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Day January 4, 2010

Why is Food all of a sudden expensive in Kampala

Kampala street

Uganda like other Sub Saharan African countries has about 80% of the population living in the countryside and only 20% live in urban areas. What might be one of the reason of this hike in food prices is the so called introduction of Biofuels in the name of renewable energy. People have been sensitised and it seems like instead of the population cultivating food stuffs they have commenced to engage in Jatropha as this plant seem to bring in more money as compared to food crops. I might be wrong but this might be one reason because I seen most foreign companies bringing in more money to support people to plant this crop more than anything else. Might another reason be due to poor government planning?

I dont know much about this Jatropha plant but according to those who are in the know say that it is a natural crop which is resistant to drought and pests. It produces seeds which are thought to contain >40% oil. However it is also reported that the compound is highly toxic and its impact on soil is not yet known.

Goldman Sachs recently cited the plant as the best option for future biodiesel production. Although a new product from this plant has been brought on the market to develop oil in the name of clean energy, maybe it is not a good idea for Ugandans to jump on a band wagon of planting it on a large scale because its implications on soil and environment has not yet been studied.

As I noted before, this product is new on the market and there are several companies in Uganda which are eyeing the market as being lucrative. Either the government or civil society has not provided its implications on our society, either they know or they dont know is something else. There is a need for further research in the benefits of the plant over food crops, although there have been positive results already in Brazil and Central America where trains are already using the crop products. Ugandans might have spent a lot of time and money investing in the crop and forgot to prepare for food crops hence the hike in the food crops over the period stated by the media.

This crop should be consciously approached instead of rushing in it.

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Emmy Wasirwa

UAH forumist

Yoga Adhola is the real mouthpiece of UPC

Uganda house in Kampala

Mzee Yoga Adhola is UPC’s intellectual talisman so pay some attention to what he is saying even if you and I do not agree with him.

What I discern from his piece is something in the works to lock out Mr Olara-Otunnu on the floor. Mr Otunnu supporters would be foolish to dismiss Mr Yoga Adhola because he is saying what the folks at Uganda House would want to say but lack the intellectual rigour or media connections to do so. You and I cannot send to The Monitor the same piece over and over and it gets published, can you?  So Mr Yoga Adholal knows what he is doing: create doubts in the hearts  and minds of UPC voters or delegates.

Once again let me take cover in Kenya. Just before the 2002 elections, KANU held its delegates conference at Kasarani and Moi’s handlers locked out Professor George Saitoti and many others at the time from contesting national posts. Professor George Saitoti was at the time VP and KANU VP. Mr Moi pushed through Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as party Chairman /Presidential candidate with Mr Musalia Mudavadi as VP.

What happened after that is history, but it marked the end of KANU and the rise of NARC.  Mark you prior to that delegates Conference, Mr Riala Odinga, yes him, had moved to KANU with his NDP and had been a claimed as secretary general and named energy Minister. For some reason, mr Raila thought that he could out manouvre President Moi.  Mr Raila had replaced mr Joseph Kamotho from Muranga as secretray general in the previous arranged Delegates Conference and felt that he stood a chance of being annointed KANU chairman by Moi. Wapi.

After Kasarani where Mr Moi outwitted Raila, Saitoti and Musyoka, they had no choice but to quit his cabinet and go to NARC with little political leverage. Mr Moi simply named Musalia Mudavadi VP and Uhuru Kenyatta’s running mate.

My gut feelings tell me that the UPC delegates conference will be bloody. Read the UPC party constitution to see what Mrs Miria Obote can do. Mr Yoga Adhola and others are going to use the UPC constitution to lock out Mr Otunnu. How can you and others not see the writing on the wall? Anyone among the current UPC national leaders  who will be suspected of being pro-Otunnu will be fired. Go ask Walubiri and Okello-Okello. Fired. Sure they lacked Mr Otunu’s international connections but they were no pushovers. Gone just like that.

I suppose Mr  Otunnu is trying to make a point:that UPC is perhaps non democratic or that the UPC constitution is dictatorial. To their credit UPC ‘owners’ have been  clear towards Mr Otunnu:  they do not want him. Period.

Mr Otunnu should have done what Mr Oryema Johnson(former UAH member) talked about before:  form his own party and name his team but UPC will not let him in.

You should read the history of KANU to see why Mr Otunnu has no chance in UPC. mark you KANU’s consitution was more democratic than UPC’s. And UPC does not give a damn  whether without him they get their ass kicked clean. That is the least of their worries. But they will score a pyhhric victory at Mr Otunnu’s expense and will take it.

That is African politics. Political parties in Africa as elsewhere have their ‘owners’. If Mr Otunnu is determined to be on the ballot as a presidential candidate he has to think fast and create his own party. Mr Yoga is not bluffing.

There is going to be blood wherever the delegates conference will take place.


UAH forumist residing in USA

Butambala can shine again if the districts problem is addressed

Happy new year to you and all those from Butambala. May Butambala rise and shine again as it used to in years past.

The ideal solution is to get rid of districts and revert to the county as the administrative unity. Think about it in years past when Butambala and other counties were very strong, there was one Saza Chief who was in charge and I mean in total control. Today, there are 2 elected MPs, one women MP, a CAO and all that representing a county!

Be careful with your political argument that Buganda will find it hard to compete. I do not know about NRMO and other parties but I believe in DP, the constituency is or should be the centre of delegates. Sure there are district leaders too but in terms of total delegates, it is the constituency which matters. So you should try to persuade your NRMO folks to use the constituency level when it comes to picking national delegates. Why? The district in Uganda is too fluid whereas the constituency has sort of remained steady.

So how many constituencies are in every region?  Plus using the constituency will curb the political madness of “give us a district”. I had the privilege of traveling throughout Uganda over 30 years ago and today the places I hear are being granted district status just shocks me. I will not mention them to avoid attacks by sons and daughters of the soil.

Mark you there is no test whatsoever when creating these districts. All they count on is that foreign taxes payers some of us will continue to pay taxes and our host governments will continue to be generous with foreign aid to fund those districts in Uganda. Such dependence is hurting African countries.   Actually it has created situation where foreign govts that give a few dollars here and there are begging to dictate the morality in Uganda.

You know what I am talking about: if you continue to beg funds to fund some districts in Uganda, the muzungu will put conditions on their dollar. These days they send to Africa through NGOs, well you know where I am going so fill in the blanks to teach our people certain learned behaviours. Ask the people of Uganda this question on my behalf what use is it to have so many districts only to have Sweden and other dictate their immorality on Uganda? Well tied aid is well and alive but this time it is tied to certain behaviours.

I hope you agree with me that those politicians demanding districts are directly playing into the hands of western donors to dictate certain behaviours on Ugandans. So you get the district and much more but lose the flexibility to set your agenda and even pass laws!

Yes you got Butambala where you must be the front runner to bag the women seat, but you also gave Sweden more leverage to load it on Uganda! Do you agree with me that the ambitions of a few politicians are actually setting the conditions to corrupt Ugandan values from abroad?

But why is it that our-African-people do not see the linkages between tied aid-very little-and corrupting tendencies/behaviours from the so called donors. You know th saying about the poor and what they can not do or choose.

Think about these issues and I expect you to think deeper than the average “give us a district” cheerleader.

As a rule I stay away from issues that touch on religion, but what happened to Butambala? Hint: why did that Kibuli leader not look towards Butambala as it used to be the case? That is why I wish Butambala well to shine and rise again because it has the potential. And I mean it.


UAH forumist in USA

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