Wednesday December 29 2010

Uganda’s corrupt and poor are caught in a deadly death dance

By Charles Onyango-Obbo

I just spent a couple of days in the village. And I feel I was fortunate to get away from the big city and visit the countryside in the heat of the presidential campaign for the February 2011 Uganda general election.

I have been reading the campaign manifestos of the various candidates, and asking myself which one of them best speaks to the big issues facing the country. I got my answer on an extended trek I made on foot through the various villages on Christmas Day.

The experience told me that most of the candidates’ traditional approach to politics no longer offers meaningful answers to the urgent problems the poor of the country face.

As a radical young man travelling through some of these villages many, many years ago, I remember two things. First, there were more homes. Secondly, the gardens were more diverse--people had bananas, beans, potatoes, and every compound had a few goats tethered at the edge of the garden. Also, they used to have a lot of (now long-disappeared) sheep.

You see the same emasculated countryside life in the Buganda region, chunks of western Uganda, and vast expan