In Summary
  • The issue: Awarding excellence
    Our view: There are many like Obwona doing a lot to preserve the nature and good culture. These people should be awarded as an example, to encourage other Ugandans to work for their country.

At a time when there is a lot of bad news to go around, the award given to Julius Obwona is welcome news. Obwona, this paper reported in yesterday’s edition, was awarded the Tusk Wildlife Ranger award, an international award given to men and women who work hard to protect wildlife in Africa and who face great dangers while at it.
Obwona’s award comes with a grant of $20,000 (about Shs90 million) and a trophy he will receive on November 8. It is no secret that Uganda has great tourism prospects.

With nearly half of the Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; 1,061 bird species found in different parts of the country; game parks filled with most of the four big cats, which attract tourists; and amazing scenery including Murchison Falls, Sipi Falls and numerous crater lakes, there is so much more we as a country we can make from tourism.
This is why the institutions charged with promoting and preserving our tourism (Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Uganda Tourism Board, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Uganda Wildlife Authority, etc), should do even more.
Certainly, Obwona should be celebrated publicly. This should not be the last mention of his award. These organisations mentioned above should see to it that his full story is told to the nation.
Obwona’s work and award should be shared in many ways and on many platforms so that the nation can appreciate tourism and what it takes to keep our precious wildlife alive. He should be asked to speak to wildlife rangers across the country about his experience and what has helped him persevere. He should pass on his skills not just to the 300 he people supervises, but also to as many as possible.

There are many like Obwona doing a lot to preserve the nature and good culture; to help the less privileged in society; and to create and innovate products and processes that make life easier and better. These people should be awarded as an example, to encourage Ugandans out there to do work for their country.

Transparent and full-proof mechanisms should be set up in different organisations to pick out those who are selflessly working to do good works that make a big difference. Such are the heroes who should be awarded and their life and work put down in history for us all to remember. At a time of cruel deaths, brutal attacks by the security forces of innocent people and constant corruption, such news is good news and should be well celebrated.