Dear Ugandans at heart
That is the folly done by the opposition today. They do not give credit where it is due and think that the population is not watching. Yes, some roads were built in the early sixities, but not all major roads. If all major roads were constructed in the 60s, why did Mityana-Mubende-Fortportal only get tarmac under the NRM regime? Why did Karuma-Arua (over300kms) only get tarmacked under the NRM regime? Why did Busunju-Kiboga-Hoima (230kms) only get tarmacked under the NRM regime? Why did Mbarara-Ntungamo-Rukungiri only get tarmacked under the NRM regime? Why did Mbale-Tirinyi only get tarmacked under the NRM regime? Why did Kafu-Masindi only get tarmacked recently? and the question arises-which major roads were tarmacked before NRM came to power apart from the eastern route to Kenya and Tororo? Tarmac is now going up to the UG/Sudan border, Mbale-Sironko-Kapchorwa is also tarmac, Fortportal-Bundibugyo is being worked on, Gayaza-Zirobwe, Gayaza-Kalagi, Matugga-Semuto-Kapeeka are all being tarmacked. I think this poor roads thing is over hyped big time as if people are not watching! And overall, even the opposition should admit, highways are in a good condition, far better than NRM found them in 1986. The only bad roads are surprisingly in the urban areas.I am sure about my statistics, the area where you branch off the Mbale-Soroti road to Sironko, through Sironko town onwards to Kapchorwa was tarmacked between 1998 and 2000.
I did not mention the roads that were re-tarmacked soon after NRM came to power, but i think i should. Almost all roads, apart from Mbale-Soroti, Iganga-Kaliro and Jinja-Kamuli were resurfaced as soon as NRM came to power. Here i am talking about Kampala-Luwero-Karuma, Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara, Kampala-Jinja-Bugiri up to the borders, Kampala-Mityana and Kampala-Busunju and nearly those were the only tarmacked roads around-the ones that you people hype about.
I did not even tell you that even in Kampala here, tarmac was only in the city center and Kololo. Note that roads like Lugogo bypass, Mulago by-pass, Kitante road (was a potholed one way) Makerere, all those roads around Lubiri, Entebbe-Namasuba (was one way) Kampala-Bukoto-Nitnda-tarmac stopped at Kira road police station did not have tarmac! If you doubt, i will give you more examples.
They argue that tarmacking does not tatamount to constructing a road, i say they are wrong. At the moment for example, it costs sh15m to maintain a km of murram roads, however it costs sh800m to tarmac the same km. So note the difference.
Then the opposition talks about the major schools that have collapsed, and you wonder. Did students in secondary and University have better choices in the 60s and 70s than they have today? Is there a general lack of quality schools for students today? The answer is no. The NRM policy of liberalizing education has encouraged private investors to construct as many schools as possible and most of them are quality. When NRM came to power in 1986, the distance a child walked to the nearest primary school was 5kms in urban areas and 15kms in rural areas. It has reduced to just 1km in urban areas and 5kms in rural areas. There is a good spread of Universities too. For example, a university student in Gulu applies to study at Gulu University, a university student in Tororo applies to study at Busitema University, a University student in the west applies to study at Mbarara University and i am not mentioning the tens of private universities accross the country.
About schools, i will give you an example of Kisaasi were i live. The nearest secondary schools at the time were Kololo SSS and Kololo High. If one wanted, you could walk to Kawempe 10kms away also. Today, there are six top secondary schools in Kisaasi surburb alone. There are also seven top Primary schools, against 1 in 1986! what do you call that???????
The opposition have talked about how in the 70s, students at all levels were more enlightened (literally) than today. The juror is still out on that one. However, i may argue that during those days, a village did not have so many children going to school. In that case, it was difficult to draw comparisons. As early as the 80s, getting a Degree was a very big occassion in the village! Today, that has been demysfied because many people are going to school. In Mid Februrary, Kyambogo graduated and my zone in Kisaasi alone had 7 graduation parties!
The opposition have also said that government does not know what it is doing by closing UTCs and NTCs. However, what they are forgetting is that NTCs were started (they were 10) in the mid 80s to cater for two problems, one was to reduce the deficit of teachers in the country while the other was to take care of the thousands of A-level leavers who were not joining University. Remember there was only one University (Makerere) that admitted less than 2,000 students every year. Joining it was like drinking Nvinyo on the same table with God…..
However, after the opening up of more universities, many of these institutions became irrelevant. The over 30 universities in the country today can accommodate many of the students who used to do Diplomas and certificates for degree courses. These universities now pass out graduate teachers instead of Grade V (Diploma holders) .But also note that these institutions were not closed but up graded. For example, ITEK Kyambogo became a University, Busitema became a University, Masaka Technical College became a University, NTC Mubende is now a study center for Nkozi University, Unyama is also a study center for Nkozi University.