Stephen Shaka Gashaija; NRM’s new face in Entebbe

The Ruling National Resistance Movement earlier this month held primaries where party members elected new flag bearers. In Entebbe, Member of Parliament Rosemary Tumusiime passed the baton of the NRM flag to Stephen Shaka Gashaija who won a six member race.

Shaka will be the face of NRM in Entebbe for the next five years. Entebbe Post caught up with him, sharing vision for Entebbe City.

Who is Shaka Gashaija?

My name is Shaka Stephen Gashaija, son of Eng. Vernard and Joy Gashaija, all residents of Entebbe Municipality. I was born in 1983. AT that time, Entebbe was and still is one of the most beautiful places one would ever be, or choose to grow up from. We were born in a unique circumstance. I was born a triplet and in that time, having three children being born was something that was very unique, that attracted a number of residents and family friends to come and say, what a blessing that has happened in Entebbe Municipality. They brought a lot of things!

Today, Shaka Stephen is grown up, has been educated and he is a Lawyer. I am a partner, Tropical Law Advocates. I also double as a consultant, under the Lotteries and Gaming’s Management. I also had an opportunity to work with government. I worked with Justice Choudry (Anup Singh) as a personal assistant and now, I also worked with the Ministry of Finance. So, in a nutshell, that’s who I am!

What connects Shaka’s story to that of leadership in a place like Entebbe?

I will start by saying that, I am a man who is married, with one wife and three children. That is where leadership comes from. You know when God made man, he made him as a result for him to manage the Garden of Eden or, I would say the earth and the result of that, man is made a manager. Everybody that you see is a manager. Being a leader is one who always participates with others in resolving day to day issues.

I can say that not only have I been one but, I have also participated in politics. I have stood for Guild President of Uganda Christian University in 2007. I also have been a leader, being a partner Tropical Law Advocates; I give guidance to many Lawyers there. I also double as a Director Lottery and Gaming’s Management. We are even currently coming up with an application that will help guide the gaming sector in a proactive way. So, basically leadership is a participation of individuals coming together to solve problems!

The difference is, when you come out as a leader, one may think that you want to be a boss! No, you just want to participate in being a problem solver. So this is why I have come in to be a leader.

Many a time, People say similar things but do the inverse while elected in office. What is the difference between you and other people contesting?

First and foremost, going to Parliament is a result of people choosing you to represent them and, you cannot qualify just by your mere academic documents. But you qualify because of the interactions you have with the locals, by hearing their challenges, participating with them. They shape you to be the leader that they want you to be for them. And also leadership, being in parliament, we are looking at being a voice, of both the voiceless and those that have a voice.

I am also a lawyer. We are going to Parliament to legislate. We are going to debate, to draft laws and I think, being a lawyer, you are able to look at what is good for the people and, what is a good and bad law, what will work for the people of Entebbe Municipality. But most importantly, they are the ones that send you to Parliament, that you may be their voice.

So, to say that you are being different from others is purely by choice. You see human being make almost 350 choices per day. These choices are either good choices or bad choices. They are only based on the amount of knowledge that you have.  So, all leaders cannot be compared but, what are we going to do to improve where they have stopped. So I believe that I will make right choices since I expose self to a lot of knowledge.  

What are the challenges Entebbe faces?

There are quite a number of challenges. I will start by the ones in Kigungu. People of Kigungu, the fishermen have had their boats destroyed, fishing nets taken from them and, what alternative sources of income can they have selves involved in, or how can they participate with government in being able to operate in the fishing business or having an alternative source of income.

Secondly, the lack of employment. With Covid 19, the leisure business has literally been closed. So employing all those people is a challenge. You also look at Security which needs to be improved. Recently, a baby was killed in Nsamizi and such things should not happen in Entebbe Municipality especially where we have the President’s residence.

There are quite a number of challenges that the people of Entebbe are facing and I think that we need to actively involve ourselves with the community in resolving some of these issues.

Shaka Gashaija during an interview

With fishing, what clearly needs to be done?

You need to get the fishermen, you need to get the security personnel, you need to get the people with the Ministry of Fisheries, to participate in sensitizing the fishermen, especially with the new methods of fish farming, the alternative methods of fishing and, also educating them, reskilling them with profit making ideas. That would make a big difference. We can also support their different Saccos and programs.

Security?

We need to put a system where LCs knows each and every person and where they stay. People have to participate in such! We also have to enhance the Police to ensure that more Patrols, with enough resources are put in place. These are the agencies that we should always talk to, supervise and ensure that they are doing exactly what they should be doing.

How is all this connected to the roles of a Member of Parliament?

These are some of the day to day challenges. And this is what I am bringing on table, going an extra mile in resolving the challenges they are going through. Of course if these are difficult, that is when you go to Parliament and voice out this concern so as to move the house to resolve some of these issues.

We need to support our people with Agriculture, education creating markets to consume products, value addition, among others. It is basically, other than being a voice in the House of Parliament and legislation, leaders need to pioneer in involving selves in resolving these challenges by providing solutions.

Entebbe is full of tourism, first installations within the country. How would you connect such things to the people languishing in suburbs such as Lugonjo?

Entebbe has so many sites. We have the Chimps (Chimpanzees), bird watching; we have the water where people can participate in water sport. So, when you look at that alone, that’s looking at tourist attraction sites.

So, we need to participate by endorsing Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) so as to have people getting employed, people coming to Entebbe more often, visit and let dwellers generate revenue.

When you look at the airport, we get a lot of investors coming through the airport. We can actively participate by telling His Excellency the President to have some of the industries in Entebbe. I know we have a challenge of space but, that is the reason we believe in the new city, with more land, we can demarcate an area suitable for an industrial park which is value addition.

This means that the farmers that are in Entebbe Municipality will be able to have a guaranteed market to consume there goods. For example if we have a tomato industry, there would be guaranteed market for tomato farmers and that helps us as a community to be involved by also being employed.

You may also realize that we have a zoo, we have the botanical gardens that was started in 1898. The gardens have all type of species that can be a form of attraction for the people of Entebbe. We can still include festivals, more sport and activities attracting many people. In that way, people languishing will be involved and employed.

When you look at the airport, you realize that many planes were disposed off and destroyed. They can also be designed into a hotel and facilitate tourism. We can actively involve selves in making Entebbe a tourists attraction.

Many people have talked about the same but did nothing. What would be your difference?

First, how are we going to raise these issues? By going back to the people and consulting them how they want us, the leaders on how to solve them. What can we do and what solutions can we provide? From there, you will be able to push such to parliament, in favor of the people. That’s purely what an MP is supposed to do.

But we also have to go an extra mile in implementing some of these solutions. People think becoming a Member of Parliament, you must go there and start making a lot of noise and raising but no; you have to follow up and ensure that a solution reaches the people and that is what I bring for the people.

Talk about your comparison with the predecessor Hon Rose Tumusiime?

It is not about who is better than the other. Six people participated for the NRM flag, with five ladies. The incumbent has done her best! Why we are here is just to add on and top up from where she has excelled. We have to do better! We have to show the difference that we can also actively participate.

We of course commend her for what she has been able to do and we believe that the NRM is full of good leaders and we believe that I have also come to express myself to the people, for that is the most prudent thing to do to ensure that Entebbe gets better.

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