Monday, November 06, 2006
What makes Kenya and Uganda similar?
Kenya and Uganda being on the same geographical region full of almost same geographical features like the Rift valley and Equator, the sharing of Lake Victoria and not forgetting some social elements like having same tribes that are found along the border between the two countries like the Teso and the Sebei (Sabaot).

From history we learn that, Kenya and Uganda were all colonized by the British and the two nations got the independence at almost the same time. Uganda became independent in 1962 and Kenya became independent in 1963.

Some of the colonial characteristics that take center in the management of governments today is "North-south divide" which is well known in Uganda. The "North-South divide" gave the south communities roles of agriculture and the north communities to serve as security work force. This divide affected relationships and development of the communities from the two regions up to date. He who became the president concetrated developing the region he comes from.

In Kenya, the story is not different, “North- South divide” has gradually grown roots. A good example is that before and after independence in Kenya, the Northern people in the North Eastern province, North of the Rift Valley and North of Eastern Province communities have never developed. Basic infrastructures like Hospitals, Schools and Roads have never been developed to a fair state. The issue of security to the communities has not been given attention.

The slight difference is that the Kenyan Northern communities suffer from food insecurity. Lack of rain being a major cause, has resulted to less agricultural activities meaning deaths of citizens and livestock continues. In Uganda, food insecurity in the North has been blamed too much on the war by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) that has lasted 20 years. Fear has made the people in the North of the country not to engage themselves on the cultivating their lands.

With a capitalist mentality, privatization has robbed the nation off its assets although some of them were idle. Though Uganda is too fast to privatize all the government corporations to the investors, Kenya is picking up the pace and soon Kenya might be at the same level with Uganda.

Politically, Kenya embraced multiparty politics in early 1990’s to push a side the one party politics since independence. Uganda also has not been left behind with the multi party politics. In 2006, Uganda had it first election in the multiparty system after its collapse in Obote 2 regime. Currently, Kenya is headed by a coalition government, NARC- National Alliance Rainbow Coalition and Uganda is borrowing a leaf of coalition government as a way of defeating NRM- National Alliance Movement, but as we speak today, the opposition desire to initiate a coalition did failed.

Corruption levels have soared in both countries. According to Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of 2006 Uganda is positioned 110 and Kenya is 144. The report states that Kenya misappropriation of funds of public funds was enabled through fraudulent contracts, namely the Anglo-leasing scandal. Shockingly, bribery costs Kenyans about US $ 1billion each year, yet more than half live on less that US $ 2 per day. Uganda also has sunk into the pit of misuse of Global Fund that was to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria leading to suspension of five grants worth 367 million US dollars to Uganda.

The judicial structures in the two countries have tried to see that the perpetrators involved in swindling the funds are brought to book. In Kenya, Kenya Anti- Corruption Commission (KACC) is combat corruption culprits as Inspector General of Government (IGG) does the same in Uganda.

Few weeks events in the Kenya and Uganda have tended to happed simultaneously. Lately October, Kenya University dons went on strike their grievance being “we want pay increase”. This resulted to indefinite closure of the public universities. Here we are and the lecturers in Makerere University are on strike also wanting pay hike. This comes just few days after the lecturers in Kyambogo University did strike also wanting their salaries to be revised upwards.

Last week, front-pages of the Newspapers in the two countries were all similar. In Uganda the PLE, UCE and UACE exams penetrated the black market. The poor schools or parents ended up unlucky to get some ‘leak’ for their candidates or children. The government security agencies like ISO, VCCU, CMI, SIB, and ESO promised to get the culprits as pressure grows that the UNEB boss Mathew Bukenya to be fired. In Kenya, the KCSE exam leakage was more pronounced in the coast province.

The above similarities do not mean that there are no differences. To begin with, our education systems are different. The Uganda’s education system is 7-4-2-3 which reminds Kenyans of the abandoned system before the adoption of the 8-4-4 system. The fact is that the two systems in both countries also have failed to consume the big number of students who qualify at each level.

Lastly, our cultures are different and this makes the two countries enjoy the uniqueness of the divergent cultures and practices. For example, Ugandans has the kingship or Kingdoms amongst the Baganda, Toro, Japadhola, Banyoro which still exist though they are ceremonial, they hold the heritage amongst the Ugandans. In Kenya, cultural practices like circumcision make most of the Kenyan communities very particular. The communities that circumcise men on include the Kalenjin, Maasai, Somalis, Luhya, Kisii and many others.

Remember that the differences and similarities are very important and let us concentrate on what will bring Kenya and Uganda together to achieve our goals.

*Pictures from,,,
posted by ombui at 8:07 AM | Permalink |


  • At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Kenya is enjoying significant economic growth. President Mwai Kibaki’s slogan and appeal for hard work seems to be yielding fruits finally.

    His rallying call has remained 4 years down the road after his election ? a working nation, as he amplified it recently at Uhuru Park, Nairobi during Kenyatta Day celebrations.

    This year economic growth hit a record 5.8 per cent, up from 4.9 per cent last year and the highest for more than a decade. There are predictions that next year will even be better.

    Last year’s performance would have been even higher had it not been for the serious draught and famine that hit the country. Thirty seven out of seventy two districts were affected, with those in the northern part being hit the worst.

    There had been fears of water and power rationing since water levels had reduced so much but fortunately, the government has taken enough precaution and the effects have been largely absorbed without much economic causalities.

    The economy withstood the challenge. The government’s election promise of creating more than half a million jobs per year has almost achieved. More than four hundred thousand jobs were created last year. Most of these, however, were in the informal sector.

    Tourism marked the highest growth of more than 13 per cent. Enormous campaign to market Kenya in the west takes credit for this. Impact of travel ban to East Africa by USA and Britain has finally fizzled out and the sector has recovered tremendously.

    Others include communication 8.3 per cent, building and construction 7.2 per cent, and agriculture and forestry 6.7 per cent .Wholesale and retail trade grew with 6.4 per cent while manufacturing hit a 5 per cent increase.

    Mobile telephony and road transport was among the leading employment sector. There was also a significant growth in jua kali sector.

    In education, more than 200, 000 students enrolled at schools and colleges but teacher numbers decreased by 7300 owing to resignation, sacking or retirement. There has not been sufficient replacement of teachers when they leave the profession.

    Community policing, a joint police and public engagement to eradicate criminals, saw a decline in crime in the past year. The ministry of health was involved in a successful children immunization programme.

    Cost of retro-viral drugs went down and free malaria drugs were availed in government hospitals. Trade with East African countries has also increased, taking more than a half of all the exports to Africa.
    The government reduced borrowing from public.

    This availed more cash to the people since banks could afford loans to more people. Banking and insurance got a boost from this.

    The Kenya revenue authority has been very aggressive in tax collection, gathering more money than ever before.

    This years government budget, is 95 per cent funded by local taxes, and the government will only need 5 per cent supplementary aid from the donors. Taxes for cigarettes have risen, following the ban of tobacco smoking.

    The government prohibited smoking in all public places, including hospitals, learning institutions and public transport.

    The ban has temporarily been put on hold by the High Court, following application by tobacco manufacturing companies.

    They claimed there was no adequate notice given and if the law came to force they would incur huge loses. They asked to be allowed to first dispose off the stock already in their warehouses.

    With the ongoing rains agriculture is bound to do far better this year. Kenya meat commission will be operational this month, with slaughter capacity of more than a thousand cattle a day.

    This is certainly going to provide meat market for cattle keepers who have suffered immensely since its collapse more than fifteen years ago. Revival of Kenya Creameries Co-operative, the giant milk market, lifted the earnings and economy of dairy farmers immensely.

    Prospects of finding oil in the north coastal town of lamu, and the business opportunities that Southern Sudan region provides will attract more investors in the country.

    Some business firms like Kenya Commercial Bank have already started doing business in Sudan. The bank has another branch in Tanzania.

    Kenya has an excess of more than twenty thousand trained teachers. The government has to employ more teachers now especially in primary schools.

    Since the introduction of free primary education, massive pupil enrollment has been realized. But those who cannot be absorbed by the Teachers Service Commission are finding other fertile grounds.

    Mid this year a group left for Rwanda upon request by the Rwandese government. Rwanda has also been importing dairy cows from the country. Uganda has asked for Kenyan Kiswahili teachers.

    Uganda lags behind in the language proficiency. With the three East African countries integrating into a common market, the language plays a very important factor.

    Some more teachers have gone to Southern Sudan, and others as far as Seychelles. Britain Japan and China have also provided market for teachers

  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger Pea

    lovely entry! glad i stopped by... i'm going to fichuzi right now to see if i'll find any more lovely swahili entries.

    speaking of, might not be a bad idea to start a kiswahili blog!

    lovely entry.

  • At 7:24 AM, Blogger eddiie

    How critical you have been...nothing is much differrent...The nest example so far being the Univ thin.....The tribes..the Kjongs in Ug dress just like the Masai...The Northern part of Kenya has virtually similarities......

  • At 8:23 PM, Blogger jkb

    Great analysis. Reminds me how closely alike we all are. Corruption and gross mismanagement all over the world, developed countries included.

    Btw, public enterprises are no longer fiscally feasible to be micro managed by gov'ts. IMO, Privatisation is an evil of necessity.

  • At 4:04 AM, Blogger Haruko

    Omg, very nice entry, all of that are so new for me, I want for a long time get a trip to Africa... Egypt is most nearest that I was xD

    But... this type of entrys are so important to the people that live in the other corner of the world (i mean, for example im chilean), cause is information that we can't get in any place or website, this is the opinion of the people that live there and this culture.

    well, that's all, sorry for my bad english xD