A week of commiseration and commemoration
but also for the broader mass of the Ugandan society that are experiencing economic hardships.
The week opened with the sad news of the untimely death of industry minister Dr. James Mutende who passed away in his sleep in Makindye, who died mid flight on an Emirates Airways seat from Seoul South Korea to Dubai.
While Dr. Mutende’s passing has not moved as many people as did Aronda, many people recalled Mutende’s cool temperament and civility. A veterinarian and economist, Mutende died at a young age of 53. Aronda died at 56 years.
The cruel hand of death snatched yet another prominent military general from amidst his friends. Maj. Gen. Ali Bamuze, a former rebel commander of the Uganda National Rescue Front II in West Nile, collapsed while attending an Operation Wealth Creation meeting in a hotel along Entebbe road.
Bamuze was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Oji East village Kulukulu division in Yumbe district.
Death of prominent persons aside, the week was punctuated with angry reactions coming from students of Makerere and Kyambogo universities. The MUK students this time swapped books with sticks after the administration re-introduced a rejected policy of paying all tuition fees in the first six weeks of the semester.
Citing the unfavourable economic environment, students rose up in arms, attracting anti-riot police to set up camp across the campus. The students sent a clear message to the administration of Vice Chancellor Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu forcing it to reverse the directive.
Ssentamu however warned students and parents that this is the last time they are allowing students to pay at their pace. Next semester, Ssentamu said, the university will strictly enforce the 100 percent fees settlement in six weeks. Across town in Kyambogo, students rioted because of unhygienic and inadequate toilets.
The students fear, perhaps genuinely that they will contract diseases.
It is not university students alone who should fear outbreak of diseases. Meteorologists are warning that despite the delay in rainfall, the coming rains are likely to fall in buckets and will therefore cause floods and landslides.
But some Ugandans are praying hard that God brings an end to the prolonged dry spell that has led to an increase in food prices across the country. Experts from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) dropped the bombshell when they said that food prices had risen by 10 percent in September compared to the same period last year.
The cost of food has dealt a major blow to people’s standards of living in Uganda. And as the head of IMF in Uganda Maria Colonel noted, there is no greater tax for the poor than inflation.
The ongoing tough economic environment has cast a dark cloud over the country’s 53rd independence cerebrations that were marked in Gulu district on October 9, 2015. As with previous independence cerebrations however, most in the business community are eager to open shops than reminisce about the journey travelled as many still feel entangled politically and economically.