Ugandan dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni. Photo: Facebook.
[My Free Thoughts]
Last weekend I took a trip to the Eastern part of the Uganda.
I saw what has been seen by our leaders who have not demanded immediate intervention; an entire generation of our children is being plunged into the bottomless abyss of illiteracy and ignorance. I saw a docile wasted generation of young defenseless victims of Gen. Museveni’s warped COVID-19 directives loitering about and dwindling in hopelessness.
It is an undeniable fact that the coronavirus pandemic has heavily affected all groups of people but no group has felt the excruciating impact more than adolescent girls in Uganda. A single district like Luuka has reported nearly 1,000 teenage pregnancies ever since the lockdown was declared. Young girls are idle at home and being preyed upon by predators of all sorts.
If we were to add results from all the districts of the country, we would find that more than 80% of school girls in the whole country will not be going back to school due to pregnancies. A total of 354,736 teenage pregnancies were registered in 2020, and 196,499 in the first six months of 2021.
City centers along all the major streets, to the roads that wound through the suburbs, are filled with young school-age children ranging in ages from seven to 16. They are vending masks, handkerchiefs, fruits, roasted maize, fried edible grasshoppers, and many other goodies that travelers in both public and private transport purchase.
When you go past Mukono, you will find very many young girls and boys who should be in school, selling similar goods. These children spend the entire day under the scorching sun selling bottled water, energy drinks, roast plantain, soda, bananas, and cassava to passengers through the windows. I don’t think these young boys and girls will ever want to go back to school even if they reopen in January 2022 as suggested by Ugandan dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni.
Some of the young girls have already given birth twice ever since schools were closed two years ago. Boys have moved to the towns and cities to look for survival—escaping the harsh living conditions in their homes. Others have gotten married, or been married off.
These are the outcomes of Gen. Museveni’s despicable decision to keep schools closed even when the country had attained low positive test rates.
The youth are defenseless victims of stupid decisions of one man advised by incompetent greedy elite whose members milk the Covid pandemic without thinking about the future of Uganda’s children. Meanwhile, their own children are educated Uganda or have private tutors who come to their gated homes to offer them education.
Village health facilities are always overwhelmed by many women and young girls lining up for antenatal care.
In this era of Covid, when the best minds are needed to create national plans that balance safety, the need to educate our children, while saving them from predators, why is one autocrat making all decisions?
An uneducated and wasted generation of the youth are easy to rule and less likely to challenge Gen. Museveni, dictator of 35 years.
The dictator would have it no other way.
Columnist Kakwenza, an International PEN honoree, is a survivor of dictator Museveni’s torture chambers.