Uganda Peoples Congress

UPC External Bureau Victoria, British Columbia

Vocational Training

A Solution for Unemployment

07 February 2006

It is well known that many Ugandans including very intelligent graduates from the numerous universities around Uganda are unemployed. There are even some whose services are high demand but they sit idly by because opportunities are simply not there for anyone without the right connections. Many are desperate.

The reality is that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for these people unless there is a change in government. If Museveni returns to power, there will be a long period of belligerence with the donors. The system will grind down until even the employed people will wait for months to see a pay check.

The problems with the youth unemployment began during the retrenchment days. The exercise was stages purely to reward NRM cadres. Once the cadres established themselves, nepotism set-in and things went down hill from there. To put the icing on the goodies, the government embarked on the privatization exercise. Here again the cadres were well rewarded. So now wealth is circulating in the few grabby hands. It may turn out to be a fight-till-death affair to remove the nourishing breast of government windfall from these greedy cliques.

The UPC party should develop a strategy for vocational training to get our people back onto their feet. Many people in Kampala, where the land is supposed to be flowing with milk and honey wake up in the morning not knowing where their next meal will come from. Many have to beg for scraps from neighbors to get some nourishment. As some people suffer, the people from Ankole (cattle keepers) have a monopoly on the milk. As for the honey, bees sting, so few can venture and invest successfully to extract it.

We are proud, hard-working and resourceful people. Under the right circumstances, no one should have to beg off relatives and friends to get one meal a day. Vocation training would assist our people to be equipped for the 21st century. No one should be left behind.

In the current situation, more than 20,000 Ugandans are graduating with university degrees annually. These are the lucky ones. An unlucky majority of 300,000 drop-outs at various levels of education. Although the economy is claimed to be growing at the rate of 6&percent; annually, this growth-rate is not being reflected in job creation. Less than 30&percent; of the university graduates and perhaps 10&percent; of the drop-outs actually get permanent employment.

The current NRM government is not capable of reversing these trends. They are confounded by corruption and will most likely just continue doing what they have done before talk about enlightened leadership without showing any results to back them up. Lecturing people about backwardness and generalities of industrialization will not put food on the tables of unemployed people. Serious planning and strategic thinking is required to pull Uganda out of the crap the NRM has buried it in.

Ugandans needs to under-take major training in carpentry, brick-laying, electronics, plumbing, health service administering, social welfare infrastructure development, and engineering and resource management. The training in these areas and the provision of employment must occur concurrently in order to set the stage for the real economic recover which will occur in the 2020s. It will take that long to get our act together.

Just training people and throwing them into the cold streets is not fair. In addition, opportunities should be provided to the people without nepotism or tribalism. Judging by the high rate of unemployment and the selective way the few available jobs are awarded, the NRM has failed to deliver. It is time for a change.

Long live the Uganda workers. Long live Mama Miria Kalule Obote. Long Live UPC.