Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | President Yoweri Museveni has directed for the creation of the National Scouts directorate in the ministry of Education and sports for easy planning and monitoring of the scouts and guides affairs.
This after the Uganda Scouts Association petitioned him over the lack of a mother ministry during the closure of the annual national scouts’ camp at Kaazi camping grounds in Busabala, Wakiso district.
Presiding over the closure of the weeklong annual national scouting camp at Kaazi camping grounds in Busabala, Wakiso district Museveni said Scouts being one of nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations it must be under the education ministry to help building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.
“I am going to write officially to the minister of education telling her to make sure that the scouts are under the ministry of education because it is the one with infrastructure all over the country through schools up to the parish level”, said Museveni.
This comes on the heels of a letter written by president Museveni calling for scrapping, downsizing and merging government agencies and authorities to stop wastage of meagre resources.
In a July 17 letter to the Vice President, Prime Minister and cabinet, Museveni complained of mushrooming government agencies which have become a burden to taxpayers.
The Chief Commissioner of the National Scouts of Uganda General Edward Wamala had told the president that the scouts association is grappling with financial challenges due to lack of a budget vote since they are not placed under any ministry.
“We don’t have a budget and we are depending on the small contributions from members and donors. Our members at the secretariat have gone for two years without pay,” stated Gen. Wamala, adding that “We need to operationalise our secretariat.” said Wamala.
Museveni also cautioned a group of people trying to grab the Kaazi camping site land which was given to the scouts in 1932 by Kabaka Daudi Chwa.
He made a donation of 50m towards the improvement of the site and promised that government would undertake a project of fencing off the land to protect it from encroachers.
“We are going to start with fencing off the area so that the land is protected. Some people think that they are very clever but I want to tell them to confess their sins of claiming ownership of the scouts’ land,” said Museveni.
In 2013, the former coordinator of military intelligence services Gen.David Sejusa and 12 others were dragged to court for allegedly grabbing 13.5 acres of the scouts’ land. The others include Hajji Shaft Bossa, Elizabeth Nakandi Ssozi, Fred Ziwa, one Kasujja, Willy Majanja, Norah Kasule, Bonny Salongo Kakumba, Hope Kagonyera, Richard Rutanda and Maureen Kakembo.
Kaazi, located 12km off Entebbe road (branching off at Kibuye) is the practical training ground for the scouts, and has for many years been praised by students and parents as a discipline-instilling ground.
For his part, the vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scouts and chairman of the National union of Muslim scouts as well as vice chancellor of Kampala university Prof.Badru Kateregga ,called upon parents to allow their children join the Scouting and guide Movement as a way as a way of fostering personality development and inculcating a sense of social responsibility into them.
“Joining the scout movement will create a sense of self-confidence and courage into children hence boosting their excellence in academics, leadership and participation in co-curricular activities” said Wamala.
This year’s camp attracted around 4,700 scouts from around the country. The Uganda Scouts Association became a member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1964. The worldwide movement was started by Baden Powell in 1907.