Editor’s note: Arthur Makara is the executive director of the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development in Uganda
When [Uganda’s] President [Yoweri] Museveni announced his decision to defer signing the National Biosafety Act 2017 into law a few days ago, I wrote a piece clarifying that he is likely to have been misinformed. I based my argument on the nature of the issues he raised, which I felt were a reflection of something other than the President’s well-established views on science, technology and innovation, and specifically on biotechnology.
Uganda has been praised globally for its quality of scientists, and scientific outcomes, and the evidence is there for everyone to see. The Members of Parliament passed the National Biosafety Act because many of them who went to NARO institutes — Namulonge, Kawanda, the National gene bank in Entebbe, livestock research institute in Tororo, and the Makerere University teaching and research laboratories — were amazed at what Uganda has in terms of capacity and the quality of scientists and the science they are doing. They were further encouraged by the patriotism of the scientists and above all, the need to give scientists a legal and regulatory direction as they continue with new and emerging endeavors such as biotechnology for the benefit of all Ugandans.
I therefore encourage the President to consult more with his true cadre — the scientists.
Read full, original post: Commentary: Listen to Uganda’s scientists