Category Money matters

Reduce the age people can get their NSSF savings

By Denis Jjuuko

Sometime back, a friend who had been out of employment for many years had a problem. His house was being sold by the bank after failure to continuously pay the monthly installments as a result of a mortgage he had taken when he was still employed. The money obtained from the bank had been used to improve the very house that was now being sold.

While he was still employed, he was a contributing member of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) where 5% of his salary was chopped off before the employer contributed 10% to make it 15% in monthly savings. The money was enough to pay off the bank and save his house. However, he was below 50 years old and therefore NSSF couldn’t give him his money to save the house. The house was eventually sold on the cheap.

The only real asset the majority of people will ever have is their house. Nothing much else. The money they earn goes into paying fees for kids and survival. Yet the money with NSSF cannot help you unless you are 50 year old and above. And there lies one of the problems with the forced saving scheme. Of course NSSF argues that it doesn’t make laws. It is parliament to make that change. And parliament doesn’t contribute to NSSF so they have less interest in the scheme.

There is an ongoing TV campaign by NSSF oddly named Friends with Benefits where somebody who got their money and used it ‘properly’ can win Shs30m. I have watched a few episodes of the current season as it is now annual. The majority of the contestants have used their money to start new ventures. Some have started food cottage industries, others boda boda business, and all sorts of enterprises. This is problematic for those saving and the country generally.

The reason money is given to people who turn 50 years old and above is basically to enable them retire with respect so that they don’t become destitute, begging from one child to another as is usually the case. Instead, the people who get this money go on to start businesses. These are people who, because of age, are supposed to retire not to be running around starting a new business they ideally have not much experience of.

However much one does research while starting a business, there are certain things that one will have to learn on the job. And most businesses are very profitable on paper. Most business plans show profitability at a certain stage. The reality is most times very different due to mainly market and other forces that are sometimes hard to foresee. Although, there is no age at which one can’t start a business and it thrives, success is built over a period of time of very hard work. Of course some of the most successful entrepreneurs started very late in life but they aren’t many. At 50 years and above, there is less flexibility. You are used to doing things in a certain way and therefore change is hard. So if you worked in an office all your life, got your money at 55 and started a new business, the chances of succeeding are very minimal.

In fact at 50 and above, somebody should be concentrating on what they know best. They have matured and have acquired the necessary experience and acumen to succeed in a certain field. Even seasoned businessmen rarely go into new businesses after 50. Their focus is to grow what they have been doing all along. They know that they can’t simply enter into new fields and succeed. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be outliers who defy the norm. The majority of people who start a demanding enterprise like food production or boda boda at 55 will not succeed. There are also very few Ugandans who have started businesses with lots of money and succeeded.

So since people who retire go to starting business ventures that are competitive, there is need to lower the age where one can receive their money to about 40 when one chooses to. So that those who want to do business can do it when they still have the energy, the drive and guts needed to succeed.

At 40, a person has a few years to learn their new trade and master it. They are also still flexible enough to make changes if things don’t work. They have an option to go back into employment as well should things fail which option is not available to a 55 year old.

Money could even be given in installments where at 40 one qualifies to withdraw 50% of their savings to start a business. The other 50% could be kept until one is 55 as the law is now. That would actually ensure that the person isn’t testing the depth of the river with both feet.

The law should also allow anybody who hasn’t been working for sometime pay off their mortgage using their NSSF savings instead of the bank selling the house on the cheap. Otherwise, there is no need in saving. Like NSSF’s commissioned TV show has revealed, the people who are retiring are simply going into business or actually becoming hustlers in Kampala speak. So it is better that people become hustlers at a younger age and if their businesses grow, they will still save with NSSF. They will also be ambassadors for the fund. It benefits NSSF and the country in the long term if people can get their money before they retire to do business and create jobs or save the only real asset they will ever have.

The author is a media consultant and businessman. 0758111409

But why is this a big problem under NRM and Museveni?

Why build such a big house leading you to bankruptcy? Are you Ugandans insane? This guy was minister between 2001-06 getting double salary as MP and minister but still borrowed money mbu to boost his bus business.MPs get paid 20m/month why would an MP sink in debts if a teacher who earns 300k doesn't borrow?

Why build such a big house leading you to bankruptcy? Are you Ugandans insane? This guy was minister between 2001-06 getting double salary as MP and minister but still borrowed money mbu to boost his bus business.MPs get paid 20m/month why would an MP sink in debts if a teacher who earns 300k doesn’t borrow?

James Onen nailed it on 25th June 2014 in Sanyu’s morning show – that many middle class goons on Kampala live an artificial life in which they want to impress others. People have been swallowed into a culture of ‘consumerism’ to service the pervasive habit of ‘showing off’. As a result, they are increasingly in need of money to sustain their lie of a life. As a result, the banks and money lenders are laughing their way to the bank as people are trapped in debt. Others rent 2 million a month flatlets, with 2 nice cars but not a single saving. This is the new form of innumeracy: Financial illiteracy. He concludes: ‘Modesty is strength’.

I remember, bank agents could come to you and tell you that going by your salary level they can get you a 5-year loan of 30M/= within 2 working days! Now, if you are not careful or calculative, you can easily fall into that debt trap! I usually say that life is the best judge.Problem started around 2002/3 with the advent of salary-based loans or a few years earlier when Shoprite came to town and started Hire-Purchase schemes. Suddenly, you could get that music system, fridge, TV, double-bed that you couldn’t buy for yourself without strict saving discipline (and for many months).with time the culture set in as more providers/recipients came on board………..Its something we didn’t know in Uganda! its now good that insurance companies have come to the aid of salary-based loan recipients, otherwise you could harshly find out the other side of banks (and court bailiffs) when you lost that corporate job. We all make decisions in our lifetime and come the time when we hit 60s and 70s we shall be in a better position to judge who made better decisions while growing up. For now, its an open field.

And the new trend of continuously acquiring all sorts of additional academic papers (MAs & MSc’s). Studying that would equip one with ‘skills’ is good but not this in disciplines so different and irrelevant from what one can practice.All that aiming at promotions and job hunting whose return on investment is a joke!

Resources that would start up a longterm selfhelp project are squandered during one’s productive years.

All this stems from our open embracing of the Capitalist systems. They are inherently designed to run on spending power of people. In America, when spending reduces among the people, the economy takes a very big hit. So, the idea that you will spend beyond your means is also good for me as an employer because it means that my employees will not easily jump ship and can only do so when they have better deals. Bing in debt is an incentive to create economic slaves. Capitalism is there to benefit the owners of the resources (Queen Bees) not the generators of the wealth (worker bees). The situation is definitely going to get even worse. So, while some workers are noticing it and becoming wiser, most will not, to the joy of the Queen Bees.

But why is this a big problem under NRM and Museveni? In previous generations, a child would be raised by family and even upon completing school/university, the family would continue guiding the young adult on success management. A young adult had role models or people to look to which forced living a responsible life; not to fall in traps of bizarre behaviour (like being a spendthrift, indiscipline or ‘wannabe – showoff’) despite having a good education, job or earning big. Could there be a disconnect now, where young ‘successful/Corporate Lie’ adults are not in touch with elders/family to seek guidance and wisdom anymore?

My observation is that successful young adults that remain close to their families tend to be more responsible and less wasteful than the ‘arrivalists’ living a Corporate Lie! Just my observation.



Of what value are 30 plus million people if you cannot turn them into a market?

We have a population of 30 plus million people, of what value are they if you cannot turn them into a market and then manufacture shirts to sell in the US ? We should create a company in Uganda to manufacture commodities that we can sell locally, and we do not have to raise the income of the people to a huge income but be able to sell at minimum 25 cents Canadian of worth to every Ugandan every month, you have a monthly income of 7.5 million dollars as an income. That is three Canadian dollars a year per Ugandan, that is all I am looking for. Now I am comming to Uganda for I have some thing sensible to do.

Few years ago as we were talking with one of my friends here, we decided to tap into Uganda , we looked at its weather and we loved it we looked at the clean water supply we looked at the population and we decided to go for it. We flew to Uganda to investigate what we were going to do, and the best option we saw was to start a poultry farm. We came home and wrote a proposal to a Canadian bank to finance the investment we wanted to do in Uganda . All numbers and projections looked good, for we wanted a farm that had the ability to manufacture its own materials. The bank approved a very massive loan to be given to us in phases. So because the loan was huge we wanted them to deliver it depending on how progressing was the investment. And they were fine with that.A first phase of money was released by the bank and we were ready to go.

But here was the problem.When you get a loan from the bank you have put your name on the doted line and a credit is a very important thing in this society, so you must be ready to repay the bank or you will be doomed for life. We left the money into the bank and we flew to Uganda again. We needed a secondary study just to make sure this thing is not going to bury us. If I am to fly out of Canada to come and stay in Uganda for an investment, we had to have a farm to produce a minimum of 50,000 eggs a day. That gives us a minimum of 350,000 eggs a week or 1.4 million eggs a month. And the question became very basic, can Ugandans consume 1.4 million eggs a month? And that is only an egg for a million and a half of the population of 30 million, a month. The answer is no they cannot do so for they are too poor to buy it. Most of those 30 million people have kids that get an egg as a medication for she is coughing but not for a break fast. Yes we can get the money yes we can get institutions to help us yes we can fly in even our own veterinary doctor who will come with all his medication yes we can buy our own land and build our own farm yes we can fly in the damn chicks, I can get a cargo 747 to fly in the chicks at a phone call. But what do you do with a million eggs a month? And yet when you look at that project it is very enticing for I can increase the eggs production and use some of them to a different by product so in essence I am looking at expanding from eggs production to another final product, but all these expansions need a market. And I was not willing to use Uganda for its cheap labor but sell the eggs out of Uganda no I might as well become white and abuse the population, this is a diet Ugandans need why not produce it and sell it to them?

We flew out of Uganda and crawled back to the bank manager apologized to her for her time we so wasted and begged her to retract the money from our accounts without a penalty.

AGOA was started in Uganda to manufacture clothes and sell them to North America . China Korea and India are manufacturing shirts and selling them in Toronto long sleeves at 5 dollars Canadian, and at that price you get a shirt with a tie. How the hell will an AGOA shirt sell in Toronto ? I love pants of Alex by Daniel, why? I have no clue but that is what I wear and they are now sold at 35 dollars a piece if you are buying many you can get them at even 25 dollars. A bed sheet of 800 threads you can get at 25 dollars. Just know where you are going to buy and you will laugh. How will AGOA produce clothes to sell in North America when North American stores and factories are closing? It is as silly a proposal as thinking that you can send out beans to Ghana and get out blankets, no you cannot do a barter trade in Uganda for Uganda government per say does not have huge farms to produce those beans and you cannot make international deals based on Mwami Mulindwa might grow a sack today and two sacks next season. Ugandans do not grow food to get foreign exchange they grow it to get local money, and when Uganda government started to collect the beans from people, Bateso changed from growing beans to millet, you see they can use millet to make Ajono and get cash. Think people and critically !!!

This is where you and I must beg the members of UAH of today to understand some very basic things, those 30 million people need an income, we must create jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs and with those jobs a Ugandan can live in Amuru but be able to eat an egg, for that will mean I can come to Uganda set up a poultry farm in Kiwoko, but get several trailers to supply the Gulu location which will sell the egg to the Ugandan in Amuru. Now when I set up the farm in Kiwoko that is when I will need the road of Kiwoko Luwero bitumized for I will be paying the taxes to maintain it.

We need to start to think critically !!


There is a difference between Economic growth and Economic Development

Ugandans will get a cultural shock!This project was passed during Sebagala's time for the market to be built.Most of the programmes being implemented now are plans from way back, there is no need to thank Musisi, its just that the money saw the light of day under her leadership.This is not Jenifer's Musisi's initiative. It is an initiative of the World Bank and similar markets are being constructed in Jinja, Mbale, Gulu and Lira.

Ugandans will get a cultural shock!This project was passed during Sebagala’s time for the market to be built.Most of the programmes being implemented now are plans from way back, there is no need to thank Musisi, its just that the money saw the light of day under her leadership.This is not Jenifer’s Musisi’s initiative. It is an initiative of the World Bank and similar markets are being constructed in Jinja, Mbale, Gulu and Lira.

There is a difference between Economic growth and Economic Development. Economic growth is like what so called good schools do – put the bright students in one stream and the teachers put a lot of effort to coach them so that they can score excellent grades in the UNEB papers. The duller students are put in other streams and may even be forced to sit their exam from another centre so that they don’t spoil the performance of the school.

Economic development is believing every child can learn. Teachers spend time with the slow learners to empower them and identify and nurture other talents so that they benefit from the time at school. In the good old days people learnt social skills, writing, speech making etc so that even if they didnt have academic flair they had something to show for going to school.

Indifference is natural And as old as creation but has the current gov’t leaned against econ. development or growth? It’s a gov’t full of selfish and greedy individuals. The larger no. of Ugandans live under the poverty line and delivery of social services is at its lowest.

This is the reconstructed New Taxi Park. The park will have multlevel parking. The first phase is complete and the park can now accommodate 350 taxis as KCCA finalise the traffic management plan.

This is the reconstructed New Taxi Park. The park will have multlevel parking. The first phase is complete and the park can now accommodate 350 taxis as KCCA finalise the traffic management plan.

What development does is that it gives people more bang for the effort they make. If I can use another education analogy:I started P1 in a school where our class teacher neither spoke nor wrote English so we never learnt any English the whole year. For P2 I was moved to another school where pupils started learning English in P1. While classmates could read the story of Poor Kapere – I on the other hand was reduced to cramming the story and photographic interpretation. The teachers realised my predicament and put me under the tutorial of the grade 1 teacher and after 2 terms I was at par with the other pupils.

So let citizens exert economic effort but let government also create a development oriented environment. The last 3 weeks the President has been all over the place either laying foundation stones or unveiling plaques of finished projects but the hall mark of these projects is that they underscore the growth mindedness of our government.

Most people who consider themselves successful if they were honest would admit that they are so because of opportunities. My teacher gave me opportunity by taking time to tutor me. There are people who are poor today and others who will be poor a decade later because they have been systematically robbed of their opportunities. Under NRM,the opportunities continue to flow (or to be pulled) in the direction of a few.


Uganda’s Credit rating has improved and is now B+ ahead of the PIGS

Dear Ugandans at heart,

How come nobody in the media has reported that Uganda’s Credit rating has improved and is now B+ ahead of the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Spain & Greece- the Spanish PM was right after all- Spain aren’t Uganda!!). The rating is good for FDIs. Let’s use the new rating to support investment and infrastructure development by use sovereign guarantees and bonds. Otherwise it won’t help much.

Mind u this rating by Fitch comes after the 1.6 billion USD Karuma deal (soft loan from China) the biggest ever in Uganda. This shows we are solvent and can undertake similar infrastructural developments in terms of value. I can’t help, but be proud of my country at least for a few days. This is good after the Kipritoch gold days!!!

I know some people may wonder what FDI means or they understand it but don’t want to know it because In certain corners, its connotation boarders that of a certain party that the Mulindwas hate…….(won’t divulge lest POMB takes effect!!)

However, Rating is useless 4 the jigger infested peasant in Kamuli! The rating is useless to a single mother struggling to send her child to school!A retired Danish football manager Ebbe Skovdahl said, “Statistics are just like mini-skirts, they give you good ideas but hide the most important things.”

I know of some people who own nothing and owe nothing. Theoretically, they have the best credit rating. On individual level, you need to prove to the banks that you are worth 3 times more than what you wish to borrow; and this worth is actually computed on forced sale value. I guess states are looked at in the same way.


‘I have no mansion; but i own now 350 acres of land’- Gen.Kayihura

Dear Ugandans at heart,

The house I stay in Muyenga is rented from someone by the Police as the terms and conditions of service of IGP provide that he or she shall be accommodated. Whoever says I have a house in Kololo is really mocking me. Yes, I have a goat project in Kabila I began in 1992 on a 160 acre piece of land that over the years I have been adding small pieces from neighbours which is now 350 acres. Because of lack of time and capital, it is limping, at the moment I think it has about 500 goats, at rate they have never reached 1000. You are free to visit it. And those people calling me a mercenary simply do not know me.

I repeat I have no mansion or a kiosk in Kampala or anywhere else including my home in Kisoro, unless of course they take the two- room cabin at the farm in Kabila as a mansion. Incidentally, am not proud of it. Surely, at my age you should expect me to own a decent home. But its OK, God is there as they say. I don’t have any posh house. That is the truth. I don’t need any fund raising, thank you. I don’t need any pity. It was my choice.

There is no such thing as NRM police. You will strive to poison children against us, but I assure you in the end you will fail because children are pure angels. Children are pure, and have their own way of seeing the truth. What always excites me when I move around the country is the genuine happy excitement whenever I find groups of children and they call out “Kayihura, Kayihura”. It is so priceless…… it is priceless. I almost choke with emotion, especially when I know they are evil people who simply won’t see anything good we try to do.

On standing for presidency in future?

All I strive for is to serve the country and our people. That is the choice I made when I left London in 1982, ( where by the way I could have stayed, continued my studies, and worked) and, alone, without any prompting began my long road to the bushes of Luwero where I reached in 1983. I have been consistent. The journey has been and continues to be hard, but I have no regrets, and, anyway, what could one have expected. That one survived when greater and better comrades fell along the way is providence.

Yes, mistakes have been made, (but again what could one have expected), But so have we made tremendous achievements, as a country especially given the incredible and unprecedented challenges we have had to confront. I don’t mind in what capacity I serve as long as it makes a difference in the lives of our people; it improves the quality of their lives.

I want to assure you that am not self serving. I just strive to make a contribution so that our people are happy. Is it easy? Of course not. But I believe in struggle. Development, progress like all phenomenons is a unity and struggle of opposites. But am strongly convinced that in the end good will prevail, and that iam on the right side of history. We mean well, it’s just that managing society is not a cup of tea, and we understand that.

Cooperation with the Muslims

Yes, last year we organized Idi celebrations for Muslims in the police. The problem is resources. But am proud to say the Police during my tenure has developed very close links with the Muslim community and because of that we were able to diffuse what would otherwise have been a very bloody confrontation between Kibuli and Old Kampala. Am proud to say I personally enjoy very close relations with both. It is a legacy I intend to endure even after me. The problem in these controversies, depend on which side one is, Police will be condemned. Sometimes, it is the case of “You are condemned if you do, you are condemned if you don’t.

Accusations of the Uganda Police murdering two innocent young men in Masaka

That child in Masaka was killed by Undisciplined LDUs who had nothing to do with the Police, and who were supposed to be on guard duty of some property in Nyendo. I personally went there, and arrested them in Nyendo, in a public meeting (which was covered by the media) outside the home of the family of the little child. The family and the community appreciated the action of the Police including other support we gave them.

Some People tried to use the family to politicize the issue but the family refused. In my case, it is informal and nobody mobilizes them. And the children know how I stood up for them alone in the fight to bring Kato Kajuba who had sacrificed the little boy, Kasirye (again of Masaka) but the judge, Justice Mukiibi, let him off the hook ruling that he had no case to answer. Against the legal/judicial establishment I stood up for justice, and eventually, the Court of Appeal quashed the ruling of Justice Mukiibi, and ordered for a retrial. And now Kato Kajubi is behind bars in Luzira.

While I acknowledge that once in a while individual officers make mistakes, I reject the characterization some of you give the Uganda Police. That is the political propaganda out there by those who think they can use it to demonize the government and justify regime change. You will be shocked how much appreciation and understanding we Police receive from the world, including UK, Ireland, Germany, US, Holland, Italy just to mention a few. They have far better network of information than you will ever have. If we are as terrible as you wish to portray us, surely we would not enjoy such support. I wish those opposing us were real human rights advocate. Then we would work together to build rather than haranguing all the time. The people of Uganda know the good we do.

Police updates

Thank you UAH moderator, Abbey Semuwemba. Nabakooba Judith is a bit busy, and am sure she will get in touch with you when she can, but am assigning a special liaison officer, Cadet Assistant Superintendent of Police, Immaculate Musimenta, to become active on UAH and update forumists on Uganda police work. She will regularly update as you request.

Gen.Kale Kayihura

Govt must always undertake mega infrastructure developments with a bird’s eye!

How do U get such a village champion to stop voting for NRM/Museveni?This is the uphill task those in opposition are facing, not to mention now the returned 'ebyaffe' to the mighty Buganda kingdom.

How do U get such a village champion to stop voting for NRM/Museveni?This is the uphill task those in opposition are facing, not to mention now the returned ‘ebyaffe’ to the mighty Buganda kingdom.

Dear fellow UAH elites,

In May 2013, President Joseph Kabange Kabila led a team of technocrats from the DRC together with even a bigger team from South Africa’s Eskom to Europe to pitch for financing the Grand Inga Dam (39,000 MW, 80 Bn USD!) with a guaranteed off-take by South Africa, now financiers are falling over themselves in trying to come in board.General Kayihura, Mr. Ahmed Katerega, Mr. Robert Atuhairwe and other young “elites” in NRM ‘kintu’- please advise the 65++ members of the cabinet that thats where the world has moved too and we ought to catch up rather than distributing money in gunny bags!!!

President Museveni can come up with similar concepts for other infrastructure projects and take lead in the pitching rather than issuing edicts and waiting for Bafere in Kampala to introduce investors (read infestors!!).We are still finding it hard to kickstart a 600MW dam in Karuma! Yes, i understand that in our cabinet people there don’t discuss, they listen. If one have ideas, one wouldn’t be there in the first place, but they need to find a way of passing on such messages to president Museveni.

I think president Kabila’s take is a good one, the finance comes from Europe and it is sold to South Africa- proceeds pay off the loan and be used to finance other sectors!!! That’s how China kick-started its revolution under the Four Mordernisation System of Deng Xiaoping and they have never looked back…….very soon much of the western world will not know what hit them…in almost all aspects of development.

Going to our neighbourhood, Tanzanian government built UDOM with funds borrowed from NSSF worth about 500 bn UGX. It is currently taking about four mega projects with its own resources. In Uganda, on the other hand, our experts in govt acknowledges that our electricity projected consumption by 2020 will be about 6000 MW and we are talking of 600 MW Karuma, while Ethiopia is talking of 6000!!! Government must always undertake mega infrastructure developments with a bird’s eye!

What the Ethiopians have started is an eye opener to most African states because according to the following agreements,Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea leave alone Kenya and Uganda have been deemed by those agreements not to put any development along the Nile, or its tributaries that can affect the level of water flowing through Sudan to Egypt:
1) the Tripartite agreement signed between the British, France and the Italians on 13th Dec 1906;
2) the Anglo Italian protocol of April 15th 1891; and
3) the agreement between the British and the government of the independent state of the Congo of 9th May 1906.

Look,how can we attain a middle income status when a certain “visionary” is thinking more of investors who are ripping the country off under his watch as he benefits, instead of assenting to the minimum wage bill? Sometimes, the president is the biggest bottleneck to development of our country.

We all had hopes in this govt but to attain our desires and aspirations without anyone exiting the country, we need to join the rest of the skeptics and talk this government out of office! The more we keep showing it we have faith in it, the more demagoguery & impunity it will keep dishing out. People are talking about Vision 2040! Any realistic person in touch with reality and the events taking place in the world will know we won’t be here to not see vision 2040 attained. But while vision 2016 is attainable, it starts now, with us, with people waking to reality. We need change to get to or be where we want to be! I’m almost bringing a new generation into this world and we are still listening to the same nonsense. Sometimes visionaries are deluded people, especially towards the end of their reigns. Let’s learn from history. Like I always say, something’s gotta give.

Ghana is the next success story to keenly watch. They can afford to have big dreams!In 1991, Uganda and Ghana were ranked as peers- praised by the Washington Consensus as great reformers. Thats where it stopped, today Uganda and Ghana can only be contrasted and not compared!!! Ghana is showing every sign of “economic lift off”. It is an example of what black Africa can achieve with a focused leadership and citizenry! not forgetting their seriously thought-through model of resources’ management aka black gold!

That said, we should not borrow so much money for every project we wish to do in Uganda.Any development projected funded by Europe in Africa has conditionalities that kind of put that African Country on her knees. The Arabs, Chinese, locally generated revenues with minimum ‘leakages’ can push Africa better. That’s why I support the Presidents move of having the Energy Fund in Uganda and through the fund, we have achieved a lot without begging. Europe and America in the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th centuries developed without loans from world bank or IMF bse they were not in existence though. Read a book “kicking away the ladder” you will understand the politics of loans, IMF, World bank and foreign finances invested in core hard ware development needs such as roads, energy, etc. even at a personal level should u keep borrowing for construction or those who have taken up mortgage financing will for ever keep paying.

Good luck!


The whole notion of ‘tax-payer’ is completely out of place in Uganda

The whole notion of ‘tax-payer’ is completely out of place in Uganda.The population of Uganda has no solid stake in the management of public affairs because it lives outside that domain: 85% peasants, dying at 45 years of age, living in a non-monetary sector, in the rural countryside, untaxable because they do not produce any surplus to be taxed, about 50% of them are illiterate, 50.2% 15 years and below, wearing nappies, the highest in the world….that is not the kind of population that takes its government to task. Never!

As you know Ugandans have no fiscal contract with their politicians. If you do not pay the piper, you cannot call the tune.If you look at the 1,000 top tax payers in Uganda, you will find that the top two, MTN and Shell BP pay 12% of all the taxes. The top 10 pay 28% of all the taxes. And those top 10 are petrol vendors (Caltex, Total, Shell), mobile phone vendors, soft drinks and beer makers (Century bottling, Uganda breweries, Nile breweres), cigarette makers (BAT)…all foreign. No real production, no indigenous stake holder on how public affairs/finance should be managed. The other day graduated tax was scrapped…So?

The ‘donors’ contribute up to 53% of all recurrent expenditures. Th so called tax payer is in Brussels and Paris, London and Stockholm, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. More than 80% of the population live outside the monetary sector…peasants. So, which tax payer? To whom, then, are your politicians accountable?

That is why I always wonder what we mean on this forum (and indeed in Uganda) when we keep talking of the lack of democracy, accountability etc. In a country where there is no fiscal contract between the political class and the population as we have in Uganda, there can never be a social contract. Democracy, accountability, ‘good governance’: all that is rubbish. The content of democracy is a fiscal contract.

We need to come to grips with the real content of democracy. Very clearly, in Uganda, there is no foundation or basis for democracy….a cabinet of 500 is feasible.

Unless the country is radically shaken up, to transform the socioeconomic basis in the direction of making the political class dependent on the majority of the population, for get about democracy, keep mum about the ‘tax payer’.

That aid is unearned income and you know what unearned income does. If government was depending on mony deducted from 20 million Ugandas wage earners, it wold think twice before squandering it. It would be someone’s sweat and they would demand for accountability. But who in Uganda identifies with ‘donor’ aid as his money? If we do not come to grips with the relationship between paying tax and governmental accountability, then we shall keep fooling ourselves for ever with democracy for ever.

That is why I always insist that we need to proletarianise the population-urgently-create wage earners, get rid of the passive peasant class. A population that is largely wage-earners or proletariat is a population that you do not foll around with. The impunity of our political class now is a logical consequence of the fact that the country is largely peasant. That is why some of them are interested in preserving that passive class that will vote for them just because of a piece of soap. A wage labourer will tell you not to insult him by bribing him with money he contributed as PAYE or income tax.
What tax do the peasants pay?

We know that Uganda was broke right from the cradle: independence was on 9 oct 1962, 24 hours later, on 10 oct 1962 there was no money to finance the return of the colonial administrators to London. The first structural adjustment facility was arranged there and then (what ever structures there were to adjust on day one). If AM Obote had asked for grants to finance his ‘public spending’ (whatever that means) instead of expropriating foreign multinationals, he would probably have lived longer and may be succumbed to internal contradictions.

L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick

Why is the Itesto the majority Working as guards in Kampala?

The Itesot must learn to hate exploitation and pride themselves in being Itesot. Where is Dr. Were of Chicago University and Vukoni L?

I am so amazed that an entire nation of Itesot can end on the streets of Kampala earning a miserable 150’000 monthly, watching over other people’s wealth. These Itesot guards, at times go for days without proper sleep and food.

I’ve talked to so many and it’s sad grotesque scenery.Virtually all of them reside in the numerous slums of Kampala! People with a culture, a tradition, a language, a history left to fade away.

Singapore a small country has made it without the bloody oil wealth – the entire Teso region can make it without Uganda. This is a society, which like Acoli, Karamojong and West Nilers have an advantage of the frontiers.

The sooner among themselves emulate the Kigezi people who are steadily moving forward under the Banyakigezi group – the intention of a colonial state in Kampala will reduce this entire people, culture, tradition and their future to nothingness.

The first objective was attained when your cattle exactly as it was done in Luwero by bush war thugs either killed or stolen. Further was the fragmentation of Teso into smaller districts. Now, the Itesot are squabbling about these nonviable districts, taking centre stage instead of seeking economic power stolen from you.

Apart from Mike Mukula who is any other Itesot worthy a mention?

Generation and generation have lost campus only to assume when you get a rifle and sit on Kampala veranda to watch over people’s wealth, this same wealth will be transmitted to you.

Quickly like the Baganda, Banyakigezi, Bunyoro create a forum and seek autonomy. As autonomy is sought people’s attention will directed to their own potential as a people territorially and politically.

The first step in this self-redefinition is to empower the Itesot with economic and political power by creating centres of economic activities. Develop your towns and also build proper residences, for your folk, as well as sending as many as possible in technical schools.

Bwanika Nakyesawa

Uganda will not be a 1st Class Economy Soon according to Idi Amin’s Son

Iddil Amin's Son

Iddil Amin’s Son

Dear Ugandans, To Whom Does This Country Belong?

During the independence bonanza there was a lot of looking back at the history of Uganda but rare were the voices that used the opportunity to take a pragmatic glance at the future of this country.In this category, one resounding proclamation was President Museveni when he said during his speech that Uganda would become a 1st World country within 50 years.

Many have brushed aside this speech as posturing or insignificant (after reading the full script, I personally thought it needed more inspiring input for the occasion) and party politics have sadly again taken the depth out of the one topic that stood out in the speech: 1st World Uganda.

Some commentators have questioned whether it was a genuine realistic pronouncement based on sound critical thinking, or had our president lost his bearings as poverty and lack of basic services is obvious to everyone else including the international guests who were in attendance.This has prompted me to consider the enormity of the task and the national effort required in order to achieve such a goal.

Shouldn’t we possibly start by evaluating the critical indicators that put a country in the category of the Developed World?Statisticians and economists would immediately look at the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the pace or prospects of economic growth say for the next five decades.

We could also look at the legal frameworks (or lack of them) like intellectual property rights, anti-monopoly laws, taxation, trade balance and inflation; basically all the legal and economic cornerstones that maintain developed countries.

Crucially, these countries create wealth through research and development that brings about global pioneering innovation with technological advances then being used to add significant value to raw or semi-processed products. They then use intellectual property laws to protect their advantage for an average ten to fifty years on any specific innovation.

Creating the industries and technologies that enable transformation of raw products into high value items is no easy feat as considerable investments in initial research and development are required in order to lead in specific sectors.

Budgetary allocations for the next five decades would also reflect the priorities that such a vision presents. For example, without a complete, high-tech, modern education system with institutions that churn out intelligent, highly skilled and multi-talented researchers, engineers and scientists that innovate and therefore create our progress, it is hard to think that we could achieve 1st World status.

With the advent of oil, we could improve only to a certain extent, but oil does not provide us with the, mentality and attitude that could turn Uganda into a developed country.For example, many oil rich countries are statistically better off than Europe if we consider their per capita income but that does not mean that they are 1st World.Their industries and services sectors depend heavily on foreign labor/skills and their progress is based on acquiring whatever innovations so as to at least improve their basic standards of living.
Their general attitude towards hard work, conducting research, and being innovative remains relaxed, thereby remaining categorized as Third World.

In my humble opinion, being in the Developed World is primarily a national state of mind that provides consensus for a strong urge to improve and excel in all fields.

It also comes with its own package of minimum acceptable standards particularly in education, infrastructure, nutrition, transportation, legislation, housing, government services, technology and even behavioral attitudes like self-respect, productive work ethics and personal hygiene.

The notion of private property and competition are the drives behind capitalism and the market economy that 1st World countries have relied on to thrive, but in order to achieve success, capitalism also implies that someone has to be exploited in order for the other to be successful.

So I am skeptical at how the millions of Ugandan peasants in the thousands of countryside villages and “trading centers” will attain Developed status given their current predicament where we depend on them to continue cultivating our staple foods and yet we have to uplift the downtrodden to the levels required by the Millennium Development Goals.

International industries aim at making products and services that have global impact and generally make life ever easier for those who can afford. That is why we look in awe at the standards of living in Western countries and find our youth struggling to get to the west without first pondering if they could afford those services and products.

Do we give due consideration to the considerable investment in time, money and hard work required to guarantee continuous international success, particularly how steadfast we actually have to be in order to maintain competitiveness if we ever achieved the required global standards in the first place?

Compare the citizen in the developed world to the jobless youth in our cities or to the hardly clothed poor farmer in rural Uganda, many of whom are only able to focus on whether some divine good luck will come their way for them to sleep on a full stomach that day.

At a national level, we hardly even look beyond our borders to compete with our neighbors who are also our partners in development.

Yet, believe it or not, capitalism is also a sport where national pride is at stake and where competition between countries creates progress.

As for now, the overwhelming perception is that we are already striving beyond the imaginable to make the best of our current predicament. However, if we don’t outshine ourselves even further by achieving beyond where we never thought we were capable of reaching, how will we attain this terrestrial glory?

Becoming first in the world is not a joke. Just ask any Ugandan living abroad what real life in Europe or the US is about? Getting there and struggling mostly in vain to live like the average European.

And that’s where I urge all of us to and sustain maintain our strife for achievements in our respective fields at home.Without attaining and surpassing minimum standards in our professions and different fields of expertise, an otherwise good idea remains in the realm of utopia.

If we took industrial, scientific and economic competitiveness more seriously, we would possibly be organizing programs for researchers, engineers, scientists and economists to train and collaborate with the best in the world.

Why wouldn’t a Ugandan be the one to discover a cure for cancer or HIV/Aids for example? Wouldn’t that be worth trillions of dollars if we went by international patent and intellectual property rights plus guaranteed production for the global market over say 50 years?

The word “Developed” not only means uplifting standards of living but also raising a critical mass of activities to standards of international excellence like South Africa is already on course of achieving.

It also requires that every Ugandan citizen represent this country at all times especially in the face of outside competition.But do Ugandans know that they also own this country and should be outstanding in order to uplift ourselves and our countries image?

Just ask why the Ugandan marathon runner grabbed the national flag from an onlooker in the last Olympics so as to complete the last few hundred meters with the Ugandan colors on his shoulders.

Fellow Ugandans, this country also personally belongs to you. And if there is anyone who will actually carry the nation to the 1st World, it is ultimately you who has to make the effort and behavioral changes necessary to achieve that goal.

Such an ambitious projection requires that we demand it from all leaders while doing whatever is necessary to at least head in that direction regardless of individual political inclinations.

President Museveni talked of “removing bottlenecks” in his independence speech. However, to attain 1st World status it would also require the local equivalent of a “Marshal plan” (the US Economic Support to Europe after the 2nd World War) to pro-actively transform this country.But ignoring or dismissing such an idea like many are doing, is exactly what this country has to immediately avoid.

As of now, I am not convinced that the Ministry responsible is working on any elaborate road-map that could provide the national progress that is sought.

While we might be thinking that we were already doing our level best, we could learn from our own success stories that there is still much more that we could achieve to improve our quality of life and that of generations to come.If only we could consistently excel at the local, regional and international level, and in all productive activities ranging from school performance, to good performance in our individual professions, in scientific innovation, sports, technology, business, creative arts and progressive national politics.

Unfortunately just a few weeks after the independence celebrations, are we or aren’t we back to “business as usual” as usual? For God and My Country

Hussein Lumumba Amin

Media Consultant & Son of Former President Idi Amin Dada

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