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


2 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Patrick Otto,

    Mr Semuwemba,

    1/8 Of course I have not bought your claim that you are talking about population explosion globally. Clearly, the whole thread is about Uganda and that is what I am addressing. Ultimately anyway, we can only think globally but act locally; and you were recommending actions…is the new word “Glocal”?

    2/8 You raise a lot of issues below…on some, you need to go back and cross-check some basic facts/figures. You say, “Uganda’s population now grows at an average annual rate of 3.5 percent – the highest ever”……As you know, Population growth figures are based on changes from one census to the next. So far, the highest intercensual growth rate was 3.9% for the 1959-69 period.

    3/8 You also refer to, population increasing “despite the war in the north which was going on there for almost 20 years and claimed a lot of lives.” Statements like this one are the reason why \I always insist on giving figures. If figures are confusing, at least it easier to deal with a confused mind than to deal with one that is misinformed or poisoned. “..a lot of lives….”I do not think you are talking about population issues here but even then, let us look at the facts. According to the 2002 census, the highest population growth was recorded in the North of the country. Check for the reports here: Between 1980 and 2002, the population in the North doubled. Infact the intercensual increase for the 1991-2002 period which was most troubled was higher that the previous one. I give you the figures below…….bear them in mind.

    1980 1991 2002
    Adjumani 48,789 96,264 202,290
    Apac 313,333454,504 683,993
    Arua 394,303538,147 833,928
    Gulu 270,085338,427475,260
    Kitgum 145,821175,587282,375
    Kotido 161,445196,006377,102
    Lira 370,352500,965741,240
    Moroto 95,86396,833189,940
    Moyo 57,70379,381194,778
    Nakapiripirit 92,77877,584154,494
    Nebbi 233,000316,866435,360
    Pader 162,890181,597326,338
    Yumbe 77,98099,794251,784
    Region 2,424,2423,151,9555,148,882

    4/8 You are again raising the same issue of high fertility rates, and giving your easy answer of population control. But what you are doing there is trying to reach for the low hanging mangoes. Linyakko kumuti naawe! You will get roundworms from the low hanging mangoes! The fundamental problem is not fertility. It is the structure of the economy like I state elsewhere. That is where the solutions lie. We are “first wave”, we need to go to “second wave”: industrialism. That is what your campaign should be about. Now you are like a Bugerere peasant who treats malaria by ‘kuwujjirira’ the patient to cool them down. That will reduce the temperature, and only for a while, but it will not get rid of the parasite. You are focusing on secondary or even tertiary symptoms. If you have a population that works in industries, on large firms, outside of the circles of extended families, living in flats on top of each other, with costs of raising children rising etc, they will not have many children. In any case they will even be too tired to involve themselves in procreation, or to soak themselves in foot and mouth drink.

    5/8 Take time and study the phenomenon called the “Demographic Transition”. As you know, it is in 4 stages (others say 5). Right now we are hovering between stages 1 and 2…pre-industrial to developing country. Our fertility rates are typical of that stage. When we move to stage 3, where there is high urbanisation, shift from agriculture to industry/services etc that is when you will see a change. And you make that point very clearly below (I have highlighted it for you). If you want change, campaign for structural transformation in the economy. Crying about high fertility is like spitting in the wind…..kwonoona biseera!

    6/8 All those facts you give about land area are well taken, although I do not see what point you were trying to reinforce. Anyhow, the main trouble is that, you assume that we must remain a country that relies on subsistence agriculture and that is where you all get it wrong. You say below, that everyone is entitled to one acre! What! Where in the world do you hope that arrangement will work for you, and you become a modern nation? In Britain where you live, 70% of the land is owned by 0.7% of the population. Why? Why do you only copy their politics (including their manifestos….shame!) and not think of their economics? You want to imitate their political systems not realising that politics is concentrated economics. You people seem to wish to talk about nuclear medicine yet you are using the mentality of a yirizi manufacturer!

    7/8 And of course you have not missed out on the usual xenophobia of UAH that Chinese and Indians (and Rwndese) are taking over land si jui in Wobulenzi; in other words, goba abayindi abo! Chase away those Asians! Very, very reactionary talk that is the trademark of many of you around here. When your hero Amin chased away the Asians, did the people in Leicester in Britain complain that the Indians were finishing their land? What did you do with the economy when Amin gave it to you to run? Is it Indians that force the Basoga and Baganda and whoever else, to be finished off by jiggers, from time immemorial? In any case, what business do you have ‘owning’ land if you can’t put it to commercial use. Ggwe Haji Sebo, stop your xenophobia!

    8/8 I have talked about the one child policy in China elsewhere. It was temporally and spatially bound. It applied to only 35.9% of China. Recommend it for Uganda with a degree of nuance. Mubimpimpi, this talk of birth control etc is lazy talk, by a lazy elite that does not know what to do to transform the country and is instead trying to reach for cheap solutions. Uganda’s future does not lie in short-term quick fixes.

    …..nze bwendowooza munnange….

    Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

  2. Nelson Kukundakwe,

    ABOVE all, as a journalist what i pick from you is this issue is under reported.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: