Daniel Kalinaki's weblog

A commentary on news and events in Uganda and elsewhere


Just an ordinary bloke.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Of Good Grades and Bootstrap Pulling Mayors

THE LITTLE FOREST BY THE CITY - This morning, on my Hard Talk show on 933 KFM radio show, I had Kampala Mayor Nasser Ntege Ssebagala aka Seya talking about his life, business and politics. I was impressed. Not by his intellect -- he has never been accused of that -- or by the way he has run the city (down, in case you haven't noticed) but by his tenacity and determination. This is a guy who made a fortune in his early 20s, blew it, went into politics and reinvented himself.

His English is getting better (yes, it was worse than that!) but he clearly knows what he wants and is willing to work for it. Thinking of Seya and his illiterate but smart rise to the top, I was reminded that we -- and I mean Monitor Publications -- have been running what I think is an interesting series that tracks down top students in national exams to see where they are, supplemented by an analysis of the education sector and whether it is producing grades or good people.

We -- yes, still talking about said MPL -- have also just launched a scholarship scheme to sponsor the top 24 PLE students across the country. I went in to speak to the students on Thursday about careers, etc.

These are the 'brightest' kids in the country. None of them had read a newspaper in the previous seven days. None of them had read a book -- any kind of book -- in the last month! None of them knew the meaning of the word 'fugitive'.

Ssebagala, on the other hand, quoted Sir Winston Churchill, referred to Mahatma Gandhi, and drew parallels with Jacob Zuma and his rise to power. Could it be that the more you read the less you know? I am quite frightened, to be honest! I must complete THAT book, THE BLACK SWAN!


Blogger Iwaya said...

I was going to say that Seya reminds me of that crooked american politican Huey Long but at least Long, corrupt though he was, tried to take care of the poor. Try as much as I can, I can never like you bring myself to find any tolerance for the Seya.

Speaking of the best and brightest in our schools, I have agemates who proudly announce to me that they see no point in reading newspapers, or even any kind of non academic reading.

9:47 am  
Blogger Diana said...

Ssebagala quoted Sir Winston Churchill? Hahahaha.
Children don't read anymore, they watch TV all through. But you would think they would have heard the word, fugitive before!!!!

7:42 am  

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