ENGINEERS, REBOOT THE SHORT MEMORY ON PREFABS AND INFRASTRUCTURE!

editorial

Is it true that Ugandans have a short memory? If so, they might need to cultivate a long one instead.

It is the long memory, for example, of India’s resources, culture and civilization that made Mahatma Gandhi resist the Raj after Queen Victoria declared that she was Emperor of India. And it is not that the Mahatma and others of like mind merely fought away the British rule. No, they took a long memory of the inherent local resources of strengths such as the raw materials (natural and human), the means by which the culture and civilization of Indian people had grown through the ages to that stature, and applied it for their development. Today we look at India with envy (sorry about that); but the rest is history.

Leaving the long memory of the Indians aside, within recent memory – the 60s and early 70s – the Uganda government built (of course with international aid) schools, hospitals, and even housing estates using prefabs. Kibuli SSS, Nabisunsa Girls School, Ntinda Housing Estate, the Bugolobi Flats, the Doctors’ Village in Mulago, Kiryandongo Hospital, etc, were made of prefabs. The prefabricated system was a creative and value-for-money way of using the local resources to bring about development. See how the infrastructure and development still stand! So, policymakers, construction professionals and other movers and shakers, why the short memory about prefabs?

Further, as you flick through the magazine, you will find Konstantin Gorchakov, managing director of MRG Composites, continuing with his new topic ‘Composite Materials’ in Uganda, where plastics are stronger than steel! Then you will find the article ‘Geotextiles, an apt material in civil works,’ sponsored by Terrain Plant Ltd and another, ‘XYPEX Concrete Waterproofing’, sponsored by ADMIR UGANDA LTD.

Furthermore, Dr Alice Nabatanzi the phytochemist and neutraceuticist, will interest you about the ‘Cactus in construction’, an article that might touch off research among students and other stakeholders in the construction industry. Eng Frank Kweronda and Architect Verna Mbabazi have put their finger on the maintenance culture on infrastructure among Ugandans. And of course, you will look for your regular articles like ‘How Samson and Delilah built their dream home’, Angella Naluwenda’s cost of materials and indices in construction – this time on tiles as a finishing material. ‘Mama Fundi’ has her finger on the pulse in the dynamics of bidding in construction: should it be in hard or soft copy or both? She seems to be for electronic bidding!

Going back to us in Uganda having a short memory (such as, say, on prefabs among the engineering fraternity) and our maintenance culture on infrastructure, can we reboot?

Till next issue, cheerio!

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