A section of innovators of Nkaheza Technologies led by Mr. Nkaheza Joseph from Western Uganda, Entebbe based Boat mechanics led by Lubega Twaha, Kamugisha Kid toys Bugolobi, Dingoman from the Ghetto and others have called upon the government of Uganda to support their innovations instead of neglecting their hustle.
A primary seven dropout (Nkaheza Joseph) is the brain behind Uganda’s first private and locally made helicopter, a 12-foot motorbike which uses only steam, not fuel, and other innovations which he showcased in 2017 after 5 years he spent manufacturing them. They have so far cost him over UGX70 million together because he purchases the metallic materials used in this interesting innovation.
For the past years, Joseph says have been hosting different government leaders from various sections including those from the Ministry of Science and Technology led by Dr Hon. Monicca Musenero, plus being invited to showcase in different trade affairs, but leaders have never fulfilled their pledges.
“We again bring our cries to the President of Uganda and Ministry of Science and Technology led by Hon. Musenero that ever since the science week exhibition at Kololo, we have never received any assistance,” Nkaheza said.
He added that on November 10, 2022, at Kololo [during the science and technology week], President Museveni ordered Dr Musenero to give him a helping hand of UGX100 million but it’s disappointing that the concerned parties have been playing him up to date.
“Am disappointed Mr President, am the inventor behind one of the cars that were used during your campaigns. We also made a motorcycle that runs on steam but the people you told to help us neglected us in broad daylight. Tried to walk into all offices but I have not been helped. I have never received a single coin,” Nkaheza added.
Lubega Twaha, another disgruntled innovator says inventors are painfully angered by the government for;
- Failing to fulfil their pledges
- Establish service centres because it’s a big task to follow up with all inventors.
He further called upon the president and other government agencies such as the Inspectorate of Government [IG] to make follow-ups on supervision because some people responsible for helping innovators decided to run the system as a family affair.
He called upon President Museveni to intervene in issues of innovators because it looks like Ministry of Science and Technology officials dumped them.
“Ministry of Science officials don’t love innovators, they dumped us instead of listening and finding solutions to our problems. I ask the president that if he really loves us, should intervene and listen to our tears,” said Twaha.
Dingoman from the Ghetto says the Ministry of Science and Technology is led by selfish and self-seeking individuals who are feeding their stomachs instead of helping beneficiaries.
“Honestly speaking, they have done nothing for the common good of our country. We feel neglected and their actions cost the president on the ground. The president should look at how someone in the village, Ghetto directly benefit from government programs,” he said.
Meanwhile, We are yet to receive a comment from the Ministry of Science and Innovation about allegations against them.
It should however be remembered that Uganda was ranked among the top three countries with advanced technological and innovation capabilities in Africa by the 2012 Martin Prosperity Institute research in the U.S., citing that innovators have not been fully supported, both financially and by training.
Why we are still stuck at a place where ICT innovators are looked at as beggars and not as partners when it comes to funding their ideas, is a shame. This explains how, according to a 2019 study by Afrilabs and Briter Bridges, over 110 hubs have shut down operations within the past half-decade.
Confronted by these unfortunate realities, stakeholders across the continent such as regulatory authorities, entrepreneurial support organizations, incubators, accelerators and learning institutions, must come together and attempt to provide the needed support to young ICT innovators.
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