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Dr. Ian Clarke on the ills Makindye

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Dr. Ian Clarke on the ills Makindye

Makindye Division Mayor Dr. Ian Clarke

Dr. Ian Clarke burst onto the political scene four years ago amid a wave of pomp and great expectations from Ugandans more so the people of Makindye division in Kampala, Dr. Clarke was often photographed leading poor residents of Namuwongo in sanitation drives. Given his Irish background and past achievements in the public health sphere especially his impressive work in Kiwoko hospital in Luwero district coupled with his impressive Kampala International Hospital, a lot of people thought he would bring his winning tricks into political administration.

Alas. Dr. Clarke’s star has generally deemed over the past three years as the first Mzungu politician in as many years thanks in part to the highly publicized squabbles between Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director Jennifer Musisi and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago as well as to poor funding from the city authority.

To date, many parts of Makindye are still troubled by high levels of crime, prostitution, poor sanitation, squalid housing conditions, poor roads networks – generally the same conditions Ian Clarke inherited.

Having been at the political helm of Makindye, Dr. Clarke argues that most of his area’s woes are complex but many are rooted in widespread unemployment, shortage of health facilities, poor uptake of family planning methods and poor education choices.

“One of the greatest challenges facing Makindye is unemployment and this has been cited among most residents. This is very dangerous to society. Some of the youth are not that educated but even many of those that have acquired education, are unemployed. This means, those who went to school did not take proper decisions when taking their course at a higher levels of education,” argues Clarke.

But Clarke argues that part of the high unemployment is linked to rapid population growth coupled with poor economic choices by parents meaning that they are unable to give their children the right education.

“Many of the residents are not aware of family planning programmes supported by the government. Some of them think that it’s a threat to their lives. Others just ignore it,” he adds: “But high population growth wouldn’t have been bad if men didn’t ignore their responsibility as parents and they live the burden to the women who suffer the consequences.”

Dr. Clarke advises that for the people of Makindye to see improvements in their lives, they need to start having the right number of children they can take care of.

Clarke argues that the continued existence slums in the division such as Ggaba, Salaama, Kabalagala, Makindye and Namuwongo, and the prevalence of prostitution is linked to poverty.

The past three years of Clarke’s reign as mayor have been characterized with political wars at the Kampala Capital City Authority and other divisions with most of his peers complaining of being rendered useless by an unaccountable administration.

But Clarke has generally kept a low profile in these squabbles. In fact Clarke has urged his colleagues to stop politicking and instead concentrate on service delivery.

He said: “I think people should do away with politics because they spend most of their time in courts. The Load Mayor has been in the court for a long time and this does not help the public. So we should focus on issues that can help the public.”

But Clarke’s silence has not translated into more resources to facilitate service delivery. As he argued, the division has been constrained by lack of resources. He says that lack of resources has meant that garbage collection has remained a major challenge. This is coupled with poor roads.

“Lack of health centers is another challenge. Apart from Kiruddu health centre that we have managed to put up, and the one we had in Kisugu, we still we need more of these because most of high demand yet most of the residents can’t afford some of the hospitals like the International Hospital Kampala, Nsambya and Kibuli hospital.”

As a way to counter Makindye’s monster unemployment, Clarke has pleaded to the government to devise ways of creating jobs for the young people.

But he also advised young people not to be greedy by trying to get rich early. “We need to have patience in whatever we are doing and at the end we shall achieve what we want as young generation,” advised Clarke.

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