By Alexander Kinyera
Between 1862 and 1900, the population of the territory we now call Uganda was just over 2 million people. After attaining Independence from the British, Uganda's population would, by 1971 when Idi ousted Obote, grow to 9.7 million people. At no point has population growth slowed significantly and by the time Ugandan exile groups, most prominent of which were Kikoosi Malum and FRONASA, aided by Tanzania Peoples' Defense Forces (TPDF), overthrew Idi on April 11 1979, Uganda's population stood at nearly 12 million people. Today, going by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimates, there are atleast 43.7 million of us. Many reasons have been advanced to explain th
is growth. Some of these are better health care leading to a decline in the death rate arising from what were caller the 7 killer diseases. No wonder, no less than H.E. President Museveni refers to the below 30s aged Ugandans as "Immunised Bazzukulu". But our population increase is also on account of peace and security of “person and property” as well as on account of more citizens joining the modern money economy (economic development). A guarantee of peace and security across the whole Uganda has meant that the levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) into the country have increased and with their increase, many more Ugandans now have opportunity at employment and wages.
Employment and wages give rise to an urban way of life - affluence or a semblance of it. Alongside provision of modern medicines to combat most tropical and viral diseases in all our hospitals and health centres, it is these that factors have led to an increase in population to what it is now. However, Uganda also has the world’s youngest population. 78 percent of us are below the age of 30. Of these, just under 8 million youth are aged 15-30 making Uganda. The vast majority of these are unemployed.
To address this challenge of unemployment - as well as tackle the nearly 3.5 million households still in the subsistence sector, the government has come up with a number of interventions. These interventions include the Parish Development Model and the Emyooga program. The Parish Development Model specifically looks at causing socio-economic transformation by transforming those households in every one of our 7,553 parishes which still practice subsistence agriculture into practicing commercial agriculture.
To do this, the PDM encourages creation of special enterprise groups at the Parish. Because most family landholdings in Uganda average 4 acres, with the guidance of H.E. President Museveni, the 4 acre model which encourages intensive commercial agriculture has been developed. The transformation of the entire agricultural sector to become commercial (including agricultural based industry, provision of Veterniary services, ICTs and trade) can create nearly 15 million jobs between now and 2026.
This is why when H.E. President Museveni addressed Members of Parliament last week, he insisted that the Parish Development Model must work. He warned that indeed “The wanainchi in Acholi sub-region told me of the parasites that were like flies swarming around the Parish Development Model and Emyooga money.” Today I pray that each one of us, big or small, will join the fight against these “parasites.” We should not tolerate the lethargy of corruption by these technocrats in government ministries and departments. But as we combat the “parasites”, it is also important that we begin to work towards adopting the culture of family planning. High population growth rate usually negates economic growth.
Once we do this, then I see no reason why we all can not look forward to the beauty that is tomorrow’s Uganda. This is the promise of the Parish Development Model.
The Writer is a manager of the Digital Media Unit at the Ministry of ICT& NG, and a Student of #Musevenomics @Wodngoo1