It’s great that police is working with Uneb, but…

The Observer School magazine editorial of November 16, 2015, applauded the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) for finally managing to work with the Uganda Police Force (UPF).

UPF is now taking an active role in Uneb examinations’ supervision. The force’s spokesperson, Fred Enanga, announced that they had arrested teachers for “assisting candidates with chits or tampering with examinations package contents before the official exam start time.”

In addition, there are school directors and head teachers who were arrested for barring students from sitting exams for reasons that included non-payment of fees. I believe that this is so wrong!

Think about it; how do you go about arresting a teacher or, worse, a head teacher within school and in term time when learners are present? And we all know how UPF goes about its business; whether armed or unarmed, suspects are usually roughed up.

Perhaps one day when things are normalised in this country, police action will be rated the way it is done for films. Children should not have to be exposed to UPF ways!

Take the example of current independent presidential candidate, Joseph Mabirizi, who was forcefully arrested, bundled into a police van and taken to a police station to record a statement. Mabirizi had alleged that unknown people kidnapped him from a local hotel in Busoga despite having police protection.

Okay, Mabirizi is not in ‘pole position’ or anywhere near the front line in the presidential contest. However, in theory, he is a future commander-in-chief of all Uganda’s forces! He told the officers that he would prefer to record his statement later because he had a scheduled political rally in Jinja. Characteristically, the arresting officers would not listen. So, the man was ‘kidnapped’ again!

Strangely this time round, his own guards, assigned to him as a VIP, could only look on!

The Observer School editorial concludes by urging UPF to take further interest in Uneb exams in schools since the institution must certify police recruits. Trouble is, arresting teachers, school heads and presidential candidates in that way is unlikely to endear students, or anyone for that matter, to UPF!

On the good news front, I was invited to the 9th graduation ceremony of the Business Development Centre (BDC) Uganda, held at Serena hotel last week. BDC offers a flagship seminar that promises to develop an entrepreneur in just 14 intensive weeks at a cost of Shs 1.5m.

The institution promises that each graduate will leave with a competitive business plan plus many other attributes of a successful entrepreneur including good ethics, tenacity and other people skills.

Indeed, this was well-demonstrated at the graduation ceremony. Out of the 14 graduates, four outstanding ones were nominated for participation in a ‘Business Presentation Competition’.

Their presentations did not disappoint; they were superb, reflecting their excellent entrepreneurship skills. I must confess that one of them is very well known to me!

First up was Dennis Kasirye, fronting Judy’s Dairy. He was inspired after going hungry and could not find a healthy, filling snack for a late lunch one day.

Consequently, he started producing yoghurt at affordable prices. Total investment so far is Shs 30m but he seeks further investment of Shs 80m. Next was Olga Rwemereza with Smart Electrical Contractors.

She argues that every client deserves to get good services from electricians and is seeking an investment of Shs 130m to further develop the company that was started by her father 20 years ago, although he has, sadly, been dead for 19 years now.

Then there was Haley Baker who is also in the milk business with Pearl of Africa Milk. She is looking for an investment of Shs 75m. The final presentation was by Tracey Ntabazi with Concrete Flooring Solutions that offers to bring out the ‘shine in your floor’.

His company has invested $100,000 (Shs 350m) mostly in costly equipment and now seeks another $400,000 (Shs 1.4bn) to ensure growth. His presentation won the day!

In terms of personal satisfaction, I was close to the clouds! The winner is an old student of Taibah International School where I work. The previous winner of the same competition at the 8th graduation ceremony, Nuba Elamin, is also an old girl of Taibah.

BDC’s administrator, Anita Machayo (her actual title is fancy; ‘Client Partner’), is also an old student! Her boss, the executive director, Moses Engwau, informed me that he is very impressed by her communication skills.

We must be doing something right!

The author is one of the founding Kigo Thinkers

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