I’ll eat a rat to launch war against poverty
Posted Sunday, March 17 2013 at 02:00
As you might all remember, a Tororo man in 2005 walked up to President Museveni with a live rat, proceeded to put the squeaky rodent in the mouth, chewed it and gracefully swallowed it up. Gerald Omaset was not a comedian staging an entertainment skit in a circus. He was an LC official protesting the delay to split Tororo so as to enable his Teso tribesmen in the area get a district of their own.
Elsewhere a few years later, a young Ugandan man whose name I forget heard a neighbour complaining that his sh20,000 note had fallen down the pit latrine.
The young man descended into the latrine pit in pursuit of the seven dollars or so. He never made it and his corpse was later fished out, covered with you-know-what.
And every year, hundreds of fights break out over European football matches.
All these show how energetic and daringly passionate our people can be when pursuing tribal political interests, entertainment or easy money. What if all that passion could be channeled into a bitter fight against all the bad bushes and we replace them with agricultural crops and intensively raised livestock?
Next time the President turns up for a public function and I am in the vicinity, I will pass by one of the many bushes around and capture a rat, put it in my pocket and head to the venue. Since the security metal detectors will not detect my rat – may it not squeak when they are frisking me - I will make my way to the front row and wait for him to stand up to address the people.
That is when I will pull out the rodent and in full view of his eyes, proceed to chew and swallow the damn creature. As the security men pick me and drag me off, I will go shouting my plea to His Excellency to declare war on redundant land and poverty. He will hear and I will leave the rest in his and God’s hands.
After my arrest, they might throw the book at me with many charges including disturbing the peace, behaving in a manner likely to annoy a dignitary, terrorism, being idle and disorderly etc.
Eventually, they will grant me bail. Then during my few minutes of fame, I will give press conferences to explain why I took the risk. Exploiting the media focus that will be on me for a short time, I will explain that Ugandans already have all they need to become prosperous, and all the foreign aid our leaders are looking for is
i) A waste of time.
ii) Just crippling our minds by afflicting us with the dependence syndrome.
iii) Driving the country deeper into debt and after 10 years, Uganda could be declared bankrupt and ruthless commercial lenders could buy the debt to enforce collection by seizing our assets including official revenues.
iv) Creating opportunities for thieves to steal and then we have to get meager resources from the impoverished treasury to pay back the stolen money to donor countries.
I would further inform the country (which doesn’t seem to be aware) that we have enough land and manpower in Uganda to generate several billion dollars a year in exports of agricultural output.
I will argue and demonstrate at that press conference that if ten thousand young men and women aged about 25 years are properly oriented and each is allocated ten acres off the idle land (which is available), and given a loan of ten million shillings, they can use their hands and simple tools with scientific knowledge to generate Shs200 million each per year after one and a half years of the first ground breaking.
I wouldn’t even worry about a few unserious defaulters since they would just be thrown out and the opportunity given to someone else. And I wouldn’t worry about the Shs10million loan each as it would total to just a hundred billion, amounting to a mere five per cent of the revenue government has already collected from oil concession transfers, and in any case, the loan to the young farmers would be recoverable for lending to entrepreneurs in other fields outside agriculture.
So by utilising some of our idle land, a mere ten thousand young people can generate two trillion shillings per year.
Even if they cancel my bail and return me to jail after that, I would have delivered the message, and it is up to the public and the government to follow up or not.