Pareto Efficient

In search of pareto improvements

Posts Tagged ‘museveni

Fires / Riots in Kampala

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Tensions between the Buganda Kingdom, Uganda’s largest and most influential tribe, and the Museveni government have been escalating as Museveni has moved to limit the power and influence of cultural leaders and kings.

With the 2011 elections just around the corner, tensions are mounting.

Yesterday, an unknown arsonist burned the historically significant Bugandan Kasubi Tombs to the ground.  The Tombs were the final resting place for the last 4 kings of Buganda, making it the most hallowed ground of the Buganda.

After the fire started, it didn’t take long before demonstrators and rioters took the streets.  That never ends well…

Most journalists are focusing on the immediate impact of 3 rioters dead and police on the streets.  Unfortunately, the real issue is that the Bugandan people will assume the government had a hand in the fire and rumors extremely powerful regardless of their validity.  Let’s hope everything calms down soon…

Read the NYTimes Story


Written by thetyson

March 18, 2010 at 7:17 am

Day #11: Corruption? No way.

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Today I read about some controversy around President Museveni’s “investments”.  I think Mr. Museveni is just a little misunderstood, and I’m here to defend him.

I feel you, dog

Come on.  Everybody knows that lobbying the other countries for debt forgiveness and foreign aid is a thankless job.  But hey, somebody’s gotta do it.  And President Museveni does it every day without ever asking for anything.*

*Note: Except the basics.

Strategy: Impress the pants off of ’em

Look, he is asking Britan for $1.07 billion in aid.  What better way to close the deal than to roll up in a brand new $36 million Gulfstream V jet. I mean, the British PM Gordie Brown goes commercial when he travels to Uganda – what a sucker.  Perhaps the Gulfstream actually could impress him into sending aid.

Ah ha!  You have the cunning of a jungle cat, Mr. Museveni.  I like it.  It makes total sense: spend lavishly to show them how much you really need the money.  You are a genius.


Faking it until he makes it

Which is why I also fully support other recent key investment initiatives like:

  • $121 million to host the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting in 2007
  • $41 million to refurbish the Presidential Palace in 2007

Its only a $200 million request in total – just 0.3% of Uganda’s GDP (is that a lot?).

You are a visionary.  Its true that 1/3 of your country lives on less than $1/day.  But ya gotta spend money to make money in this high stakes game of international aid. Everybody knows that, right?

Good luck, sir.

Written by thetyson

October 18, 2008 at 6:37 am

Uganda, a brief history

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This is the story of Uganda the way I understand it to be.  If you have things to add, please leave comments and I’ll update it.

The British are coming, the British are coming!

Uganda was colonized by the British in the 1890’s.  The two dominate and largest tribes in the area were the Lugandans (source of the name Uganda) in the south and the Acholi in the north.  The Brits gave governing duties to the Lugandan tribe and set up the Acholi tribe as the military force.

A house divided

As you might imagine, this division has deeply impacted Uganda’s development.  Resources are disproportionately allocated with heavy favoritism to the southern parts of Uganda.  Current President Museveni is of Lugandan heritage and that doesn’t hurt.  Kampala is a bustling city while 66% of the Acholi in the north live on less than USD $1/day.

In the north, a witch who had mysterious visions and believed she could not be killed by gunfire began amassing a rebel following of Acholi in the north.  There are several accounts (from both sides) of her walking calmly through the battle field between opposing gunfire.  She passed power in the rebel army to a man named Joseph Kony.

Unconventional warfare

Kony, a total savage, invented a thing called “child solidiers” whereby he would steal young children from the villages of his own people in northern Uganda and force them into military service.  There are accounts of children being given guns and commanded to kill their parents.  Or, two brothers being forced to kill one or have the rebels kill both of them.  Little girls were abducted and used to carry supplies and raped.  All of the children are subjected to drugs, brainwashed and desenctized into killing machines.  Just horrible.

The villagers requested help from the Ugandan governement.  The government simply lacked the resources to defend the remote villages from Kony’s attacks, so they set up more concentrated camps in northern towns like Gulu.

Villagers had the option to leave their homes and stay in the camps for protection and over 1 million people did just this.  Once Kony’s rebel army was disbanded, they would simply return home.

Yeah, that was 22 years ago.  WTF!?

You now have an entire generation of young people who’ve grown up in what have come to be known as IDP (internally displaced people) camps.  Since land rights were part of an oral tradition shared between neighboring families, many no longer know where family’s land was let alone how to farm it leavning most with no skills whatsoever.  All they know is that rice shows up on a truck everyday.

Going back

The word on the street is that Kony is on the verge of signing a peace treaty with the Ugandan goverment.  Even if this is done, getting back to their villages would take years – assuming they could find their land.

They would need to send back a small group to plant.  Then, another to harvest.  Then, assuming a decent harvest, they could return with their families in the following year

Peace. Psych!

How do I know this process of return to the villages?  Easy.  Many have already attempted it 3 times.  You see over the last 22 years, Kony has signed and broken 3 peace agreements.  Each time it gets more difficult for people to believe the peace is going to last, so fewer people even attempt the move back.  Moving back to the villages is an extremely costly process for these families because many have no resources or savings.

NGOs to the resuce

Uganda’s story, which is lost on much of the main stream population, is known well by the NGOs (non-governmental organizations or non-profits).  In fact, Gulu, a town of only 20,000 residents is home to more than 120 international NGOs.  I’m told this is the most NGOs per capital of any town in the world.

Okay.  Now you’re up to date with everything I know about the situation.  Let’s see what else we can uncover in the coming days.

Written by thetyson

October 15, 2008 at 12:16 am

Day #3: Walk to Town

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Side note: I woke up and realized something — I love Uganda.

Today I’m trying to setup meetings with MFIs and loan recipients…must find working internet in town.

So far I’ve been using taxis and boda bodas to get around. Today I’ve decided to go local, keep it real and walk Jinja Road into Kampala today.  Its only 5 kilometers — that’s nothing.

Its a great walk.  I’m eating dirt and diesel fumes.  Boda drivers are hammering me to take them into town, they don’t believe I’m walking there…I guess muzungu (white people) don’t usually walk.

On foot, its much easier to connect with the many people that line the busy streets.  I stopped to talk with some skilled metal/wood workers on the corner near my place (below).

Metal Shop in Kampala

Metal shop in Kampala

They were on the ball, but living in extreme poverty (behind the shop).  None of them have ever taken micro-finance loans.  I recommended that they explore that option to grow their business.

A little farther up the road I decided to heed friendly advice and avoid the tap water in Kampala.  Might be hard to see in the picture below, but the water has a ton of trash in it…

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink...

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink...

Shortly thereafter, I came across a hoof (below).  Would’ve eaten it, but the ants already had it.  Dang.

Anybody's goat loose a hoof?  Ah, random hoof here...

Ah, I think somebody's goat lost a hoof. Anybody?

My walk took me right by the Ministry of Elections for Uganda.  Interestingly, President Museveni, who took power through the millitary 22 years ago, has changed the constitution to afford himself extra terms in office.  The signs below show his deep commitment to the democratic process.

Daaaa, ummm...yup.  We don't count good...

Daaaa, ummm...yup. We don't count good...

...and ensure Mr. Museveni always wins.


Report the dead...I knew I forgot something.

Bicycle bodas were prevalent — and loaded with impossibly large loads (below).

Sugarcane delivery

Sugarcane delivery

No, no.  I can take two, watch me...

"Fuel-tanker vs. fuel-biker"

No, seriously.  I can take 4

"What's that? Four bunches? No problem."

At Garden City mall, I saw the guy (below) with this huge bag of bottles on his back…

Wow, that's amazing...

That's impressive. How far is he carrying that bag?

Wait, that's not right.  What?

Um. Wait...that's not good. Seriously?

Fortunately, I found a Coke dealer just before the shakes and cold sweats started up again.

Sweet elixuir of life

Ah, sweet elixir of life

Today was really fun.  The people are unbelievably kind.  I really like it here, and there are so many ways to help.  Gotta figure out the angles and get something going over here to help these guys…

Unfortunately, after a 2 hour walking adventure and a whole day of searching, I unable to locate suitable internet.  Guess I’ll try again tomorrow.

Written by thetyson

October 10, 2008 at 8:23 am