Rap music gets real exciting to listen to when diss songs between rival rappers are thrown back and forth.
Some of the best rap songs in Uganda have been diss songs; to wit-Atlas the African’s-Jealous Bi*tches and Babaluku’s-“Straight spit”.
Rappers are wordsmiths so needless to say, a real serious rap beef will escalate into a war of words.
Diss songs in rap are songs that deride the authenticity, flamboyance, charisma and lyrical ability of a rival rapper. In the world of hip hop, originality is treasured and any forms of mediocrity in one’s word play or lyricism are frowned upon.
In the years of old, principally around the mid 80’s and mid 90’s, rap fans across the globe waited for rap beef songs, like 2pac’s “Hit em Up”, Ice Cube’s “No Vaseline” and Nas “Ether” with an almost hysterical sense of eagerness, akin to the Stella Nyanzi fans penchant for her insolent posts in the aftermath of her suspension from Makerere.
To boot; most of olden days rap beef songs were replete with petulant and sometimes humorous punch lines, poetics, threats and diatribes, just like Nyanzi’s posts.
Infamous as some of the diss songs were, they had great massive appeal and pushed sales units for 2pac, Ice Cube and Nas; just like Nyanzi’s posts gained her likes and followers.
The songs drew forth interest in hip hop and that was at a time when the fundamentals of the genre were starting to be compromised.
Increasingly the lyrical template for rappers at the time had become money, cars, women and clothes; subject matter that, in many ways, ran counter to the original template for rappers, which was addressing society’s ills.
The only anticlimax after the release of 2pac’s “Hit em up” record in particular was that 2pac and Biggie Smalls, both undeservingly lost their lives.
2pac had accused Biggie and his posse of trying to kill him in a robbery in New York’s Quad studios.
2pac released hit me up in the aftermath of the robbery, in which he was shot 5 times.
Despite that dark chapter in rap history, rap beefs continued but mostly for the entertainment value.
Threats were thrown back and forth but nothing out of the ordinary happened. The beefs stayed on wax (on the records).
In Uganda, most rappers with bones of contention have chosen the subliminal way (indirect) when they make diss records, aimed at perceived rivals.
In a subliminal diss song, a rapper hardly name drops his rivals but when you listen close to the rhymes, there are broad hints of who is in his cross hairs.
Classic example has been Atlas the African with his numerous diss records aimed at Navio and his posse of the Mith and J.B.
The reasons that beef sparked off are still unclear but word from the grapevine was that Atlas felt he was not being given enough props (read Hip Hop for respect).
“Atlas was by then still relatively unknown in Uganda’s rap industry. He had created a buzz for himself with songs like “My Swag” and “Wait and See” but at length, he felt he had a bone to pick with the Navio camp and that is when he started releasing songs like illuminated,” Gideon Kibuka, a Hip Hop producer, tells Masaabachronicle.
In “illuminated” Atlas goes at Navio with ferocity; amongst other things, intimating that Navio is a comic who should be rapping at the comedy nights that used to be held at Effendy’s.
He also called out Navio for agreeing to appear on a child Molester’s song. The child Molester being R.Kelly and the song referenced was-“Hands across the world”.
Needless to say, R.Kelly has been accused of being a sexual predator.
The word play that Atlas displayed in “illuminated was replay worthy and exciting. The song created quite a buzz for Atlas among some Ugandan rap fans especially the ones that always felt that Navio was over rated.
To the consternation of Navio fans, he did not release a rejoinder diss song.
A Navio response at that time would have fanned the flame that Atlas had sparked and would have given him chance to showcase his rap battling skills; which skills, Navio himself has said won him laurels in one of South Africa’s toughest rap battle events.
He lost that opportunity and needless to say, his detractors swung into action, saying he is not as lyrical as he thinks he is.
Atlas did not rest on his laurels after the “illuminated” record.
After a fight, reportedly at one of Kampala’s bubbling night spots, with J.B of Klear Kut, he went to the booth and released more verbal venom in a song, he called-J.B or “Jealous Bi*tch”.
Notice how he disparagingly played pan with the J.B initials.
“Fans who thought the J.B song was only aimed at J.B were mistaken as Atlas, as well threw verbal jabs at the Mith and Navio in the second and third verse. For a rap fiend like myself, that song manifested one thing, which was that Atlas is no joke lyrically,” Gladys Kituyi, an entertainment blogger, says.
Atlas went on to release other subliminal diss songs that did not get responses like “You got nothing on me,” and the more recent in “they still hating”
In “they still hating” Atlas again goes hard at Navio.
“If Navio or his crew had responded, it would have created a major buzz for Ugandan Hip Hop but they took a back seat; though some inside scoop had it that Navio had actually recorded rebuttal songs, but rap fans have never heard them,” Kibuka opines.
The Luga flow world has also seen its fair share of beefs.
Beefs that have brought out some phenomenal lyrical poetics and word play from the genre’s best.
Some that stand out include Babaluku’s “Straight Spit” where he lyrically annihilates the Lugaflow duo-Sylvester and Abrams.
In the song, Babaluku attacked Sylvester and Abrams as being run of the mill and calls them out for trying to trash his legacy as the pioneer of Lugaflow.
At the time, Babaluku was on a roll and “Straight Spit” cemented his place as one of the best, if not the best Lugaflow lyricist in Kampala.
As vicious and disparagingly as the song was, it did not get a rejoinder.
“It might have played into the hands of Sylvester and Abrams had they responded but it would have been a tough call for them to pit their wits against a talented rapper of Babaluku’s caliber. The subsequent subliminal diss song-“Twakugudemu” by Abrams, only released about a year ago was not strong enough lyrically and interms of delivery as well,” Ronald Odongo, a seasoned Blogger says.
Babaluku has not only been enmeshed in rap beef with Sylvester and Abrams. It is common knowledge that there is no love lost between him and Navio and his crew.
The most recent subliminal diss record from Babaluku was “Batulidewo” where he and Saba Saba-his cohort from the Bataka Squad fire off lyrical shots at any naysayers.
The other prominent Lugaflow beef has pitted new comer-St Nellysade against an old timer and veteran wordsmith in Mulekwa.
Rumours of beef between the two started doing the rounds after Mulekwa released “Abanno Bano” a diss track aimed at Nellysade.
In the song, he accuses Nellysade of jacking his style-literally meaning he stole his rap style.
Nellysade, as you can reckon, has not responded.
GNL, for his part, has also thrown off several subliminals at his competition but the braggadocio and hyperbole embedded in his verses at times makes it hard to make out who he is dissing.
Fans however easily discerned who his intended target was in the captivating songs-“Ceasar” and “Tebangatika”.
Gravity was in his cross hairs. No response has been heard from Gravity, thus far.
Other prominent Ug M.C’s that have been embroiled in beefs include Foeva emcee and Baboon Forest’s Tommy Race.
Code and Tucker H.D.
A BRIEF ON RAP BEEFS
Rap song beefs are as old as the Hip Hop genre itself.
(Hip Hop was started in the early 70’s in New York).
The first prominent rap beef saw rap legends Krs One and Mc Shan squaring off.
The two protagonists dueled over whose neighborhood was the best and who was the best lyrically. In the end, Krs One from the Bronx-New York came out on top. Shan was from the Queensbridge area of New York.
At 56, Uganda has come a long way.
It is a country far removed from its atrocity ridden past.
[The country recently celebrated its 56th independence anniversary]
For the past 3 decades, Uganda, in many respects, has experienced upward trajectories of growth, though its overall potential, across the board, remains unrealized.
Many of the country's leading political analysts contend that the upward growth will continue provided Uganda stays on a political straight and narrow, devoid of political violence.
“At 56, opportunities for national and individual growth in Uganda abound,” Vincent Okwalinga, a Political scientist, says.
“There is however still a lot of leeway to be made up. Uganda is a country with a lot of potential and that potential will only be harnessed effectively if vices like corruption are dispensed with."
“Recent incidents of political violence and the cold blooded murders of prominent Ugandans have raised the spectre of insecurity. Any semblance of insecurity will have an adverse knock on effect on our tourism industry, an industry, which is still by far, the nation’s leading foreign exchange earner,” Robert Wamukota, a seasoned Political scientist and opinion leader in Mbale, told Masaaba chronicle.
Notwithstanding, recent reports like the 2018 Africa Risk Reward Index have cast Uganda in good light.
Uganda is cited as one of sub saharan Africa's strongest performing economies.
The report indicates that ongoing national infrastructural projects and other developments in the country would not be possible if there was political instability.
Uganda’s risk profile Index has also reduced significantly, through the years.
This denotes more visitors for the country.
According to the Inform global risk index, Uganda’s risk index is now 6.0.
Inform is a global, open source risk assessment for humanitarian crises and disasters.
That said, analysts say the voices of Ugandans disillusioned with the status quo should not be ignored.
“Ugandans intent on changing the status quo should however steer clear of putting false constructions on the country’s political and economic situation. That as a means to an end is counterproductive,” Wamukota argues.
“It is incumbent upon the government however to address the grievances of all Ugandans.
In many areas of the country, tangible evidence of progress for many citizens remains elusive.”
Analysts state that tourism as a sector will most likely bear the heaviest brunt should the country’s image continue to be tarnished.
At present, the sector contributes 10% to Uganda’s GDP.
“Recent projections by the Minister of Finance that Uganda will in the near future receive 4million visitors annually will only come to pass if the country enhances its tourism industry competiveness and markets itself better abroad,” Okwalinga argues.
Uganda currently gets 1.3 million visitors annually.
The most recent high profile visitors being the African American Hip Hop artist-Kanye West and his wife-Kim Kardashian.
“Uganda needs to invest more resources in its tourism sector,” opines Amos Wekesa, the proprietor of Great Lakes Safaris, Limited.
“Regionally, Uganda is lagging behind yet with 10 unique national parks, principally world heritage sites such as Bwindi, Mgahinga and the Rwenzori mystic mountains, Uganda should be one of the top tourist destinations in East Africa. More also needs to done to improve on tourist infrastructure.”
Uganda is one of the best places to track mountain gorillas.
At present, Uganda is home to half of all mountain Gorillas in the world. 480 out of 880, to be precise.
The economic value of gorilla tourism in Uganda is estimated at up to $34.3million.
The need to promote the country’s tourist sector was again re-emphasized by President Museveni on the [30th September], whilst passing out game rangers in Nwoya district.
The President noted that Uganda can earn more tourist foreign exchange if it efficiently promotes and markets its tourist potential.
Currently, Uganda spends far less on tourism marketing compared to her regional neighbors, yet the second national development plan lists it as a priority sector that will if harnessed well have a great multiplier effect on the country’s economy.
Kenya spends $3.37 on promoting and sustaining its new tourism markets.
Rwanda on the other hand, spends $40million on its tourism advertisement campaigns.
“Marshaled well, Uganda’s cultural and heritage tourism sector represents a potential major area of growth. There are heritage sites around the country, which are in many ways still tourist virgin territory or which have not been developed enough to attract visitors,” John Kityo, a travel and tourist, expert, says.
“Take for example, the Namugongo shrine, the Rwenzori cultural trail and the Mutoto Cultural grounds in Mbale, where the inauguration of the revered Imbalu custom takes place.
Mutoto which attracts up to 1000 foreign visitors biennially is devoid of an Imbalu paraphernalia museum, yet, to all intents and purposes, it should have one.
Construction of a museum at the site has been long overdue.
There are several other cultural and heritage sites in the country which can stand the country in a good stead financially.
“Uganda has 600 years of kingdoms and over 40 different indigenous ethnic groups, who immense themselves in a variety of cultural norms and customs. These can all be of financial benefit to the nation.
Now is the time to amplify efforts to market Uganda as a worthwhile tourist destination. It could be a grain of mustard seed for the country,” Kityo says.
One of Uganda’s greatest tourist secrets are the white sands of Ssese Island on Lake Victoria.
The white sands, the uncrowded beaches and the tranquility of the place create a never ending honeymoon experience.
On Lake Victoria as well, there is the picturesque Equator Island-Lwaji Island. The equator runs through Lwaji and Damba islands.
The two archipelagos are diamonds in the rough. They are marvels of nature, with plenty of bird life.
By all accounts, Uganda is home to over 10% of the world’s birds and 50% of Africa’s birds-home to 1,072 different species including some of the rarest birds.
Some of these can be found on Equator Island.
Jinja, the adventure capital of Uganda-Jinja deserves more promotion and marketing as a leisure travel tourist destination.
Jinja’s overall tourist potential remains unrealized.
With more advertising Jinja, the source of the world’s longest river-6,853km [4,258 miles] will get more visitors.
Whilst in Jinja, visitors can enjoy bungee jumping, quad biking and safe whitewater rafting and kayaking.
“Chill with all that palaver about good looks,” a friend once quipped as we shot the breeze, one weekend in one of Kampala’s nice and quiet hang out places.
A couple of young nice looking females were parleying in our midst.
“Iam for brains over beauty. In propositioning to a lady, I go slow to gauge if she is intellectually worthwhile to speak to or not,” he closed out.
In my reverie at home, after, I thought about what he had said.
At length, I figured writing something on it, would not be a bad idea after all. I did some online searches and came across information that seemed to connect with what he was saying.
There is a world out there where brains hold sway over beauty; a world where real people, yes real people looking for people to date, look beyond skin deep beauty as their foremost dating attribute.
That world, which has of recent, being christened the Sapiosexual world, is a world where people are attracted to someone of the opposite sex on account of their brain power or call it their intellect.
In the sapiosexual world, it is only your smarts that will get you into a prospective lover’s good graces and get you laid for good measure. Sapiosexuality is not an indelicate sexual orientation; so, trust me moralists like Father Lokodo will lose no sleep.
In this tough economy, everyone deserves a partner who is intellectually stimulating. This is an economy that requires people who sets their wits to work.
For the sapiosexual, intellect is like a drug; something close to that mulondo [a local aphrodisiac] or coffee beans, that Baganda men chew on, supposedly to gain virility.
Do we have sapiosexuals in Kampala; you can bet your last dollar we do; though some are not aware, they are.
Seanice Kacungira formerly of the Sanyu F.M, morning show personified the kind of intellect; many sapiosexual males would be enamored with.
While it may sound subjective, the fact is that, Kacungira was in a class of her own when it came to smarts.
It is a no brainer that she eventually got into some people’s good graces, people who love intellectual discourse ofcourse.
On that Sanyu radio morning show, she was always on her mettle, giving clever and insightful articulations on varied issues.
I call to mind some years ago, when she was in a heated and lively debate on the virtues of marriage with Fat Boy.
That day, she was on her A game, setting her wits to work impressively against an obstinate Fat boy who needless to say was playing devil’s advocate, desperately finding fault with the institution of marriage.
At length, the crescendo of calls supporting Seanice’s position spelt she had struck a more meaningful chord with listeners.
Fat Boy who worked with Kacungira and who many view as a maverick notes that a woman’s intellect has no direct bearing on whether or not he will find her sexually attractive.
“I don’t think women are attracted to intelligent men for their intelligence per se. They are drawn to intelligent men because it is assumed that there is potentially money (whether at present or in the future) or status associated with that intellect (sometimes both). If you’re a nerd quietly collecting your degrees and keeping to yourself no woman will be interested in you,” he opines.
Fat Boy adds that most women who are interested in men try to hide their intelligence as much as possible because they know that in the subconscious minds of most men, intelligence in women is associated with belligerence and independence.
“Women generally don't give a damn about a man’s intellect, outside of potential resource provision capacity or status associated with it. Women like socially dominant males i.e. Alpha Males. If you try to use philosophical discussions on abstract concepts and ideas to get into lady good graces, sadly you only alienate them, even the so called–intelligent ones. Whenever I meet women that say they are attracted to me because of my ‘intellect’, I notice they never attempt to engage me in any intellectual discussion over my specific views or ideas. In order to enjoy that intellect – rather, they’re usually more interested to know how I feel about being listened to by many people, what it feels like to be ‘so controversial’ (i.e. to be attracting a lot of attention because of the things I say), or something along those lines.”
In their own right, the likes of Timothy Kalyegira, Morrison Rwakakamba, Cissy Kagaba, Nobert Mao have sapiosexual appeal and that is due to the intelligence they personify. Not saying they are sapiosexuals but in many ways, they fit the bill.
A world where your quick wits and smarts resonate and endear you to people of the opposite sex would surely make younger Ugandans more vibrant, creative and unique.
It would break a certain mould in our society, where we sadly settle for the less than consequential virtues as we look for people to date or to make our significant others.
Over the past two and a half decades, Uganda has made remarkable inroads in promoting gender parity in its education system.
The parity was achieved in 2009 [50% boys and 50% girls enrolled].
Education policy analysts however argue that there has been a disproportionate trajectory to the index in recent years as more girls have enrolled, survived and finished school than boys.
The status quo now is that the girl child enjoys better education attainment outcomes than the boy child.
To that end, experts argue that more efforts should go into supporting measures aimed at engendering higher education enrolment, retention and attainment for the boy child.
The gender parity index at pre-primary in 2016 for example stood at 1.02, showing a disparity in favour of girls.
The survival rate to P.7 in 2016 was 31.7% for boys and 32.3%.
The Primary completion rates in 2016 stood at 59.7% for boys and 63.4% for girls.
Recent statistics from the Ministry of Education and Sports showed that 44.2% of learners who had left school before sitting their PLE exams were boys.
Reuben Wanasolo, an education consultant and researcher, told Masaabachronicle that there is still a lot of leeway to be made up to improve the education attainment of the boy child.
"At present, there are generally fewer regions in the country where more boys attend school than girls. In regions such as Karamoja, Lango, Toro and Bugisu and in some sections of Teso, there are still enrolment gender gaps. Boys lower education attainment in these regions is linked to lower socio-economic factors such as poverty and regressive cultures,” Wanasolo said.
“There is a need for a national policy or strategy that tackles barriers to boy’s attainment. Because of amongst other factors; the unequal quality of education, lack of interest, lack of mentors, poor academic performance and compelled obligations to work, young boys in many parts of the country, drop out of school.”
Scholars writing in the 2018 UNESCO Global education monitoring report note that addressing boys disadvantage in education is transformative in promoting gender equality, reducing violence and protecting youth from risk factors that could distort their futures.
“Improving male educational outcomes will not only promote equal gender relations within households; it will demystify the notion that the government is practicing reverse discrimination by only fronting the girl child education agenda,” notes Wilfred Onoria, an education consultant.
Improving male educational outcomes means less male discriminatory views towards women [Barker et al 2011].
That, notwithstanding; the inroads made in girl’s school enrolment, retention and completion, through the years, have put Uganda on the right lane as the country sets its sights on achieving the universal completion of secondary education by 2030.
Ostensibly, enrolment for girls in secondary schools increased to 47% in 2014 from 46% in 2008, whilst total enrolment into tertiary education for females increased from 38% in 2002 to 44% in 2014.
In 2016, the female enrolment percentage at pre-primary stood at 13.24%, contrasted to a 12.74% for boys, according to a UNESCO Sustainable goal on Education and Literacy report.
The report shows that between 2012-2016, the gross enrolment ratio of girls into Ugandan schools shot up.
In the preceding year, the gross enrolment ratio for females at primary level stood at 99.02, contrasted to 97.02 for boys.
According to the Ministry of Education and Sports fact sheet 2002-2016, the percentage of girls to total enrolment in 2016 stood at 47.5%.
According to projections from the Education Policy and Data Center [an international resource for global education data, analysis and custom research], Uganda would by 2018 have a primary school girl’s intake rate of 136%.
The center also reckons that by 2018 the country’s primary completion rate for females would stand at 53%.
In 2017, the Promoting Equality in African Schools [PEAS] scheme run under the Private Public Partnership also registered successes.
The percentage of girls enrolling for O’level in PEAS stood at 57%, compared to 43 and 49% in private and public schools respectively.
[The Promoting Equality in African Schools [PEAS] program runs affordable and quality secondary schools in Malawi and Uganda].
The female gross enrolment in 2016 for pre primary stood at 13.24% and 12.74% for boys, according to UNESCO statistics.
Policies that have enabled the inroads
Experts acknowledge that most of the in-roads have been down to gender responsive policies, the Ministry of Education and Sports has marshaled and enforced through the years such as the National Strategy for Girls education [developed 15 years ago] and the Gender in Education Policy.
The Strategy for Girls education; which in the years, following 2004 was revised, essentially laid out approaches to achieving the goal of narrowing the gender gap in education particularly through promoting girls’ education, as a form of affirmative action.
It was developed in line with the Government White Paper on Education 1992, the 1995 Constitution and the Education Sector Investment Plan of 1997-2003.
The Gender in Education policy on the other hand was drawn up in line with the Ugandan constitution Articles 30, 33, 34 and 35.
The Articles enshrine the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities; in particular the right to education [Article 20].
“Gender equality in or through education is central to Uganda’s interests especially as the country strives to meet its 2030 Agenda for sustainable development or Sustainable Development Goals targets, specifically goal 4,” Doreen Ankunda, the District Education Officer, Lwengo district says.
“By 2030, Uganda has to ensure that all boys and girls complete free equitable and quality primary and secondary education.
As regards that, Uganda is on the right path. With the learning inequalities in the various regions of the country however, it is hard to see how Uganda will ensure that all its learners acquire basic skills like mathematics, writing and reading as one of the routes to prepare them for further learning,” Onoria says.
Sustainable Development goal 4 recognizes gender equality as a guiding principle linked to the realization of the right to education.
It also clearly states that girls and boys, women and men must be equally empowered in and through education.
“Since the introduction of UPE 20 years ago and Universal Secondary Education, 12 years ago, the gender composition, specifically the numbers of girl learners enrolling in schools has gone up across all levels,” Rosette Nanyanzi, a Research Officer in the Gender Unit at the Directorate of Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports, says.
“It does obviously speak to the success of government initiatives, premised on making education more gender sensitive and tackling the obstacles women faced in the past in accessing education.”
“For a country where 45% of girls aged 20-24 years are married off before the age of 18, the strides made are encouraging. The ministry of Education and Sports however has its work cut if it is to improve other outcomes such as girl retention, literacy and performance in the poor areas of the country,” Onoria says.
In the rural North and some parts of the East, for example, the education of the girl child is still largely hindered by negative community norms.
Child marriage is an impediment to girl child education.
School enrolment in those areas has not always guaranteed completion as young disadvantaged girls are invariably married off early by their parents.
Many girls in the rural areas as well are at a risk of sexual assaults and rape when they walk long distances to school.
“The trigger is invariably poverty. If girls are to complete education in those areas, specifically the North, backward cultural norms principally those that have seen many young girls get married off under duress must be broken. There should be more sensitization against child marriages in communities where the practice is rife. There should also be tough legal sanctions against proponents of child marriage,” Wanasolo says.
The Silver lining
Nanyanzi reveals that the Ministry has come up with interventionist programmes that seek to reintegrate teenage mothers into school.
“There is a review of the gender in education polices to integrate the re-entry of child mothers back into school. Teenage pregnancies are some of the reasons, we have high dropout rates. Besides that, there are programs running focused on encouraging more female learners into BTVET [Business, Technical and Vocational Education and Training] institutions where there are still gender disparities.”
There are also on-going programs seeking to end violence against girls and to manage menstruation. In Karamoja currently, there is a program mentoring young primary learners in Karamoja on science and mathematics.”
Researchers agree that the other key variable keeping rural young girls from transitioning to secondary school or keeping in school are high fees.
“The high cost of schooling means that most poor rural households with both girls and boys face problems in keeping their children in school.
UPE and USE schemes do not cover all the education costs of learners,”
Scholars Pauline Rose and Benjamin Alcott in a 2015 report entitled “How can education systems become equitable by 2030” noted that only 15% of girls from poor households achieve learning basics compared to 19% of boys from rural households.
The scholars wrote that learning levels are low among children from poor households.
Call for government interventions
Juliet Nansubuga, a teacher at Gayaza High School, one of Uganda’s oldest schools says in the Ugandan context, boys especially those living in lower income settings will remain at a disadvantage in education attainment, unless there are proper government interventions.
“Young men in low income settings are getting wasted in unimaginable ways. They need good role models and those good models are not easy to comeby. Those areas are replete with men who dropped out of school eking out a living engaging in illicit activity, mugs games and on occasion doing odd jobs. Being a product of such an environment means you are most likely to follow suit,” Nansubuga says.
Kunikina Moses, head teacher of Dream Africa school, Jinja says whilst there has been progress in reducing gender parity in education, in recent years, the education attainment scale has tipped more in the direction of girls.
“In Masaba land where I come from, young men drop out of school at leisure. Year in, year out, the ratio of girls to boy’s enrollment in school gets disproportionately wider but the issue never gets addressed. More girls are enrolling as boys drop out to supposedly establish homes after Imbalu [traditional circumcision] and to do odd jobs. Young boys are told after Imbalu to establish homes. Such practices have to be brought to a halt,” Kunikina says.
Kunikina adds that besides training traditional Imbalu surgeons in sterilizing their knives, the Mbale district Health officials should also prevail upon them to encourage the young men they circumcise to stay in school.
Fred Omagor, a father of 3 in Soroti says disciplinary practices like banning class entry, suspension and expulsions for simple offenses like arriving late have a negative impact on the motivation of boys attend and complete school.
“Eventually they end up attending school only sporadically and in due course, they leave permanently.”
Onoria says the onus is on the government to stop the easy entry of young men into the odd job labour market should be stopped.
“There are a lot of young men unwisely dropping out of school and taking on odd jobs in Kampala and other urban areas. Most of these young men could be a huge resource for the country but they are being let to dissipate their energies in unrewarding ventures. Tough measures must be put in place by the government to halt the trend.”
“The onus is on the government to target its efforts on improving communication with parents in low income areas of the country. Engaging communities, parents and encouraging them to send and keep their children in school by providing stipends to offset direct school costs, such as uniforms and books can be a worthwhile measure that can bring about sustainable change. It has worked in countries like Nicaragua, Jamaica, Malawi and a select other African countries,” Nansubuga says.
On top of that, the government can look at lowering the cost of schooling in low income areas.
In the course of time, it can improve enrollment and attainment rates, because high costs of education are part of the reason, boys drop out of school.