Before you hear about Uganda on Fox news and Kony 2012, I will just tell you a few things about this beautiful country.
For those who might not know, Uganda is a small country of about 94,000sq miles with approximately 40 million people. We have amazing weather and great soil that supports agriculture which, well this being a song, is the backbone of our economy. The people are friendly for the most part until the internet gives them wings that make them assume their rightful position as small gods. Also care to note that we are not in the business of lynching same sex couples as earlier reported because we are least interested. You see, we never know about any type of couples until social media becomes redolent of their relationship. Even then we’re good…because truthfully ain’t nobody got time for that.
The population is predominantly youthful which explains the kind of party in this country. For more information on this, kindly reach out to Kenyans that have experienced the Ugandan nightlife. We are a peaceful people though some may still argue that the absence of war doesn’t mean we are safe. Like any other country, we have petty thieves and the not so petty thieves. Once in a while we have protests that are usually halted by tear gas. It renders me speechless to see one particular citizen still enjoying the gift of sight.Do not be fearful,all of this happens once in a while. Please visit Uganda. We have beautiful places for you to visit and cultures to introduce you to that I think you will appreciate but before you come, prepare your essay of 4000 words on how your visit to the pearl of Africa will improve our environment. You can leave that at the reception as you check out from the fine establishment you stayed in. Before I forget, disregard the Kony 2012 video.
Moving on swiftly…
We just had the second presidential debate yesterday with foreign policy as the main theme. As one of my friends predicted it was tailored to regional issues. This time the father of the nation showed up to weigh in his 2 cents. We also waited to see the Shaka Ssali of VOA in action but unfortunately we got the Shaka Ssali of Shaka’s siesta room and I am sure he had his reasons so I won’t delve into that.
8 candidates were given the chance to let us know why they each deserved the presidency. Maureen Kyalya, the only woman in the race, however may disagree with that as she was forced to multi task at some point as a candidate, traditional woman,mother, ambassador’s daughter, UK representative to Uganda and referee. Joseph Elton Mabirizi who came to the debate eons later brought the necessary comedy and for a minute there, the enclave economy class came to an end. All of this and more is on the internet. UGDebate2016 trended last night on Twitter so if you didn’t know now you know.
We heard what everyone had to say but I still think there is a need for these candidates to sit still and ponder on what it really means to be the President of Uganda.
First, the president must recognise the state of the economy. He/she must recognise the mess and roll sleeves up to actually do something about it. If we must remember tall grass and bushes then I think we should also bring up the times when the dollar rate was at UGX 1083 in 2000. That was certainly not the best rate but it was a whole lot better than UGX 3400. Let’s leave the external forces that affect foreign currency strengths and concentrate on Uganda because if we’re going to talk about those forces playing the largest part then I must add that we slept the good sleep in 2007 when the global economic disparity gave Africa the greater advantage to do better…so here we are lil’ old Uganda, still bringing up rural electrification and finishing construction of dams we spoke of when I was still in primary school.
Last night I heard talk about cheap borrowing for the Ugandan investor which I applauded incessantly considering the battle a business man will fight every day to stay afloat. From scrapping the initial allowance, to URA basically owning 30% of your business to a painful rate of 23% and all other business expenses-how is someone supposed to enjoy the fruits of his hardwork unless he evades for as long as he possibly can and then run away before the authorities close in on him. Building the economy is taking a toll on the already existing entities so the next guy may not be sold with that investor talk.
Whoever wins this election must appreciate that we can do just as much as these foreign investors given the chance. I don’t even know if we still own anything around here or we are just a little black Greece. Sembuule had the most agonising death in history so we can have a foreign investor give us the same products. The ground is not leveled for the Ugandan investor at all so we import more than we export. I hope this bothers the winner. I don’t see why we must spend all day blaming Ugandans for their penchant for foreign products when there isn’t any effort made to ensure home consumption and reassurance that the quality is above the usual.
Becoming the president might require disposing off a large number of cars in the current convoys. One, we can’t keep waiting all year while on the road and two-the amount received from disposal can change some lives. I don’t mean carry the money in a bag and hand it to a poor lady. No. We must learn how to spend this money like adults. We don’t have a lot of it because I’d like to think that the billions of tax payer’s money for the most part go to servicing debt…may not be the case but..I don’t want to cry as I write this post. Someone needs to take this accountability thing seriously. Does anyone ever listen to the AG because I feel like he might have the same recommendations since forever. Once you are voted into power, please sit down and look at the unseriousness that is before you and get serious people on that round table that someone loves so much to see a way forward out of this mess. 5 years may not be enough time to get us out of this hole but whatever effort you put in to bring us closer to the top is most appreciated.
See when you become president, no one expects you to be Superman. Maybe 5 year olds would love to see you jump up and down saving people but most of us don’t. We just want you to do a very good job on at least one task. Just one task so when you complete your term we can say-Look, here is a hospital where people are flying left, right and centre to see the best specialists in the world or look here good people, at least everyone in this country can afford a decent meal, lives in a decent house and has access to clean water, clothing and a good education or hey, every road is in tip top shape.
Whoever becomes President must understand the country’s demography. I don’t know if the youth representative has done her job well, but it doesn’t look that great from where I am standing. Someone spoke about revolutionaries and their frustrations threatening national security last night. But these people aren’t hired to do any work and if they are, they are not able to sustain themselves. The curriculum doesn’t emphasise mentorship so here we are with our first classes, rough around the edges and no jobs because we aren’t sitting like someone they’re looking for. I might be the solution to the problem but I may not have the financial muscle or meet the borrower’s criteria or even have a chance to meet with an angel investor- so I have to be hired but thats just not happening.
Kyalya spoke of a minimum wage and I am so hurt that this being one of her only remarkable and yet very important points didn’t get the air time it so deserved. When it comes to employment in foreign companies I feel like the government has very superficial checks to ensure that these guys aren’t hiring people from their home countries. For example when one bids to be a part of a project, they provide information demonstrating that the larger population in the organisation is Ugandan. Great-that they pass with flying colors but who is downloading PAYE returns to confirm these people’s take home?-No one. I mean…imagine working for UGX 5,000(sans benefits) a day taking into account the current inflation. Why wouldn’t someone be frustrated? You know the older generation says that the millenials are an impatient group but with the current set up of things in this particular day and age you can’t afford to do things ’40s style and expect greatness hence the aggression. I’m not asking for a billion shillings. I just want to be treated like a decent human being with a future and some needs.
I could go on for days. I could make another 20 pages but it’s Valentine’s day and even I need to show myself some love and make some great pasta.
In a nutshell, whoever wins may have to get the Fancy Nancy out this position. There is so much work to do here. Before we fly around outsourcing our expert advice on other people’s problems – let’s clean house. Dear winner of this coming elections, you may have to be more selfless than you’ve ever been, you may not sleep at night, you may lose some weight, you may need to get your hands dirty…but know that the Ugandan people need something. Just give them your very best. Please
For God and my country.
Happy Valentine’s day.