Is Political Participation in a Military Regime like Uganda Safe?

We recently concluded the International Youth Day Celebration under the theme, “Safe Spaces for Youth!” The Ugandan Government has prided in bring & maintaining peace. But is it really? I know many of us have not tried to participate in our political discourse and had a glimpse of power. Well, I have. And seen the people in those top positions are not willing to leave or tolerate any form of threat that jeopardizes that and that includes formations such as youth movements or people centered assertions. The current government is historically celebrated for using its military might to stabilize Uganda from dictator of the past and ushering in an economy that isn’t gun dictated. But at what cost has this come? Every time we seek change, we are reminded of how they went into the bush… talking of participation in democratic spaces, the government seems to think it’s all about creating political positions and not really giving people real power to make decisions. Sovereignty is the order of the day, to keep the peace, money and corruption (miss use of public funds for individual agendas) have fueled their ability to keep power. For a young person to become a leader, one has to align themselves to a patronage system placed to keep ambitious fellows in check. To maintain a grip on things, threats and unlawful (made-lawful) arrests are done. We as Ugandans today have peace from war but no true freedom to participate in political processes without being confronted with the dangers of contradicting those in power. The economy is our new war zone in exchange for a gun war-less poor and voiceless society setting. The Internatinal community seems to be confused on what Uganda’s state truly is. Politicians seem to really know the game they play, they have put…

Uganda’s Cooperate Tax Policy & the OTT Tax’s Impact on the Economic Inclusion of Youth

At the floor of Parliament, to the Right Honorable Speaker; Uganda has a high burden of youth unemployment at a record of 64%—the greatest of all times. A 2016 Youth Survey conducted by the Aga Khan University revealed that about 48% of youth aspire to own businesses. Youth’s desire to engage in entrepreneurship provides a clear path towards achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Uganda’s National Development Plan of ending poverty and improving the quality of life for Ugandans. The World Bank’s “voices of the poor” reported that over 60,000 poor people rose above poverty through personal businesses or gainful employment. In Uganda, small businesses are prone to early deaths not seeing their 5th birthday due to limited access to limited or no access to financial capital, poor working capital management, poor financial literacy, unstable markets unfavorable borrowing, lending and tax policies.   Far from it, the Ugandan economy is digitalized day by day, with limited capital to rest workspaces or hire human resource; young among many others have entrepreneurs have utilized online on social media platforms to run their business. Using Instagram, craft artists, fashionista and traders have marketed their products. Through Facebook, young entrepreneurs have built the business brands, run virtual offices and addresses hence legitimizing their existence on the digital market spaces and through Twitter, young people have pushed content to promote their products at the lowest bundle cost of 250 UGX since they have no capital. On average, on every sale made, with less capital of 265,000; a young person would sale a shirt he bought at 8500 at 10,000 and earn a profit of 1000-1500 ugx, in a month, maybe make sales of his about 30 shirts in stock using social media marketing a cost of 8,000 ugx a month on the social bundle.…

Revisiting My Memories for Inspiration, Writing the First Chapter of My Book

Stories of people’s lives, even fictional like. ‘The Lion King’, African tales and much more have inspired me to live life amidst adversity as a child up to a certain point.  I sometimes lived through fire with a hope higher than that of the burn pains believing that magically a miracle was to happen through my imaginary super powers only to walk through the blazing fire. Nevertheless, such hope can only go a long way until you hit bottom rock of bottom rocks, if you know what I mean. It is at this point that you need to be-reminded of truths in your amazing inspirational journey. A journey characterised of a super hero with a super power, for me that was courage and unfailing laughter. It is ironic how we look to other people’s stories to live through our own only to have it help another (smiles). Recently, at the moment when I absolutely had no hope, a ‘guardian angel’ reminded me of the worst situations I have been through and over come, it got me into a time travel spell, stuck in memory lane. Upon return to the present, I was inspired to start this new phase in my life. Every time I told people of what I have been through, I was always humbled at how they would react. They would use my mistakes and experience to live better lives. That is why I even started my blog back in 2010. I was wrong to think that the journey I have taken can only inspire people out there, I guess it inspires me too. It does not have to be a journey of success only, but one that tells the truth of life as it is and how we can overcome. So am taking a detailed trip into…

We Take Back Our Power from the Military or Corrupt Leaders by Raising Words

It’s been so long since I had a say on the power structures of my community (East Africa). Many have risen up to say power is military supremacy; others have worshiped money and wealth. I guess they are correct in their own right based on what they have settled to believe as portrayed by those holding power. Today, it’s families of influence and great wealth leading nations, individuals with a great command over the military asserting their great played role in the security of communities, sometimes based on true heroic acts of liberation in creating stability as an anchor to hold power. Others succeed power from power holders just because they would provide a cover and sense of continuity after they hand it over (power) so as to maintain interests of their similar circle-mates. But we are reminded, times have changed and are changing, just like power as right by birth in the monarchy system back then changed to just prestige, so has security. It is no longer a privilege but a human right, not a tool for power but rather enforcement of the people’s will as expressed in words like many other rights. We cannot afford to stay ignorant of the power structures nor measure our abilities to hold power based on these ancient beliefs of wealth or military might but rather understand the strength in our words. Our power is that glowing center in all of us as humans. It’s what makes us speak up about an injustice when that injustice does not personally affect us. It is what makes us aware that we are better off if our fellow human beings are better off. My favorite African witter once said, “Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person but the ability to…

Why Enterprenuer’s Face Problems Sustaining Their Businesses

I get so busy doing what I do that I get no time to live off what I do. Most of us are in a business we physically do, as a result we have limited our income because we only have two hands. We get so busy doing it and we don’t get time to grow it. When I started out Faraja Africa, I had to be everything as an Enterprenuer. Had to be the leadership, marketing, development, book keeping, mapping, planning, you name it. This was because of limited resources as a result of a small budget, I was a one man team with no staff to pass it to. I ended up getting super exhausted. Which is unlike for the CEO who passes the on work to other people hence making them accountable to him. “All busyness is not related to business which makes it a distraction.” ~T.D Jakes. You have to be focus on what is important & profitable for business. You have to reserve your self for the highest & best use. Note that your best use isn’t doing it, it’s running it. The problem of doing it your self is that you start thinking you do it better than anyone else, even if you had a team, your standards are too high that non of your team can handle. You need to get back a little and get your heart (emotions) out of your business and use your brain. Empower your team to do the work as you run things with the right motive and purpose of cause. Uganda is one of the largest Enterprenuer countries in the world. But most business do not stand to see their next year. And one of the biggest reasons is that many people start business to address their…

Women don’t need to ask for recognition, they have earned it! #BeBoldForChange

   When I heard the hashtag for this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations, “Be Bold for Change” I didn’t exactly get it! I mean, everybody can be bold to make a difference, right? This was until I personally reflected on the impact of women in my personal life!  I discovered my life was 87% positively impacted by women! My full-time parent I learnt most from (Mom), my teachers right from kindagarten to university (8/10 have been female), all my advocacy campaigns were 64% women dominated! My most dedicated organization and company staff 74% are women, most loyal customers too -women! My line manager at my current job, “cool manager by the way! – is a woman!” Same as former and as much as I can remember! My entire life has been impacted by these bold women and I never stopped to think twice of them!! All we do think about is the strong men just as society and culture dictates.  Women are in every aspect of our lives, right from bottom to top! We can just keep ignoring their efforts even when they do less to seek recognition of the great works they do or we could do things differently! At work, we are blind to the injustices they go through in the hands of our colleages; the sexual harassment, reduced to blackmail of either the job or her body for sex! We converse about it in a joking manner, not knowing how oppressing it is, we don’t think of that woman being our sister or wife. We are silent when all the men are promoted yet she works selflessly and tirelessly only to see others being promoted as she is left on her desk with a claim she is a “woman” or that she is “perfect for her current job.”…

Message to Entrepreneurs in Africa & World from the Late Dr. Myles Munroe.

  As a young Leaders and Businessman, The Late Dr. Myles’s teachings and wisdom have pushed me to great heights in my journey to success. I recommend more young people to read his message as well, be blessed: “I was born poor, sleeping on the floor with cockroaches and rats. Today, I own my own jet. Everything I have is paid for. I am debt free; I open new businesses every year and mentor many people,” -Myles ON UNEMPLOYMENT Myles Munroe strongly discouraged the reliance on Government for jobs, describing it as ‘lazy thinking.’“There is no such thing as unemployment in the world. What you call unemployment is what I call lazy thinking,” he says.“The work of government is not to create jobs, but to create an environment for people to develop their own work,” he asserts. ON GIFTS/TALENTS Munroe discourages employed professionals against relying solely on their jobs for income, urging them to instead create wealth using their unique talents. He also challenges aspiring entrepreneurs to develop and refine their expertise in a talent, idea, service or body of knowledge. When you refine your gift in an area, you become valuable; people seek you out and pay you. ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP Munroe said setting principles is the first step towards achieving success for any budding entrepreneur. “I will never be poor again because I have learnt the principles of business,” he asserts.“I can say without a doubt that what I have accomplished is based on principles passed on to me by my parents. You should never build your life on facts or techniques because these often become obsolete,” he cautions.“For you to survive today, you must accept the reality of partnerships. If someone emerges as my competition today, I am not supposed to kill them, but marry them,” he states.“Do…

How To Empower Women… Will It Be Politically Or Economically?

It’s not a question of either economic empowerment for women or political empowerment for women, but rather it is both! An empowered woman is a woman that is economically independent and politically active. Women must not only take leadership but must also be interested in the leadership of their countries and therefore they need political empowerment. But you cannot participate actively in politics unless you are economically independent. Otherwise that’s why we see issues of patronage, we see disfranchisement of women because they are economically dependent on this patronage system. So we think the encouragement is to empower women both economically and politically if you want to achieve sustainable development and growth. Sustainable development is inclusive development but also development that is self-independent where women for example in this case are able to sponsor their opinions and to take leadership without necessarily depending on the patronage system on the case of Uganda. Hence the push is for economic empowerment for women together with political empowerment and not one or the other. Empower a woman, you have a powerful empowered nation, you can not have a sustainable independent powerful country without empowering it’s women. They are the engine of development, vanguard of democracy, so without women participation you cannot even have a sustainable democracy. Give the women space to participate, allow them, don’t give them favors! Give them space to equally participate in the governance processes equally as men. But also de-commercialize politics so that it is the championing of ideas, not the purchase of votes, so that the women have an equal opportunity as men for example seek to take leadership positions in various areas. Therefore its about leveling the ground for women and men regardless of their age and to do that you need to empower the women to…

Youth Declaration on the African World Heritage Regional Youth Forum

AFRICAN YOUTH DECLARATION ON WORLD HERITAGE We, the participants of the 1st Anglophone African World Heritage Regional Youth Forum (Robben Island World Heritage site, 4 May 2016), express our sincere gratitude to the African World Heritage Fund, the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Robben Island Museum, for giving us the opportunity to be part of an amazing experience. This will enable us to share our knowledge and skills of World Heritage with the wider community. The experience was engaging and opened our minds to procedures and discussions related to the significance of heritage conservation for sustainable development in implementing the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention. The iconic Robben Island World Heritage site deepened our understanding and passion for conserving the priceless legacies that encompass ancestral values of cultural and natural heritage throughout the African continent. Moreover, we learned the importance of perseverance in addressing the many challenges facing Africa. This we hold dear to our hearts, and we will never forget. Africa faces many challenges that affect her heritage: rapid infrastructure development, illicit trafficking, climate change, conflict situations, lack of investment in heritage and many others. We consider that the lack of investment in African youth is one of the biggest constraints limiting our participation in the efforts to balance development and conservation. We shall take it upon ourselves to engage other youths, heritage experts and national and local governments in our respective 23 countries to pursue conversations around heritage conservation. In this respect, the “each one teach one” practice used by ex-political prisoners who were confined on Robben Island should be widely promoted. Even though local communities living around heritage sites are essential stakeholders in the conservation of their heritage, they are usually excluded in decision-making processes. We propose that…

The Divisions Amongst Ugandans in the Post-Election Era. #YouthVoice

It is a very unlike-African behaviour, particularly for Ugandans, not to celebrate after the conclusion of something as encompassing and as important as a presidential election. It was almost eerie the way the whole nation went into a fog of silence after the elections, which led me to think that even though people voted, they were not happy.   According to the EC Statistics, 280 MPs who belong to NRM will be sworn in together with 83 MPs belonging to FDC to occupying seats in Parliament. 70% LC5 Chairpersons – NRM and 20% FDC taking office this year too will also hold various party cards respectively. The election this year alienated representation of the poor and above all muted their voices. Considering the allegations of stolen votes and rigging, the source of people’s unhappiness isn’t hard to determine.   It is also important to note that many who voted for President Museveni are slowly distancing themselves from his government due to the brutal treatment of opposition leaders. For many, this is a betrayal of the freedoms that The President is so proud to have given the citizens of Uganda all in the name of peace.   However most Ugandans are not shifting to the opposition, but rather occupy the area known as ‘Independent’. Even though they admit the inconsistencies in the NRM government, many do not see the value in the opposition either. This is evidenced from the fact that Dr Kizza Besigye’s call for a sit-down strike fell on deaf ears and as for NRM the silence says it all.   I speak for many Ugandans especially youth when I say that the lines that separate President Museveni and Dr. Kizza Besigye are non-existent. The political system in Uganda does not encourage debate and differences of opinion, but is suited…

Stop Excuses, Start Your Business Young Africans, Create Capital!

We just concluded our Political electoral season as Youth! Yes it wasn’t perfect especially with us being part of the mistakes in regards to vote selling & worse, lack of interest in the whole process; you both had your reasons. Those are bygones now; food won’t jump into your table or your day today to day needful expenditures cater for them selves. Those leaders you sold your vote too have to return the money they once gave you, which won’t happen by midnight. Therefore what will you do in the meantime (hoping they change) without any service delivery or Gov’t opportunities? Seat and wait in hunger? I know we today have perfect excuses as young people! “We don’t have Capital” or as Women, “Gender equality for all!” Seat back & expect everything to be done for us! Well let me break it down to you sweet heart! 1st; not to be against gender equality or empowerment, but in our state Uganda, it’s still your individual responsibility & “IF”you are lucky, the society will step in to help… but you have got to start somewhere. It’s worse with guys, you are already mistakenly thought to be advantaged (which is wrong!) but what else to do!? Here are some proposals: Find out what your community need is? With respect to laws of demand and supply, evaluate and see its viability before you start implementing! Seek out your opportunities! Most community needs are self-financing business ideas! That means customers in your society can pay an initial deposit for your product or service hence capital! Ensure you have knowledge and understanding in regards to the field (business) you are stepping in! Google or the Internet at large is your good friend! Practicing business people won’t have time to mentor you hence self-study is your…

My Voting Experience on the 18th Feb 2016 #UgandaDecides

As a youth advocate, practising what I preach is important. I believe that voting is the most effective way young people can influence decision making in Uganda. I set off on the eve of election day to Manafwa district where my polling station is located, hoping to vote and mobilise others to do the same. At least that was the plan. Getting a bus direct to the district turned out to be difficult and as a result I had to hire a private vehicle which resulted in a long expensive trip with lots of stop overs.   Furthermore, public threats from the army and the police discouraged alot of people from turning up to vote. The disconnection of social media platforms and mobile money was also a hinderance as alot of people couldn’t access their funds so that they could travel. And since social media is one of the best mobilization tools among the young, there was also a generally low turn up in that demographic as well. In some areas, ballot papers were delayed resulting in congestion at the polling stations. If the Electoral Commission had had better mechanisms for controlling numbers, many people, just from sheer exhaustion, wouldn’t have returned home without voting. I had to use a BodaBoda (commercial motorcycle) for three hours just to make sure I could cast my vote. The entire experience just highlights my lack of faith in the electoral system of Uganda. As I speak, in five subregions of Bugisu, few young women turned up to vote. The irony being that there were several elderly women waiting in line. Many young people were relunctant to show up due to the belief that the incumbent President will be declared the winner no matter what. For now, all any of us can do is…

Open letter to the Chairman National Resistance Movement as Youth. 

As NRM Youth leaders we have spent a considerable amount of time in the last 5 years selflessly building the party ideology among fellow youth and the Uganda Community at large, mobilizing for its expansion, strengthening and establishment to the day today trends. It’s unfortunate that at the climax of party’s opportunity to put to practice what we have worked so hard to build and campaign for youth participation in NRM processes, the youth where franchised by our own leaders who made the campaigns about money rather than ideology and brilliant ideas therefore made the campaigns about who had more finances. The youth participation in the NRM where supposed to be how the youth will promote the NRM ideology and leadership of the party plus mobilize to even they them selves engage in decision making above all leadership through the youth league. Today doesn’t matter how brilliant you are as a young person or how brilliant your ideas for job & wealth creation or development, women emancipation, governance, etc!! What matters is how much money you can mobilize and now NRM youth win because of how much money they have. Mr Chairperson it doesn’t mean that most of those of us who lost did not have ideas but rather we were out matched cause we didn’t have enough money like those who went through. We have been disempowered from participating meaningfully in the leadership of our party since most of it is all about which family you come from, wealth classification, or how well and dirty politics are you willing to play. Qualification in our party is reason for disqualification, above all there is no room for meaningful participation. Our Chairperson we ask you to lead and re-champion the campaign against the commercializations of leadership in politics and lead the…

My Dissatisfaction with NRM-Primaries

The National Resistance Movement recently organized a Delegates Conference which Included the Primary elections of the Youth League executive along side flag bearers for the #Youth Members of Parliament from East, West, Central, North and National (Female). The elections were by electoral hence voters who qualified to vote were Sub-county Chairpersons, District Executives members alongside 2 Out Going District Councilors, note that we were informed on the day of voting that part of the delegates/voters are not allowed to vote and these where the newly voted Youth Councilors. NRM was in charge of transporting, accommodating, feeding and as well as welfare of the delegates, hence for this to happen, accreditation of delegates was to be decentralized at district levels to save time & be orderly from the 28th (Which was Canceled a day to arrival) to 29th-30th (moved to 31st) October 2015. How Youth Leadership in the NRM-Primaries was Walled to Favor the Rich by the Party in the elections.As a contestant for Youth MP Eastern Region, I was shocked at the way the EC handled the elections. For starters; The election dates where pushed over 6 times, hence candidates had to spend more money to campaign and maintain their support since June even on the last day of elections. The nomination process did not exclude the youth, who were made to pay 2 million shillings just to show interest & subjected to a high fee of over 1/2 a million to certify academic credentials in UNEB. Accreditation of delegates on arrival was shady since short notice information was given for dates of arrival on the 28th as set before to the next day. Hence many of the delegates had were already in Kampala causing a rift. Accreditation did not begin until 1pm in the afternoon to 3am on the 29th…

Open Letter to all Ugandan Youth. Let’s Start Critical Thinking and Yield into Action

Dear Young People, Over 50/years ago Uganda attained its independence which was fully instigated partly by youth at that time. It took concern and need for freedom that they took a move of that kind. Leadership passed on through arms struggle to different presidents who led with an iron hand. May youths at the time developed and others were killed. Through critical thinkers, a team of Youths joined forces to fight for freedom and freedom out of arms struggle, tho methods used were military. Either way it yielded a lot of results giving more opportunity to the young country to grow. Today we have a lot of peace and liberties since time memorial, we are now comfortable with all that youth of yesterday achieved for us! We on the other hand concentrate on pleasures, social media, movies, clubs, food, money, sleep, sex, games, sports among others. Each day we have been availed with 24 hours but question is are we accountable to it? We are faced with a reality of challenges which cut across, unemployment, poverty, ignorance, manipulation, lack of focus and so on. Question is….. Who is doing the thinking for us? Why should we at all times or seek to lean on the old to stand. We need to arise with our own solutions to solve our own problems, we need to speak for our selves and not others speak for us!! Out of the 24 hours we are given, we need to own time, embrace our own planning in building for the future. Reality is majority of the old by 2031 they should have biologically have left the planet and we the adults of the time. If we start thinking and planning now, we can make the best of our country, we don’t need budgets, or other…

My Aspiration for Youth Member Of Parliament Eastern Region (Inspiration)

For Youth? What I came do? Wow! What am going to give to them… That seems like a very ambiguous question to ask. I know everyone expects it…sometimes its not what the youth need that works for them but its what makes us alive… You and me! That’s what the world needs most… My biggest admiration for this country has always been to scratch my history and write anew story to for others, with new actions of Being my Brothers Keeper, Drawing close opportunities with no strings attached for your reach, helping in building young people’s dreams in their careers, business, talent, skill, passion and love above all. But we all have been shadowed by barriers…Politics has taught us to fear one another, I know who it has turn us against each other, how honesty is turned into a weapon to destroy each other just for self justification and gain, I know how we have been trained and reduced to handouts than reason, and am not saying its wrong but what makes it wrong is when we continuously choose only handouts over reason or rational thinking clouding our judgment into a stormy situation. We all have a free will just as simply as service can be. Innovation, passion, talent, love and teamwork if best put together you won’t need to ask what I will do for the youth. Question is what shall we do for our selves and not just individually but communally! There is a strength in togetherness, fellowship as we all know two heads are better than one. We are a Country, the people, the culture, the economy, the spiritual, the geography, the opportunities, the laws, the beliefs, hopes and aspirations.. Where you belong or where I do matters to all of us not just some of us.…

Involve #Youth Voices In Political Party Manifestos

A Party Manifesto is one of the most important keys to the leadership of our nation. “Straighten a tree while it’s young so it may not be bent when it’s grown” Youth are the leaders of today and tomorrow regardless whether they have tittles or not. A Party manifesto is directly a Presidential Manifesto who in most of Africa is the supreme leader of government and makes vital major discussions. His manifesto at the time of elections directly shows what he is going to do for the people, however as we all know it a manifesto is meant to be simply the people’s pressing needs and how best they are to be solved. It becomes a greater deal when people vote their concerns to be addressed in the manifesto and later fulfill their interests thus making politics pro-people and ,ore participation. However, the challenge today is a few people seat in workshops, conferences or even worse in closed door meetings and form these political manifestos and manipulate others to adopt to it. This way it makes it very unrealistic and unsustainable since it is not owned by the community but rather imposed on the community. In the end of it all, development is compromised hence all its negatives kick in. Most governments take 5-10years in service and sadly others take more as we all know it, an average African man or woman life span is upto 60years of age, of which their active and productive years of age is 17-33years mostly the youth age which is my focus today. After that there is a meant to be a natural shift of life events as they take on the to roles at age 34 above to lead and manage. Meaning they have upto maximum 16 years to develop an understanding and…