the enormous diversity of the acquatic /marine animal diversity before they conclude and jump up and down as new discoverers of the new species. I see all kinds of fish in fish tanks everyday, and for L.victoria, one of the world’s youngest lakes, cased in the heart of the poor Africa away from the aggressive and rich scientific researchers of the west,it is hard to accept such discoveries without serious thought. How long did the research last, how many fish species did lake Victoria have say twenty years ago, which types have gone extict and which ones are now new.Which species dwell where , bottom, sides, or surface of the lake? What colors do the different types of fish respond to in their sight. How far do they see, what pigment is giving the fish color, idodine, bromine ,chlorophyl (green, blue or red). Bromine is the commonest marine halide that gives color to aquatic animals, so what has changed here. These are some of the issues we need to know in order to celebrate the new discovery.

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