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Day April 4, 2011

Uganda’s Population Must be Controlled because it’s Likely to Bring us Problems


Hello People,

Uganda is among the ‘time bombs’ that are gonna cause us problems if the current population growth is not checked. Population explosion, in my view, is going to be one of our biggest problems in the next century, but it’s never discussed in the media which is very unfortunate.

Uganda’s population now grows at an average annual rate of 3.5 percent – the highest ever, despite the war in the north which was going on there for almost 20 years and claimed a lot of lives or the tragedy at Bududa(Mbale) last year. The main questions we should ask ourselves without even going into numbers that may confuse the lay people are: Do you think the world is facing an over-population crisis? Do you think Uganda is/will contribute to this crisis? And do you think Uganda will be so much negatively affected if it does nothing about its population growth?

Clearly there are a lot of Ugandans that live in extreme poverty, and to some degree, poverty is both a cause and an effect of over-population. A cause, in the sense that our country is involved in little industrialization and underutilization of resources which makes most people to work hard on land for food. That, combined with high levels of disease and infant mortality, tends to favor an increased birth rate. For instance, I have interacted with some couples in Uganda who argue that a man should have at least 6 kids such that when on loses 2-3, at least one has got some remaining ones to fall back on, but what if all of them do not die?

Poverty can be considered also as an effect, since in highly populated areas with little wealth being created, each new birth means that the available wealth is distributed among one more person, thus further impoverishing the population as a whole- One more mouth to feed. That is why I argue that men with no enough money or wealth should have less kids with one wife , but if they want to marry or have extramarital affairs, they should go for either women who are branded ‘KKD’ or those who are not at all interested in having children or forget about women altogether. There is no point having kids you are not in position to look after.

On the other hand, in developed nations where mechanized and scientific farming has reduced the need for farm labor, and where medicine has improved the health of the people (and made possible artificial contraception), the birth rate is comparatively low, and the demographics of the population shift towards a longer life. The increased opportunities made possible by affluence also cause many women to delay starting their families, and prompt some to choose career over motherhood.

There are 650 acres in a square mile. Each person deserves an entire acre of land unto their very own lonesome but this is not usually the case. The world population is now approximately 7 billion. Hmmmm…. gotchy’all smiling wide now as you break out those calculators, but i’m not gonna do any serious maths because i’m not good at it.But we gonna do some figure analysis.

Uganda is a country covering 236,040 square kilometers (91,136 square miles) with a population estimated to be at 34 million this year. 15.39 % of the total area of the country is water. The population per square kilometer was only 241 in 1999 (93 per square mile) but this has been increased tremendously, a reason why land is becoming the most valuable asset in the country.

A certain % of our national land is also allocated to forestry, like for instance, Bwindi National Park which covers over 128 square miles in size; Kibale national park which is about 475 square miles; Queen Elizabeth National Park which is 770 square miles; Lake Mburo National Park- 230 square miles. Basically, because of the rise in the population, all these wetlands and forestry are being targeted by both the government and the landless.They wrongly see them as ‘idle’ land. As a result, the people themselves are creating another big problem called CLIMATE CHANGE.

One could argue that 11.6 million square miles in Africa could fit almost everybody on the continent but the reality is because India and China have already messed up their countries with over population, their citizens are now targeting the less populated regions in the world including Africa. Like, for instance, the last time I was in Busoga and Wobulenzi, I saw a lot of Indians now owning land and they are a threat to the locals. Before you know it, the Chinese will follow them, and there are seriously buying a lot of land in the villages on the cheap because they know what is happening back in their own countries. Their respective governments are sponsoring them financially in their endeavors abroad because they want create space. Attempts to reduce the population have also spawned things like China’s One Child Policy. They are going to be staking claims to our resources more and more as their population grows.

The population explosion is adding approximately 1billion people to this planet every decade. That’s nearly the entire population of China. So what will happen to Ugandans in the next 20 years if our own population keeps growing the way it is now? Where will we go?

So it is both logical and workable to conclude that to make our lives better, we must control the population of our country. Obviously, this has to be done hand in hand with an increase in the spread of technology, information, and education in our country, and to work hard to raise the standard of living there in partnership with the local population. Because just handing out and extolling the virtues of birth control while people are still pulling pillows by hand and cooking over firewood is not addressing the underlying problem.

Nze bwendaba banange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

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