Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Loodi Mayor's Maths On Census Data is Utter Bullshit

Lukwago, Lukwago, oh Eliyasiii! My Baganda ancestors chide the young and hungry with the saying, "ebbula ly'enkoko tulikuliisa mp'abaana." Loose translation:  Let not a scarcity of chicken lead you to eating some wild ugly bird. Alas, the scarcity of good opposition politicians has led us to; not only make do with, but love politi-cons like Lukwago.

Of course, Lukwago is relevant.  He never lets the state catch any kind of break. The democracy needs folks like him. He does it in English that fills the mouth. That is; Lukwago abnegates to approbate government any disjunction. It isn't 1944, whence natives went to white man's land, and returned determined to use their white man education to the fullest. But, I do like a guy who finds some use for all that colonial nonsense teachers forced down our throats.  I bet Lukwago would have Shakespeare himself shaking his head saying, "he speaks fancy, doesn't he?"  

Away from his entertainment value though, let's be honest. The Loodi Mayor is the original Donald Trump. He knows you are angry. He knows you can't be bothered to independently express said anger. He offers himself up as a vessel for that anger. While at it, he lies through his teeth, secure in the knowledge that you will not be bothered to look up the truth. You won't even pause your Facebook scrolling to think for a second about what he just said. No. With one eye on the new profile picture your internet stalkee has put up, you'll just like his post and with that simple act validate your anger while also being patriotic; refusing to be lied to by this dictatorship.

With all the above working for him; the Loodi Mayor got nearly 1,000 likes for this post. 

Some mind boggling questions about the recently released National Population and Housing Census Report; 1) The...
Posted by Erias Lukwago on Friday, 25 March 2016

Here is why that post is utter bullshit:
1. "The provisional statistical data released a couple of years ago indicated that our population stood at 34.9 million people yet the final report gives a different figure of 34.6 million people. That discrepancy has not been explained away! !!"
Stop wasting exclamation marks, Ugandans. Provisional results are a first count. They are going to have errors. The first count is useful for accountability and to give planners something to work with in the meantime but a census is a load of work. So, UBOS takes the time to correct it for all the things that could have gone wrong: under counts & over counts, data entry errors, any number of things. A lot of you complained on social media that nobody came to your door to tap your head and hence count you. In the provisional results report, UBOS reported that 7.3 million households with 34.4 million members were counted. So, initially, they corrected for the undercount with an extra half a million Ugandans. Upon closer look, they have corrected that adjustment to just 200,000. Flagging that as a major irregularity is stirring a storm in a tea cup.

2. "The report highlights a drastic increase in the population growth by 10.4 million people from 2002, yet, according to the same report, the country registered an unprecedented decline in the fertility rate during the same period, from 7.1 children per woman to 5.8!!

Those poor exclamation marks. Look, even if Uganda's fertility rate fell to 1, the population would grow. It just does, when new people are born.  Especially since, already existing people don't die nearly as much. The population just grows. When it is 5.8 babies a woman, it most certainly is going to grow like crazy.  There are about 9.5 million Ugandan women over the age of 18. Even if we were being very simplistic and said all those 10.4 million were babies that adult Ugandan women gave birth to, that increase would mean that about 800,000 adult women gave birth each year and probably didn't have a second child in the 12 year cycle. Of course it isn't that simple. People emigrate into Uganda. People die. Children under 18 give birth.  At 5.8 lifetime fertility, Ugandan women obviously have many births in a 12 year cycle. Some of those children die also. It isn't as simple as looking at a number and deciding, "I refuse to believe this." 

3. "That during that same period, the average life expectancy miraculously shot up from 50.4 years to 63.3 with no comesurate improvement in the standard of living or provision of quality health facilities."
He also makes some GDP comparisons that are neither here nor there. To stick with his initial thought; let us admit banange; standards of living have improved since 2002. Even by the most mundane indicators: like number of cars on the road, bars in town, people complaining about wi-fi. Life is not what it was in 2002. More seriously though; 50 was an abnormally low life expectancy brought on by modern calamities like the HIV epidemic, war in the north, etc. As we move further away from the brunt of those anomalies, our life expectancy will return closer and closer to normal. So, this isn't a miraculous increase. It is more like a recovery.

4. "That our population stands at 34.6 Million people yet the biometric data captured by the Electoral Commission indicates that we have 15.2 million registered voters in a country that boasts of the youngest population in the world! !!" 

A minority (44%) of our population is adult. We have the youngest population in the world. There isn't any contradiction in that, even if we take his statement at face value.

5. "The report shows that Kampala has got a population of 1.5 million people yet the National Voters Register posts roughly 1.1.million voters, implying that Kampala returns almost 90% voter eligibility!!!!" 

The above is just a lie. The population of Kampala is 1.56 million. If the Loodi Mayor wanted to round off, it would be 1.6. The number of registered voters in Kampala was 1.04 million. Again, if he wanted to round off, it would be 1.0. Going with the official numbers, 67% of people in Kampala are adults. It doesn't seem wholly surprising to me considering it is an urban centre but what do I know?
Until I have better data however, I am not going to dismiss this with just an opinion especially knowing UBOS as one of few Ugandan institutions that actually try to do a decent job.

Look, I am quite partial to the opposition. The poor underdogs against whom all the odds are stuck. But I think we need to ask better of them too,  even as we dream of the day they will help us change the presidential portrait. We can't have them thinking we love them just the way they are. This is not high school romance, and even if it were, we are too old for it. That's why we get to vote. Because we are too old for unconditional love. If opposition politicians want to be cheap popularity seeking liars as big as the one we already have, then, what's the point of even dreaming of change?

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