Twaha Baguma is 25 years old. At this age, he has already experienced a lot. He speaks with nostalgia and tells stories of life’s struggles and places like a 75-year-old diplomat, who made a career traversing the world!
His world has been visiting all villages in Uganda. He knows Moroto town in Karamoja, the way he knows Bushenyi district and Gulu. He knows the biting poverty and the few people who have it all.
Some of the achievements he is proud of are;
The father of one boy, aged four years. Uganda Certificate of Education. a driving permit, Class B, skills in vehicle repair, and mechanics. And above all, the ability to fit in any environment. He says, I have driven all of Uganda and I know the country well. There are people in big offices who make policies and plans for this country, but they love only to travel abroad to benchmark before they visit the Ugandan villages to know the kind of people there.
I love this boy!
He says, “I think may Presidential aspirants have never taken time to first visit every village in this country to understand the conditions on the ground. Such a person cannot have the skills to lead this country because your plans or manifesto, whichever they call it, cannot be realistic.
I can tell you, people are so poor. Tuli kubi muni. Meaning “we are very badly off”. That is why you see the budget they read does not provide for money to help people like us the youth who are just praying the day to end when we are still alive. Our dreams have been reduced to the next meal.”
Here is a brief Q&A I had with him.
Mr. Strategy: What do you know the recent budget which was read by the government?
Twaha Baguma (TB): They increased the price of fuel. It means I will be spending a lot of money to drive the car. I am a taxi driver. High fuel prices make my business expenses. The car is consuming too much fuel. To survive, I have had to increase prices. Now people cannot afford it because money is lost.
This budget was bad. If they want us to survive, let the government lower fuel prices. I thought since Hoima has a lot of oil, we shall be having free fuel. But it seems it has all been a lie.
Mr. Strategy: Have you ever been to the oil refinery? What is there?
TB: Yes, I have been there. I had taken a passenger, a businessman. He was looking for land. The man had come from Mbarara. It was around April 2020.
When I last visited, there were some buildings. The activity has reduced.
Mr. Strategy. How can the government help the youth?
TB: The government can help the youth by providing jobs for those who have qualifications. I see many youths with qualifications, but there are no jobs. But also, the government can put some libraries in villages to open people’s eyes. Instead of just sitting and drinking, having a library stocked with practical books on farming, harnessing power from the wind and small-scale businesses could be a game-changer. There is nothing as important as challenging idle people to explore.
Mr. Strategy. What do you plan to do to win?
I am looking for a better job as a Driver for someone or a company, with a good salary. I have a family in the village. If I got a job paying me about Ugx. 300,000 net, I would work so hard and focused and my employer would be so proud of me.
With such money, I would give in my whole. I drive a taxi but getting just Ugx. 100,000 is very difficult. By the time you reach home, you do not even have the energy to touch your wife. And for me with a young wife, it is a disaster.
Mr. Strategy: What is your message to the reader?
The times were very hard before coronavirus. Now life is even harder. I can tell you; people are struggling.
The hurdles are many. The basic hurdle of finding what to eat is very difficult. Finding what to feed the family, even tougher. When I look where we are heading, being a driver may not help me to achieve my dreams of building a house, owning a car, and helping my brothers and sisters. It is not easy.
I have been saving slowly to raise money to return to school. But it is not easy. Today, you have the money, then the child falls sick. suddenly, what I have been saving for the last six months gets used! You have to start all over again.
It is not easy.
I need help.
I need to go back to school and complete the Advanced level. Then go to University. Then, I can stand a chance of competing.
I have traveled the country and what I have seen is that only people who had the chance to attend University or come to Kampala or do business with people in Kampala are ones who are better.
I need help to go back to school.
Let us help this youth go back to school.
He scored poorly at senior four. But he has reasons for it. He attended Munteme Fatima College school, in the village which makes one’s odds of success very low.
To help Twaha Baguma go back to school, comment below and I will share his contacts. Let’s join hands and get this father of one back to school. The future is for the fighters. He is willing to fight. Driving a taxi, in these COVID-19 times, may not make his dreams come true.
As the Chinese say, “when you lose your way, go back to the starting point.” I think it is time to go back to the starting point. Back to school to complete an advanced level certificate.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.