Thursday, March 03, 2011

Uganda 2011-2016 for you and me, looking not for a hero but a competent manager

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.


Ishta said...

I want to say something about you inspiring me... because I'm actually doing my final project at school on the media as the fourth estate of Uganda's gov't in light of the elections.

But the thing is, I'm not OK with the inconclusiveness of this post. It's post-post-modernism, sitting on the fence isn't allowed any more unfortunately.

Anyway, I love the intensity with which you describe the trap we find ourselves in (they call it democracy).

Nambozo Nsengiyunva said...

David, you have said such truth last night i was thinking what I would do if Zion fell ill. i think I survived a lot o that because I am a traditional breastfeeding mum and even Formula was way too expensive for my otherwse well-paying job that afforded me a car, but then again I was 30 plus at the time. I tell people really i don't care if a chimpanzee rules, just fix the roads, give us good healthcare and employ,ent opportunities.....we don't even have the energy to demonstrate in public roads because even in my little Nrtinda village the gunmen still stalk us...

Dennis D. said...

david, i really believe you misconstrue dr. besigye the very man that popuralised "agende." but what other message would you carry to a man that has failed our country as miserably as museveni has? if there's one man that has played his part to redeem our country, besigye has. i got an opportunity to work with him (and i've worked with museveni before too) and while it should not matter, i've found besigye the better leader. i tell you i've not met a man concerned with the overall welfare of my country and its citizenry like dr. besigye. he has single-handedly pumped self-belief back into the hearts of the people to stand up and fight for their country, and he's among the few politicians that stand tall without a guilty conscience. it's unfortunate that many have misread his platform stance, saying he's more of a bitter man that has something to pick with museveni. they have it all wrong. and after all besigye has done for this country, it's flabbergasting that you still don't see any opposition leader available. i say besigye is that politician, and if he had not twice been robbed of his victories, we would not be having this exchange. go back home and do some unbiased soul-searching, read some history, rummage through the records of the two men, and it'll come to you with the clarity of the noonday sun that dr. besigye's a true and capable leader than museveni who has sent our country down the pit.

Henry said...

David this is a very interesting insight of a concerned Uganda. I would agree with you on a number of thing mostly on the need for change. But what kind of change are we asking for. Changing for the sake of it is a very dangerous move. David calling the only possible alternative for a better leader would be an insult to Ugandans.

As you rightly said popularizing the agende phrase is not what Ugandans want All they wanted is tell us what you are going to do for us. Uganda's problems are not entirely as a result of the leaders we have its a sociatal problem. the type of leadrs we have are a symbol of the population from which they come. Unless ugandans as a people look into their inner hearts and say we should stop living a life of man eat man we shall not be able to change our society. Be the change you want to see. As long as everybody is wrong and me am right we shall not be able to move ahead because i do believe no body is totaly bad and nobody is totaly right. Satrt by ackwoldging the good and the bad one has done then see how we build on the good and how we correct the wrongs. short of such am approach to changing motherland we may be destined to whinning and complining for good.

As a people let us have the spirit of loving our country first. At the moment ugandans love the self, tribe, region, and the country last. i would like to think the trend needs to change. There are countries where i know people talk in terms of our country in what they do even the civil servants not about the "id".
For a better Uganda change will have to be a bottom top aprroach. that is you and me strting the change that we need to see. God bless the Pearl

The 27th Comrade said...

If you will let me play devil's advocate, there is no leader under Heaven who will give you the country you need. No such idealistic utopia is going to be served to you. Believe it or not, there is no leader who is going to make it so that any random Ugandan can take a break from work for a month and not be bothered; no leader will change what it means to fall sick with cancer (it is a bad thing precisely because it should cost dear). As far as fixing this country, Museveni has done the best job imaginable. This Dennis guy who says Museveni has "miserably failed" is just high. Sorry, but that's the truth.
And Iwaya, you seem to want a Blackberry that is always juiced just as much as you want a house. No President can fix the warped priorities of the TV-watching yuppies like us that so unfortunately litter our streets. No human leader can (or should!) take away misfortune from the country. Let's all get sane again, okay? Thanks!