ADAM KAMULEGEYA: Why Ugandans are own enemies!

From time and memorial, Ugandan people have always had issues between themselves whereby they failed to live in peace and harmony. They fought each other for land and hegemonic control whereby smaller tribes were literally swallowed by big ones. Then we entered a period of political turmoil bringing about unprecedented levels of despondency and hopelessness.

With time however, leaders with clarity of thoughts begun to emerge and forged unity of purpose we now all are proud of. Through trials and errors, we have managed to curve out a great nation-state astride the equator. 

But behind this veneer of hope, there a converging commonality where we all see that Uganda, after all, may not be following a correct path.  We, the present occupiers of this endowed land, have largely failed to improve on it.  

And yet Uganda is a truly endowed country in many aspects.

Ugandan tribes, almost 56 in number, share together this beautiful land of rivers, lakes, magnificent scenery, high-rise mountains and mind-boggling water falls including other unique flora and fauna. 

This is the land where you find the source of the world’s longest river- the Nile- and the second biggest fresh water lake called Victoria. Uganda is home to the famous ‘big five’ (Elephants, Lions, Buffalo, Leopard and Rhino) and also the only place on earth where you find 60% of the remaining mountain gorillas.

According to former Idi Amin Dada, “Uganda is the ‘headquarter’ of hippopotamus (hippos)!”

Uganda is the land of the “Ankole Cattle” a unique bovine with circle-like horns formed not for fighting and defense per se, but for beauty and grandeur.

Are we still that “Pearl of Africa” as Sir Winston Churchill once baptized us?

Sorry folks you are not because you don’t possess any more the ingredients required to keep that name.

Friends, ours was once upon a time a prosperous nation, not perfect. For none will ever be, but steadily moving forward, determined to overcome the challenges on it’s own. It had nearly the same economy as that of Singapore and it once compared favorably with the now so-called “Asian Tigers” which includes South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. 

At one time the Uganda shilling was at per with the British Pound Sterling and today one Pound equals 4500 shillings. For instance, my father bought 120 acres of land in 1975 at one million shillings (1,000,000). And in 1987, I used to travel from Muyenga to Kampala, on bus called Peoples (UTC) at a cost of 30 shillings.

We seem not to care about those things but our country is slowly but purposely fading. School fees and ‘essentials’ are out of reach by majority Ugandans (education is for sale) and the wealthy or politicians are treated outside Uganda because the healthy sector is collapsing.

In Africa, many countries are leaving us in the dust in both economic growth and development and all we do here is embellish in blissful ignorance. Like our leaders, we like talking as if we have everything figured out.

Sorry, friends, Uganda is being left behind by countries like Rwanda, Zambia and Tanzania. Of course Kenya is 100 miles ahead and we can only compare favorably with troubled countries like Malawi, Burundi, South Sudan, Chad, name others. In a few years, if we don’t put our house in order, we shall be admiring Somalia a country which now only exist in name.

I recently talked to a Tanzanian truck driver at Mutukula border who told me that he could cover a distance of 300km inside Tanzania with less time than moving from Mutukula to Masaka- a pot-holed road- with a distance of 91ms!

Today, we see SGR (Standard Gauge Railway) taking shape in Tanzania and Kenya including an electric railway in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. If you haven’t been to Tanzania lately or are shy of Tiktok, you better open your eyes. 

Its true that Uganda railway is now operating some trains from Natete to Namanve. But these are like kid’s toys compared to Tanzania’s electric train (speeding at 162km per hour) or the Kenyan train from Nairobi to Mombasa.

Yes, Uganda has a nicely constructed Entebbe Expressway but being listed as the most expensive road per kilometer in the world. Where is value for money when the road is not even lit properly and is fast-becoming an accident trap? We hear that an 8 multi-lane and longer road- Thika Highway-  was constructed in Kenya with way less money!

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We recently unveiled the Queensway Fly Over which is a marvel in a way. But the flyover is not lit at the civilian walk-ways and already having scaffold falling off. No one even thought out the fact that we needed traffic lights at that busy intersection?

Have you recently been to Entebbe airport? The new airport is a great architecture meeting engineering. Kudos to the UPDF Engineering Brigade which undertook the work. Like everything Ugandan, already it is falling apart with lights already dying. Some of the scaffolding is falling off and none remembered to include screens where passengers can see and check their flights!

I only wish our leaders can visit Tanzania and see the Ubungo Interchange and the “Mwendo Kasi- high speed” buses as they ferry passengers in Dar es Salaam at great convenience. How about the markets Magufuli ordered built in Tanzania?

Tanzania and now Rwanda are developing so fast that you can only wonder whether there is any development happening here. 

The late John Pombe Magufuli kick-started an economic miracle in Tanzania and Paul Kagame is proving once again that, perhaps, God stood in Rwanda during creation. Rwandese who grew up here and at times we called them ‘empuunzi’, are building a great country governed on laws and patriotism.  

In Rwanda they can arrest you for littering while in Uganda, you drive behind a bus and the passengers inside are throwing all kind of rubbish through the windows!

You cannot be blamed for even thinking that Ugandans hate their own country!

The way bodabodas are organized and run in Tanzania, you simply seat down and curse yourself for being born a Ugandan. I know now why President Museveni has been able to tame us for 40 years: he was raised; schooled and mentored by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. His mind is that of a Tanzanian; a people who are humble, clever and followers of rules.

With no pun intended, Uganda is surely a fool’s paradise (land of washamba-villagers) or a country whose citizens are afflicted with a disease called “Cargo Mentality”. According to anthropologists, Cargo Mentality is the belief by primitive people that one day a ship full of free goods will alive (dock) at their shores to alleviate their suffering. Said differently, Uganda is a country generally occupied by day-dreamers.

That is why every street corner in Ugandan cities and towns has a betting house. Casinos with no winning chances are all over Kampala and our cargo mentality sufferers frequents them and no government regulations to liberate the unsuspecting and greedy citizens!

The Cargo Mentality disease is pushing us into sending our children to schools not to study and understand concepts but to cram exams and get first grades. And tomorrow we scratch our heads wondering why our children can’t find jobs? We end up in shrines and born-again Churches thinking, without any logic at all, that a ‘mysterious’ force not even from God will appear and make us rich or get husbands!

We have turned politics and politicking as a nation pastime almost like drinking alcohol. Every Ugandan who gets some little education thinks of joining politics and become rich like Mr. Museveni and his Luweero Triangle honchos! We seem not to recognize the fact that politics is a very temporary and short career almost like prostitution!

The other big problem we seem unable to see, is the failure to recognize the fact that nation-states may be generally based on physical borders, but all states have a dynamic component: the people- “Wanainchi- citizens”- of that nation. These are the tax payers and partners in development. You don’t simply come up with crazy taxes which are pushing majority of traders out of business! 

In a previous article I talked about ‘gay rights’ and why we need to be extra careful when dealing with such issues. It is perfectly okay to say that you hate ‘pork’ but it is not perfectly okay to hate those who eat it. 

When you talk about freedoms and rights, our leaders have to avoid pumping our ignorant society into a frenzy using falsehoods. For instance, President Museveni is always seen visibly annoyed when talking about “Bazungu-white people” and how they often want to dictate whatever they want to dictate to us. But the same Mr. Museveni has, singlehandedly, been dictating to us for 40 years! 

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A leader worth his or her salt, is supposed indeed expected and bound by laws to respect and protect the Constitution and rights of everybody living within the confines of that country. You cannot do this as if you are picking cherries. Everyone and everybody matters.

Now that the British have joined their Canadian and American cousins to punish Uganda for its anti-gay stand, perhaps we will look back and reflect. What exactly do we aspire for as a nation? 

General Amin was here and registered Uganda as a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in a country where 70 % of the population was Christian!

Now Mr. Museveni is registering us as an “anti-homosexuality” nation where nearly 80% of the population have no idea about the duties of a citizen. Zambia for example, is registered and constitutionally called a ‘Christian nation’ but with no corresponding knowledge of the Bible from its Christian population!

I always wonder as to who is right? The people who brought us religion and now telling us that “some of the sections in the Bible were actually wrong (Sodom and Gomorrah)” or us, who discarded our own faiths to believe in theirs?

I mean if the manufacturer of a certain product, say a car, tells you that some of its components are faulty and needs fixing. Do you listen or turn and inform him that he is ignorant of what he is talking about? 

Therefore, we can’t be more Christian than the Bazungu who brought that religion here. If we don’t understand what they’re talking about, we should go back to our indigenous beliefs. They had wisdom and plenty of safety nets in them to help preserve our dignity and cultures!

In most of my writings, I always bring about a point why President Museveni has been here calling the shots for nearly 40 years. He knows that our traditional beliefs (Lubaale, Mayembe, etc.) are real things. He will invite the Christian Bishops for lunch today (they pray for him); tomorrow have Muslim sheikhs for supper (they Pray for Him) and then traditionalists headed by Maama Fiina will lead the rest of the ‘spiritual cleanser’ to chase ghosts from State House.

I know deep down that President Museveni sees clearly the logic apparent in respecting minority rights including gay people. But he is surrounded by people, call them ‘fake ‘politicians, who don’t comprehend things. Now many of them are being denied visas to America, Canada and Britain and you find them wide-eyed wondering what is happening!

The Greeks analogy of ‘citizens’ and ‘idiots’ made more sense here. If they called you an ‘idiot’, it was not a condemnation, but it was not a compliment either.

In the first analysis, unless one is crazy, you don’t start a war, no matter your reasons, with Bazungu. By the time they’re dome with you, like they did to Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe (who quarreled with Bazungu all his life), everyone in that country had become a criminal. 

By way of conclusion:

We simply have to seat down and deeply reflect on the kind of country we are building here and which our children will inherit. We have to start with selecting thoughtful leaders to represent us in all spheres of governance. We can’t allow ourselves to often always fall victims to emotions! 

Someone told me the other day that Ugandans are also suffering from what he termed as the “Cat Mentality”.  A disease which turns the cat into a natural-born thief. A cat will always steal even those things you give it freely. You put a plate in front of it; it will grab a piece of meat from it and run to the corner to eat it!

LAST WORD: “Great leaders don’t appease their followers. They don’t promise them a journey without hardships and don’t build into them thoughts of reaping bountiful rewards at the expense of the rest of society!”

Judge Aloysius Mujulizi

Adam Kamulegeya

0779 104 336

The post ADAM KAMULEGEYA: Why Ugandans are own enemies! appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.


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