I’m sure I’m not alone in this predicament. As the National Resistance Movement led Ugandan government prepares this May 2011 for the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni, I’m one of those Ugandans who is not looking forward to another five years of this government. But neither can I honestly say I was looking forward to a Dr. Kizza Besigye led government. I do not support the style of governance Museveni and NRM lead Uganda by but neither can I find anyone in the opposition leaders available I can fully support. Or even half heartedly support.
I do not want change simply for the sake of change though I appreciate so much the need for change in Uganda. Let me break it down for you this way why I think Uganda needs a change in the way it is governed. On an individual level. The fact that most of my friends will own their first car as they clock 30 years old, they will be 30 years old before they can lay claim to a salary that even comes close to meeting all their basic needs of money for food, enough money to rent a half decent house; they will be 30 years old and needing to fundraise when they wish to get married, on top of adding their savings from many years. They work one or two side jobs on top of their main job in order to be able to afford a blackberry and keep it juiced up.
They have had to probably bribe to get what should be a citizen’s right, like a passport. Sometimes falsifying who they are to get that passport. They live in permanent dread of anyone in the family falling ill because hospital bills for just a week, a month would not be bearable, almost wipes out the pittances on their bank accounts. If the disease is more ‘serious’ like cancer, kidney aliments, or something that really needs long term specialised care; either it is trooping out to be draft begging profiles in the newspapers and on TV. Or resorting back to ‘traditional healers’ as they await ‘merciful death’ to come to the rescue of the suffering blood kin.
Yes, I may not live on a dollar a day but as Jose Chameleone’s father pointed out, neither can I afford to go without working for more than a month. We are the month to month wage survivors and when it comes down to it really, I’m no better than the shop keeper in Kikuubo who counts every day because every day he or she works is when she will be able to feed her family. Every day is a tightrope for survival.
So I know I need change. I know Uganda needs change.
I want to be able to live in a country where I can fancifully decide that in five years time, the company I’m starting now will have branches in Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam and Kigali because I’m certain of the Ugandan economy. I can predict how the economy, generally, will be performing, and no sudden ‘unexplained’ supplementary budgets will be imposed on it. That certain business tax breaks I expect will be implemented and not remain in the theory of the Serena Hotel conference board room or stuck in the carpet lining in the corridors to the chambers of the members of the Parliament. That when I do decide to expand my business out of Uganda’s borders, I can be certain my country’s representatives will be looking out for me and my interests because my interests are the country’s interests as I will be taking many Ugandans with me.
But I’m stuck with having to stick with the National Resistance Movement though I know it is bad for me.
I know, I know, someone might say “seek out other alternatives. Be the creator of your own destiny. Do not compromise.” But I cannot change the country on my own. I know it is not popular to say that but it’s the truth. All the opposition I would have looked to for a vision of another Uganda, a different Uganda, are only interested in shouting, “Agende. Let Museveni leave! Go!”
Their message does not seem for me. They hardly seem to notice my presence. Or care that I’m not really interested in who is in State House Entebbe. All I really care about is what is who is in charge doing to make my life in Uganda better. I don’t see anyone about to make a positive change in my Ugandan life and I think that is the predicament millions of Ugandans find themselves in today.