Permit me, as courtesy demands, to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year, even though I know you will not be happy and prosperous. You will have to contend with an economy that enslaves rather than provides opportunity for you to prosper and be happy. You will have to contend with a broken and ailing health care system.
You will have to send your children to a school system that spreads illiteracy rather than education!
These have and will continue to characterise y/our lives. The ruling oligarchy will continue to peddle empty rhetoric and pay lip service to provision of public amenities. The news media (both traditional and new) will as usual, be awash with grotesque corruption and other governance scandals.
We shall be sold various statistics that peddle half truths about Uganda’s phenomenal, if not magical, economic growth that are hardly evident in y/our lives.
Mothers giving life will continue to be statistics in maternal mortality rates. These statistics will at most, be used for lecture in universities, and maybe advocacy, that yield little results, if any, in redressing this problem.
Meanwhile, the ruling class will continue to live in ostentation. They will send their children to the most expensive elite private schools.
They will be flown abroad to seek specialised medical care whenever they suspect a cold. They will continue to grab huge chunks of land for farming and building state-of-the-art houses.
To sustain and consolidate their firm grip on the levers of power, the kleptocratic regime will share the crumbs and or spoils of the largesse with the political Opposition. This is mainly for two reasons: Rent an otherwise absent organic support and garner some degree of legitimacy to abate their rule.
So, the political Opposition will also be treated to a life of ostentation. They will also send their children to expensive elite schools. They too will be flown abroad to seek specialised treatment. They will as well be allowed to amass wealth. They will acquire huge swathes of land to build mansions and open up ranches.
All these will be done at the expense of the citizenry.
Then, consciously or unconsciously, the political Opposition becomes complicit to the leadership malaise. They perpetuate misery and sorrow on the people they purport to lead.
That is why, when the regime organises what is clearly a shambolic election, the political Opposition rushes to participate in it, well aware that such elections will not yield to any substantial change.
As a people, therefore, we are faced with a political situation that has united the political Opposition with the reigning kleptocracy to continue fleecing the citizens and perpetuate mayhem, misery and sorrow among the people of Uganda. It is a conspiracy of the political (Opposition/government) class against the people of Uganda.
It is thus unrealistic to expect a conspired political class to engender change in Uganda today. They will want to perpetuate the status quo because it benefits both sides of the divide. We shall argue against participating in the façade that our electoral democracy is, and they will resist us. Why? Because participating in elections will allow them enjoy the largesse of the kleptomania.
We shall argue against promoting debates that suggest that times are normal to participate in activities and processes of the despot’s institutions and they will argue forcefully against it. Yet, in their heart of hearts, they know the truth. They know that change will not come through activities and processes birthed by institutions of the regime.
What, therefore, should we do as citizens to change our future? We must refuse to buy in to the deceptive electoral democracy narrative constructed by a conspired political class. We ought to resist the narrative that seeks to perpetuate the status quo. We must as well, reject activities and processes that are presided over by the despot’s institutions.
It is evidently clear that the political class has neither the willingness, intention, nor the organisation to deliver change. We can no longer entrust them with our futures. We need as citizens to rise to the occasion and shape our destiny. Let us seek a new approach to cause change. We should mobilise and organise ourselves to say no to barren elections. We must seek a new dispensation that should come through negotiations as the Kenyans did with Daniel arap Moi. We can’t continue doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results!
The writer is a member of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) national executive committee.