Open savings accounts for your children as soon as they’re born and be religious in saving for them

By Wanambwa M. Rogers

I was talking to a friend the other day and she got to telling about how her work place had started an amazing program of opening up savings accounts for the employees of the company. Basically, it is that each child you bear, you open a savings account for said child and save Ugshs5,000 on this account every week without fail and this is for every child you have.

Now I did a little calculation, and if deposited Ugshs5,000 on an account every day, this makes Ugshs150,000 every month, Ugshs1,800,000 every year. If you are to be religious in this saving, your child will have Ugshs37,800,000 by the time they 21years old and have just graduated from university. This enough to set them up for their first business or investment. The ideal is that you do this for at least two of your children. Best scenario all of them, and of course this depends entirely on your earnings. The savings could be a little lower than this per child, and also less frequent. All in all, the policy is every employee should save something for each child.

Although this concept may be foreign to Ugandans and Africans in general(probably with the exception Libyans), it is a common concept in the Western world. Which is probably why you can see young adults, or even youths affording vacations and trips to third world countries ‘to lend a hand’. We can pick a leaf from them and start saving for the future of our children. As it is, economics 101 shows that in order for their to be growth, there must be savings and investments which in turn spurs growth and consequently development.

The purpose of this article as you have guessed already is to entice you with mesmerizing figures and numbers to get going; but this does not necessarily mean that it is not factual or just a fantasy. As already discussed, other countries like the US and Libya that have tried this have seen it work. Of course, many factors have come in with the passage of time which have dwarfed the advantages of this incredible thing. But as the says, a good parent leaves an inheritance for his children’s children(basically, his grand children). And this is a good way to do that.

Although this should be the norm, only 4.2million youths globally had access to banking financial services with an estimated $186million in credit, $43million in savings, and $1.2million in insurance. The numbers have not improved much in the past decade.

So, one may ask which banks to consult for this and these may include among others, Barclays Uganda’s Junior Savings Account, DTB Uganda’s Kids Winner Account, and Equity Bank Ltd Uganda’s Equity Junior Account.

So, what are you waiting for, go and find out more and open a savings account for your children.

Online Love Letters

By Wanambwa M. Rogers

Have you ever written a love letter? Our generation might as well be the last one to have seen those small chits that would go through a myriad of hands before reaching the intended. Although, because of this courier process, the words that one would have written may have been swapped for something else entirely by an unscrupulous party who also might be having interest in one of the two parties. Or just being a malicious person, sabotaging it just for the thrill of knowing it won’t reach.

But more about that later! So as I’m sitting here in the KIU gardens, I got thinking about love letters; for reasons obvious or not(mostly because I was wondering how this vogue population comes its love). I remembered the one and only love letter I sent a girl, and it was an online love letter. I spent two days writing it up, and after around 10 rough copies, so many deletes, I sent it to her. Well, all I got were laughing emojis and another reply after 10hours saying simply, “nice”.
Suffice to say, that was the last time I talked to her.

Okay, so yes I was petty but let’s be realistic here, she could have at least formed a sentence in response. Let me explain the workings of a love letter. One party, normally the guy, writes, or to phrase it in a better way, pours his heart in a letter using very crafty words, funny sayings, idioms, and proverbs; dedications in form of heart-touching songs like Westlife songs(kids of the 2000’s may not know these guys) and interestingly, this letter was always delivered by another person. A go between. Then, the lady would reply, well sometimes the reply would be a negative. When it was a positive, this is where the fun would be. She would want to out do all his dedications, sayings and idioms. I’m going to let your imagination run wild here.

As I said earlier, there was always a risk of your letter not reaching, as seen in Vinka’s Bigambo but well there the fun lied. The anticipation, the wondering whether she/he would reply. Interestingly, girls got courage to write these letters since the guy would read it away from her. Mhmm, such wonderful days!

Now comes in the Internet and the romance died! No letters, wooing became too artificial and the evening meetings with your lady to woo them ended. Nowadays people date without ever meeting and even break-up without. Interesting world indeed.

The other day, I saw a tweet from someone I follow and she posted handwritten love letters that she used to share with her boyfriend online. They would take pics and send to each other. The novelty of this is to me precious. And, this made me wonder whether we should bring back love letters, well, this time Online Love Letters to be exact.

Fighting colonialism in modern day Africa, the case of Western Sahara

By Wanambwa M. Rogers

Last week Kampala International University’s Guild Union in conjunction with the Pan African Association of KIU held a public lecture with the theme: ‘Colonialism in Africa, the Case of Western Sahara’ where by the chief guest was the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East Africa for Community Affairs, Rt. Hon. Kirunda Kivejinja and the ambassador of Western Sahara to Uganda, H.E Mohammed Bachir. The lecture was hugely attended something that even Rt. Hon. Kirunda commented about considering this was not his first visit to the university.

In order to understand what this lecture was all about, let me first of explain why Western Sahara is considered to be under colonialism and a brief hint on Western Sahara as a country.

Western Sahara is an African country found in the Northern part of Africa with a population of about 610,000 people. It has a land mass of 266,000km², and a mean elevation of 256m above sea level with an arid climate generally.

Western Sahara has a population of about 610,000 people as of 2018, 150,000 of whom are an active labour force. The national language is Standard Arabic although other local dialects are spoken.

It has a GDP of $906.5million, with a GDP per Capita of $2,500 with main economic activities that include nomadic pastoralism(mainly of sheep), phosphate mining(which comprises 62% of their exports) and fishing.

Where does the conflict stem from?
According to H.E Mohammed Bachir, Western Sahara is a disputed territory. A former Spanish colony, it was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Since then, it has been the subject of a long running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Saharawi people led by the Polisario Front founded in 1973. Morocco controls around two thirds of Western Sahara. A 16-year long insurgency ended with a UN brokered truce in September 1991 and the promise of a referendum leading to independence which has yet to take place to date.

Another contentious issue is the speculated oil deposits in the country. Although oil had never been officially found in Western Sahara in commercially significant quantities, Morocco and the Polisario have quarreled over rights and benefits from oil exploration. To see the significance of this oil, the General Consideration of Morocco Morocco Enterprises announced a $609million investment in the region in March 2015. This is 67% of the country’s GDP! What is unfortunate, is that Western Saharawis will not really benefit from this as the deals are with the Moroccan government.

Consider also that in December2013, Morocco and the EU signed a four-year agreement allowing European vessels to fish off the coast of Western Sahara. As of April 2018, Moroccan and EU authorities were negotiating an amendment to renew the agreement. All this without consulting the Western Saharawis. It should be noted that the significance of these fishing grounds cannot be overlooked do example, it is alleged that most of the fish eaten in Spain comes from the offshore waters of Western Sahara.

What is/can be done by Western Sahara and its African counterparts like Uganda?

According to Dr. Mbabazi, a Head of Department at Kampala International University, Western Sahara has several problems which can be solved too. Here’s some of those:

1) The problem of a small population of around 600,000. This can be solved through inter-marriages with Mauritanians, Algerians, Malians among others. This has already been done by countries like Palestine.

2) The Language. Western Saharawis speak Arabic which most Africans do not. Changing to English and French can help them even join the Common Wealth community.

3) Economic Integrations. These can be between itself and West African countries, and even those in Northern Africa. This helps it get allies in these nations to help it even in fighting for its independence.

4) Education. Western Saharawis need to have a world class education system. Also they can liase with other countries like Uganda to get their students into universities in these countries to study courses like Conflict Resolution and Peace and other practical courses like in oil and gas exploration. According to Rt. Hon. Kirunda, “everything has had an intellectual leadership” and this includes the fight for independence in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s in India where he was studying by then and in Africa where he would later join the struggle for independence. Hence educating your population is very important.

5) Oil and Gas exploration and control in companies. Mostly, this is being done by French and US companies. This should be negotiated upon to give a controlling stake to local Saharawis. Also invite Russian and Chinese companies to come into the market and provide a competitive advantage to the locals.

It should be noted that in Uganda, oil and gas exploration had never kicked off officially even though oil was discovered in 1914. Extensions have been made from 1998 to 2014 to 2018 to 2020 and recently to 2022 and all of this is due to the unending bureaucracy involved with these companies.

6) Media reforms and infrastructure development. Western Saharawis, should work on having a national TV and radio and newspaper. This is part of an autonomous nation and it helps show the citizens what the government of the country is doing for them. In essence, it cultivates nationalism in the citizens.

7) IT & Big Data(Technology). In 2019, the value of data surpassed that of oil and gold and as of January 2019, there were 500,000 vacant IT jobs in the world. This number is expected to rise to 1million by end of this year. Technology is basically the new manufacturing industry and Western Saharawis should not miss this chance to catch up with the rest of the world.

In conclusion, I’ll quote Rt. Hon. Kirunda Kivejinja that ‘The art of freedom fighting is a human function’ and hence it is within our mandate and right to fight for Western Sahara’s independence as Africans and especially as Ugandans just as this same courtesy was extended to all African countries I our struggle for independence I the late 20th Century.

If Only You Could See Me

If only you could see me!
I listen to you but I’m dying inside,
We laugh, but I’m crying inside,
I shoulder your problems and mine go unseen,
I encourage you but no one does me,
I give the best advice, yet I receive none,
I don’t even use said advice!

If only you could see me!
Everyday, I drown more,
In my self pity,
In my self vindication,
My hope dwindles,
My light grows weaker.

If only you could see me!
You only see the strength,
You only see the resilience,
You only see the façade,
You only see the barrier,
Even that is weakened each passing day.

I wish you could see me!

By Wanambwa M. Rogers

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