Self Driving Uganda: All You Need to Know

Uganda is a place one would wish to self drive and experience the bumpy surface roads through the lush green tropical savanna woodland. The fact that Uganda is ranked among the top travel destinations in the world, one would you clearly give an excuse to drive in Uganda behind the wheels. It is joyful, full of pleasure especially if you are to the pearl of Africa for the first time. A self drive to the proclaimed impenetrable forest a home to the mountain gorillas is so special for self drivers in Uganda. Everybody would like to be part to what identifies Uganda in color, indeed  a visit of the gorillas  in the south describes Uganda’s self drive trip. Below is a little advice for travelers intending to take self drive safaris in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa;

Be confident on the road

As a self driver you need to be strong, courageous and confident while on the road. Do not be over powered by the rest of the road users especially speedy drivers. Focus and concentrate on your car to go forward. A driver who does not trust in himself or herself is likely to cause accidents while on the road and lead to loss of lives and damage to the car in Uganda. A confident driver on Ugandan roads will perfectly make  good results of him/ her because it is not easy to drive  on roads that are mostly narrow and un surfaced in some parts of Uganda bearing pot holes.

Follow the traffic rules

Almost everybody will remind the driver to be vigilant with the traffic especially in the city and high ways. They are key determinant to make someone a better self-driver in Uganda.  Respect the traffic lights whenever you meet them and the signpost along the highways are so important to a driver. Other traffic rules include, do over speed, do not over load the car, drive a car when sober and avoid any thing that may destruct your attention while on the road like telephones. A self driver that follows the traffic rules is worthy to save the lives of people in transit of the car from rental companies in Uganda.

Always be smart and neat

Smartness matters wherever you go. A smart driver is assumed smart on the road. It gives you the impression on moving forward with a car in Uganda. Not only the driver should be smart, also the vehicle should be clean to attract other people in the car and become comfortable with the environment.

Lastly, as self drivers make sure that the car ready to use is in good condition to complete yourself drive trip in Uganda without complains of mechanics. The fuel must be enough to complete the journey and as well maintaining the fluids in the car to a maximum. This softens the car and becomes simpler to drive as a self-motivated driver in Uganda.

Driving in Uganda is just made easy through car rental companies where everybody is able drive as long you meet some simple requirements like  a driving permit in Uganda.

NRM Government is Corrupt to the Core

When whistle-blowers revealed that Tutsi and Tutsified Ugandans were dominating strategic sections of Uganda economy and society especially the ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of finance, private sector and security forces, they were threatened with arrest and prosecution or worse for breach of anti-sectarian law which was designed to protect those that practice sectarianism.

In 2002, the anti-terrorism law with a broad definition has made it even more difficult to speak out against any NRM wrong doing. Consequently corruption has gathered speed and the most corrupt officials continue in power. Scholarships go to Tutsi. Good jobs go to Tutsi. Embassy jobs go to Tutsi. International jobs go to Tutsi. Some Tutsi in embassies even refuse to go home when their tour of duty is over. Who is allowing all these things to happen?

Commenting on these things is not sectarianism. It is a national security issue that every patriotic Ugandan should be alarmed about. We are losing Uganda if we don’t act quickly. With land slipping out of Uganda peasants and the prime minister has threatened to hand over land to large farmers who will mostly be outsiders since indigenous Ugandans don’t have the kind of money to buy large chunks of land, with Ugandans getting education that can’t get them jobs, the future of Uganda for Ugandans is very bleak indeed.
That is why the issue of leadership becomes crucial. It is not nnugu to ask questions about how party leaders are chosen as some have reasoned. It is patriotism. We have to be careful whom we pick. People who have been in NRM since it was created and have shifted to FDC can’t change their methods of exploitation to focus on developing the people. This is another mistake that if we don’t correct we shall regret it.

Uganda has received over $30 billion in donations (free money), Ugandans in the disapora send home every year about $1 billion. Uganda was the first country to get debt relief so that the savings fund education, healthcare and infrastructure. Uganda export earnings improved by diversifying exports including foodstuffs that were traditionally consumed at home. Uganda also gets soft loans including from the World Bank and other sources besides ordinary loans. The government boasts it has increased tax revenue collection. Where has all this money gone? Why are we still a third world country soon to become a fourth world with all this money?
Economic growth and per capita income the Human Development Report for 2013 praised has not reduced poverty. Over 50 percent of Ugandans are still trapped in absolute poverty, meaning that they can’t afford basic needs of food in a country that exports food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare.

Let me touch on another sad point. The Uganda building in New York that houses Uganda embassy is largely rented and collects a lot of money every month. One wonders why it can’t be repaired. This building has become a national disgrace. The exterior is in embarrassing shape – it needs repair urgently. At one time one of the two elevators was not repaired for about a year, if not longer. The heating system in winter is below normal requirement.

The building is situated next to the new American embassy building and the well kept United Nations Plaza building and it sits opposite the new South Korea embassy building.
Someone told me subject to confirmation that the building has been deliberately neglected to create an excuse to sell it and possibly pocket the money. It was also understood that Uganda had a house in New York for Uganda’s ambassador to the UN. If it is true why do Uganda Ambassadors hire expensive residences? The ministry of foreign affairs should clarify these issues.

I have copied this message to the Uganda mission to the United Nations in New York for its necessary action.

Radio Sapiential Reopened, Human Rights Activists Protest Radio Closures

THE Broadcasting Council has lifted the suspension of the Catholic Church’s Radio Sapientia. Sapientia was one of the five radio stations that were closed last week amid riots that rocked Kampala city after the Police stopped Kabaka Ronald Mutebi’s tour of Bugerere County.

Others were two of the CBS, Suubi and Radio Two (Akaboozi ku Bbiri) The Broadcasting Council argued that the stations were inciting violence.

“Radio Sapientia has since apologised for the misconduct of its staff and has made an undertaking to comply with the Electronic Media Act. Management has acknowledged that due to the lack of professionalism exhibited by the presenters and producers of the programmes in question, they are to be suspended pending conclusion of investigations,” a statement issued by the council’s chairperson, Godfrey Mutabazi, said.

INTERVIEW: Hussein Kyanjo ‘We will not be Intimidated

Written by Emmanuel Odongo

[Hajji Hussein Kyanjo MP] The Uganda Witness caught up with one of the most vocal and influential Ugandan MP Hussein Kyanjo (Makindye West- Uganda) of the JEEMA party (Justice Forum)

What’s your opinion on the state of public services?

The leaders that came in power had their self-interested agenda. Instead of developing public services they see the army as the only service that needs development. The hospitals are under funded and mismanaged. Even the president himself refused to be treated in Ugandan hospitals claiming that he doesn’t trust them. I wonder how the president can expect people to have confidence in the health services yet he himself does not have trust in the health service delivery system. The only functioning hospitals are privately owned and they are too expensive for my constituents to afford. Average prices are around 400,000 shillings.

One needs to look at the cabinet chart, mostly Ankole, Toro, Kigezi and Bunyoro areas are represented. Most ministers are from the western region where the president comes from.

The Ministry of Defence is headed by C Kiyonga, security by Amama Mbabazi, Internal affairs by Ruhankana Rugunda and Matia Kasaija, local government by Ottafiire and Hope Mwesige. The Ministry of Finance is headed by Solomon and the Revenue Authority by Ms Kagina all from the western region. The head of the army Nyakayirima is from the western region as well as the head of prisons not to mention the police (Army General Kayihura). In other words Museveni appoints his ministers from Bunyoro to kigezi.

So are you suggesting that poor representation is responsible for the poor state of public services?

Its definitely one of the reasons. The ministers are not appointed on merit but instead along tribal lines to strengthen the president’s grip on power. Their incompetence causes the chaos in public services. Museveni and his cronies all sit in a family ‘lukiiko’ and decide for the whole country. They are not accountable to any one.

Isn’t the vice president among other ministers from Buganda?

Gilbert Bukenya’s services stop in Bulenga his consistency. He is powerless. Other ministers you are referring too are powerless too. They are for show; in fact most of them have no control over their budgets.

You have complained about the high levels of corruption before, has the situation improved?

Absolutely not. Chogm contracts were all siphoned off by the president’s tribe to an extent that even the drivers for the diplomatic cars and cleaners were from one region.

Wavamuno who is a muganda won the bid to provide the cars to transport the diplomats during the commonwealth meeting but he was denied the opportunity. All the cars the government bought have disappeared under unclear circumstances.

President Museveni has said on many occasions that the country has made economic strides under his leadership, what’s your opinion on this?
This government has crippled the economy. They shut down co-operatives claiming they were corrupt. They advised people to grow mulinga, vanilla, among other crops but did not help the locals to access the markets. When the farmers sought their own markets in the neighboring countries to get more for their produce than what the government was paying them, the government intervened and even imprisoned some businessmen allegedly for smuggling. This is of course not consistent with capitalism and the free movement of goods and services. Agriculture has been ignored under this government and even when the farmers try they get frustrated as already explained.

The government shut down Sembule and Greenland bank under very unclear circumstances. Jinja town was vibrant and a progressing town but now most of the factories and the industries that existed were sold or shut down. These days the shops that used to sell high quality commodities are selling bananas only. Bus Park (Bus za Baganda) was sold amid claims that it would be replaced by a modern development. Instead it was replaced with shops which are now owned by the president’s kinsmen.

Elaborate a bit more on this?
Well, this is Museveni’s interpretation of leadership. His government can do anything they want. They claimed that Greenland bank owed 10 billion shillings but yet the same government lent an individual (Hassan Basajjabalaba) double that amount to rescue his business. One has to remember that Basajjabalaba has never paid back that money..remember he is the treasurer for the president’s party. This government is shameless and irresponsible.

How is the situation as far as freedom of speech is concerned?
The government and Museveni himself have threatened on many occasions to imprison those that speak out including me but we refuse to be intimidated. Uganda belongs to its citizens not individuals. Museveni wrote to the King of Buganda (Kabaka) insulting him over his refusal to back the proposed land bill. How does he expect us to keep quiet when he is doing such things to our cultural leaders? Insults to our Kabaka are unacceptable. Museveni has complained a lot about CBS radio that the opposition uses it to insult him and frustrate his plans but we use every radio in Uganda to reach out to our voters and that includes Radio Uganda – the national radio. So i wonder why he singles out CBS for criticism. I would like to emphasize this, we do not insult the president but we as oppostion politicians see things differently and offer different solutions to our problems in the country. In a democracy we are entitled to that right.

What’s your opinion on the proposed land bill?
Museveni has a hidden agenda. His claiming to be changing the law to protect the landless but this is not true. His generals and cronies are responsible for the land grabbings with impunity. The landless concept is his creation. Some of the generals responsible are Major Mugenyi who wants to illegally acquire Kisekka Market. I challenge Musevni to explain to us how these generals have acquired big chunks of land in Buganda. Among the causalities are Shimoni Demonstration School which was illegally bulldozed and then land sold to a private hotelier under unclear circumstances. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) land opposite the parliament was sold as well. These are some of the criminal activities that are going on.

As MP’s have you been consulted on the tabled land bill? Or facilitated to consult your consistencies?
Not all.

Isn’t that dictatorial?
Well the president said he is still working on the government level. I think after that he will command us to follow his wishes.

Why do you suggest that Buganda should become independent?
Buganda has not gained anything from being part of the republic of Uganda. We are being exploited by the NRM government. We pay taxes but we do not have anything to show for it. With the little left I think we can manage our resources better and provide for our citizens. Our off-springs should not have to suffer the way we have. Rwanda is now developing at a higher rate than Uganda yet those responsible for its growth were educated in Uganda and even used Ugandan guns to capture power.

How do you compare this government to those past regimes?
During those past regimes we had a national airline, ships, well funded hospitals and good roads. Generally we had a better organized transport network. Many of us still remember the Uganda Transport Company (UTC). This was sold off and the money was not accounted for. Makerere University and other government schools were well funded. Yet higher education was free and I am one of those that benefited from that quality education.

Idi Amin was very nationalist and those that call him a thug have done nothing for us. Most of the schools were built under Obote. I want to stress that its governments with its citizens not leaders personally that build the nation. So Obote did not personally build these institutions but he provided the right leadership that was necessary for this to happen. When Amin came into power he implemented what Obote had started or failed to finish off.

Your message to the young

Be nationalist and cherish your cultures. You are the leaders of tomorrow soon it will be your responsibility to lead our people.

Last word
Museveni’s regime has collected more tax than any other regime but done the least in developing Uganda. The NRM government has also borrowed more than all the past regimes combined. But has nothing to show for this money. Lastly, insulting our Kabaka and the continued grabbing of our land is unacceptable. If we get instabilities in Uganda, it’s Museveni and his government who will be held responsible for having started it all.