Postal services in Uganda

By Asenath Were

Post office services are one of the eldest forms of communication and are still part of the most important in this era. However, with the rise of the digital era, one may wonder if its services are still required.

Samuel Kitooke, a carpenter in Nabuti village, Mukono district, says Posta Uganda is still very important in society today. It’s not only about letters as most of us perceive it; otherwise, the social media platforms would be enough.

“There is no company worth a million Uganda shillings that can exist without a postal address.” Every serious company, project, or business will have a postal address, not only for paperwork transactions but for bigger things like parcels that cannot be sent via WhatsApp. “Sample Kitooke

He likened it to the UTL phones. Though they are no longer found in homes, it doesn’t mean that their services are no longer required. He said, “There is no serious company in existence without an office number beginning with 041 or 042.”

This clearly shows that even if the post office is not so much in the limelight, its services are still critically important in society.

To highlight the truth of the matter, Tinka Paul, the acting in charge of Mukono post office, said that during the COVID-19 season, people were sending and receiving items from friends abroad via the post office since transport had been restricted.

This period highlighted the Post Office as being one of the greatest forms of communication. People were able to appreciate its existence because it was through the Post Office that they could send help to their loved ones who had become stuck in other parts of the country or abroad.

According to Tinka, there are numerous services provided to us by the post office, some of which include the sending and receiving of letters, parcels, packets, registered mail, and M bags, which can be posted as export courier services (EMS), which are tracked, ordinary letters, and ordinary but registered (only stamped).

Not only is it important but also convenient in this generation. “The post office has both the physical and virtual box numbers,” he said.

Therefore, for any individual who would like to obtain a number, you will just require two passport photos, a photocopy of the national ID and a box slot payment of Ugx 60000, which must be paid every year to prevent your box number from being given to someone else.

With the help of the Post Office, applications for jobs are done whereby hard copies are sent via the post office. They are picked by the applicants, filled in and sent back.

Through postal pay, corona pay, and rear pay, people abroad are able to send financial assistance to their loved ones. Talk about agency banking, school post and mobile money. All services offered by Posta Uganda Furthermore, there is no land title with no address. These services elaborate on the true meaning of a post office and its duties.

John Ssemakula, the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Head of Department, Undergraduate School of Journalism, Media and Communication, says that the Post Office in Uganda has been washed away by the internet, emails and phones. 

“I actually don’t know when I last used my post office address.” He said.

Ssemakula added that the urgency in communication makes the post office less relevant. If you use a post office to send a message, it’s not only expensive but will also take weeks to get feedback.

He took us back in time during his high school days and said, “It was the only available option to communicate and we used it.” Unlike today, with so many social media platforms to choose from.

Furthermore, a second-year law student, Edrine Ssetimba, said the post office is not so relevant if you are looking at sending and receiving messages, but if you are looking at other services like an address and the whole postal process, then it is still relevant.

In regards to the sending and receiving of messages, he compared it to the case of Adams v. Lindsell, where the defendants wrote to the plaintiffs on September 02, offering to sell them some wool and requesting that the plaintiffs reply in the course of post.

The post containing the letter was wrongly addressed and, therefore, the plaintiffs did not receive it until September 05. As a result of this delay, the letter of acceptance was not received until September 09 by the defendants, which was two days later than the defendants would have accepted to receive it.

Because of this, the defendants sold the wool to a third party. In a nutshell, sending and receiving messages via the post office can take ages to reach their destination, hence leading to a lot of improper decisions.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a post office is referred to as a public department or corporation responsible for postal services and (in some countries) telecommunications.

It started in the year 1775 as the United States Postal Services (USPS) during the Second Continental Congress when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General and the post office department was created in 1792 with the passage of the postal service Act.

In Uganda, the postal services were founded in 1951 by Posta Uganda, originally called Uganda Post Limited. Its headquarters are found in Kampala, with a network of postal delivery outlets down to sub-county level.

The postal services provided include: letter and parcel conveyance; an express courier service (EMS); local and international money transfers; internet services; philately for collectors; and public transport by the post bus.