Uganda comes 21on list of failed states

Here is the list of failed states The list is produced by Foreign Policy and The Fund for Peace. While Uganda is not in a critical situation, the report shows that our country is in the danger of becoming a failed state. I will come back to this subject in the coming days.

Next week on July 11, it will be the world population day. As usual we will get updates on different population issues and what interventions are needed to curb the growth. Uganda’s population is estimated to be about 32 million with a growth rate of 3.4 percent.

Children in Gulu, Northern Uganda
Children in Gulu, Northern Uganda Rosebell Kagumir/2008

“Investing in women is a smart choice” is this year’s theme. I believe in the saying that when you educate a woman, you educate a nation. This is not to say when you educate men you’re not targeting a country but it simply shows the wide impact of women education. All the maternal deaths due to myths and ignorance about medical interventions would be partly prevented. You would increase their participation in debates on major issues affecting the country. Then women have an instrumental role they play in bringing up children and in most of our societies many times they actually raise children almost single-handedly so their education directly benefits their children.

Today the BBC has a story from a report by the French Institute for Demographic Studies which warns of a population time bomb for developing nations as the ratio of elderly people rises.

Most elderly people live in poverty. One way Uganda could avoid this is to invest more funds in providing contraceptives and more education of women and men on having smaller families. Fertility rate in Uganda is around 6.7. Which means on average Ugandans give birth to 6  to 7 children. If children were well planned for and well spaced many Ugandans would not be so poor in their old age. There’s a lot of unemployment which means that many children are not necessarily the solution. Many Ugandan youth still depend on their parents even up to the age of 30 as they hit the streets with no jobs. Once they get the jobs, they start having their own family and children and in the absence of social insurance and pensions, parents aren’t left with much to see them through their life.

So as the world marks the Population day, you will likely hear the President and some politicians say there’s no problem with giving birth to many children and they are right. But they don’t take the argument to the end. They must tell people to plan for the children and take into account the economic circumstances and the future. I am not saying poor people have no right to have children but rather that we think more about the implications of have many children and also we should know the days of a man having their land and cows and neighbours to take care of their families are almost long gone. Anyway we must ask what audacity do these politicians have to advocate for more numbers to the population when they have failed to plan for those already in the country.  Somehow they are also caught in the attitudes rather than giving logical solutions.

Can African countries avoid coups with increasing election fraud?

I just read this piece from International Magazine that a total of 31 African heads of state were assassinated in less than 40 years after independence.

This was brought forward by President of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Jean Ping, at the opening of the 15th session of the Executive Council of the AU.

This means that on average a Head of State was killed per year is a “regressive political developments disturbing.” African presidents are calling for  a coherent response to ensure minimise similar occurrences.Just in March this year, the President of Guinea-Bissau, Joao Bernardo “Nino” Vieira, was murdered and a coup followed. Similar events have occurred in Madagascar and Mauritania.

At the 12th Conference of Heads of State and Government of the AU in February in Addis Ababa, African leaders asked the AU Commission to submit recommendations for the implementation of adequate preventive measures against unconstitutional changes of government.

But no amount of recommendations will save African governments from coups. These leaders know what they should do to prevent coups but they aren’t doing it. They instead behave in a manner that can only encourage coups. For instance abrogating constitutions, stealing elections Kenyan and ZimbabweAfrica. Otherwise treating coups as though they are the cause of chaos rather than an outcome of certain misrule is not right.  And I believe sometimes coups are the only hope for many states. style, not allowing opposition voices is the norm in many countries. Every time you here a dictator has changed the constitution to give himself more terms in offices and at worst leave it open for a possible life presidency. Many citizens in many countries only wait for the hand of God to take away dictators. Corruption is soaring and nothing is done on merit in many African countries. With this situation someone needs to tell African leaders that you alone can prevent coups in Africa.

Obama in Africa.What should he address?

obama2A week from now President Obama will make his first visit to Africa(Sub Saharan). He will be in Ghana on July 10-11. Besides discussing bilateral issues with the Ghanian President John Atta Mills he is expeced to give a speech to the whole of Africa. The out going US ambassador to Uganda told the media yesterday that President Obama will adress issues of corruption and governance. But I think Africans also would like to hear more regarding Obama’s plans on trade, conflicts like Somalia, DRC, Darfur. I believe his trip to Ghana should be given attention by the west just like they did with the Cairo speech. I would like to know what you think should be the center of his Africa policy.

Rwanda sterilisation bill should open debate on mental disability

A proposed law in Rwanda meant to stem the spread of HIV has been put on the spotlight. But what mostly stands out is the proposal to sterilise people who are mentally disabled. The Human Rights Watch has come out to say the proposal is as a crime against humanity by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. And Rwanda is being urged to drop a draft law.

The law as controversial as it may seem, I find HRW lacking context here by quoting this the crime against Humanity. The sterilization as a crime against humanity by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court looks sterilization with a purpose to extinct a certain population.

I think this proposed law needs a lot of debate than just judgement.  This idea that a government is out to hurt some citizens is not the way to look at it. I don’t wholly agree with the proposal but how HRW approached the proposal is what I beg disagree with. My first thoughts when I read the story were that this is a government trying to face difficulties faced by mentally disabled people. And back in UgandaSupporters of such a proposal may be thought to prevent such mentally disabled people from having children not for other reasons but for their own good and for those of families although the law if passed may face  many challenges in implemenation. I am not saying it is the best option but instead of condemning we should be looking for ways that governments in Africa can stop this double suffering. everyday you walk through the country, you hear chilling stories of mentally ill or disabled women raped and they are pregnant. No one will ever come to claim responsibility. Then relatives of these people are left to look after them with a lot of difficulty and many families cannot afford the time or the money to take care of these women. And for those who are on the streets it’s even worse. No one cares and  most these children concieved by mentally disabled women die immediately after they are born becuase the mothers cannot care for them that is if the mothers don’t die as they deliver on their own in streets and bushes.

So besides asking Rwanda to drop this proposal I would want to hear what can be done to prevent the unwanted pregnancies among mentally disabled people. This bill should cover areas of protecting such groups not just from pregnancies but also from HIV. How do we ensure mentally disabled people are protected from all this is the key question here but not viewing the proposed law as just abusive.