KAMPALA – People that were born in 1962, the year Uganda attained its Independence, say the country’s 57 years of Independence are worth celebrating.
Most of the people that share their age with the country’s independence say despite the challenges the country is facing, they have benefited a lot.
Mr Musa Kabingo, who was born in Kayunga hospital, says that in the last 57 years, the country’s infrastructure has greatly improved. He explains that many roads have been tarmacked, while others have been graded, especially the district roads.
“Because of improved road network, transport costs have gone down a bit because many taxi drivers ply on those good roads,” Mr Kabingo says, adding: “Because of improved feeder roads, farmers in many areas are able to sell their produce because traders can easily reach their areas.”
He adds that in this period the country has discovered many minerals such as oil, which when exploited he says, will increase the country foreign exchange earnings and also offer jobs to many people.
However, Ms Scovia Ssemakula, who was born in Ndeeba, Kampala, says women emancipation is the most important achievement she has realised in the 57 years of the country’s independence.
“Before independence, our role as women was to cook and bear children for our husbands. However, this has changed as we can now also engage in politics, business and other activities that develop our country, which was not the case before independence,” Ms Ssemakula points out.
She also notes that the health sector has greatly improved as the populace can get free medical care from government hospitals.
Mr Livingstone Kyagaba, who was born in Kayunga Town, notes that more learners have been enrolled in both primary and secondary schools, which he says has reduced the illiteracy levels in the country.
“Because of free education in primary and secondary schools, many people who would not afford to pay for education have gone to school under UPE and USE,” Mr Kyagaba says.
He adds that even school infrastructure has improved during this period as many schools have benefited under the School Facilities Grant programme.
Mr Kyagaba also says many urban centres have cropped up, which he says is a sign of development as many people can get employment in these urban centres.
“Many town councils have been elevated to municipality status, which is a sign of development,” Mr Kyagaba notes.
He also says that even though the country has not attained the desired democracy levels, there are signs that the country is somehow democratic. This, he says, manifests in regular free and fair elections.
“We can now elect our own leaders every five years,” he says.
Ms Monica Namukabi, an educationist, says liberalisation of the education sector, has led to competition, which she says leads to better education standards.
“Initially, there were only schools started by missionaries but now we have many schools, from which people can choose from,” Ms Namukabi says.
Despite these achievements, Mr Kyagaba says the health sector is still dogged by inadequate medical workers and supplies, which he says needs to be addressed.
“Each constituency should have an ambulance, to easily and quickly transport patients to district hospitals,” he says.