Realities of the myth of this country’s economic progress
Posted Tuesday, February 26 2013 at 02:00
Almost every day we read adverts in the newspapers of real estate and other properties being sold by clients of court brokers. These clients often happen to be financial institutions wishing to recover money lent to borrowers who have failed to repay their loans.
In many of Kampala’s arcades, it is becoming commonplace to find shops closed with signs that the occupants left hurriedly –probably sneaked out in the night without paying rent as the business collapsed.
Many children are still seated at home a month after the school term opened for lack of school fees and the change in policy that requires students to pay at the beginning of the term because the schools can no longer work without the fees advance.
University students at Makerere protesting the payment of 60 per cent of their tuition in the first six weeks has already given us a riot. The prices of basic commodities like food and that of fuel is ever on the increase, giving shoppers less for more money spent.
Most local governments have failed to carry out their mandate of providing social services because there is no money from the central government, which has also fallen back in payment of salaries.
The statistics may be rosy on paper, but life is not lived on paper. The economic realities of our times make all the nice figures on inflation, the percentages of those who have been lifted out of poverty and economic growth due to ‘the good macroeconomic policies of the government’, look like a myth.
RIP Mzee Amos Kaguta
To the sad passing of 96-year-old Amos Kaguta, father of President Museveni.
When this old man reportedly refused to be flown out of the country for better treatment, he was most likely counting his blessings. These days, thanks to diseases and accidents, it has become a norm to bury people in their 20s and 30s and we refer to 50-year-olds as old men/women. Mzee Kaguta almost made a century in a fairly good state of health.
He lived to see his children, grand children and great grand children, grow in an era where parents and grandparents make a large part of the funeral party that buries their offspring.
Then there is the intriguing fact that with all the murders and disappearances of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, he remained in the country while his famous son fought most of the governments of the day.
Also according to his son, Museveni, Mzee Kaguta had the opportunity of contributing to a Thesaurus of one of our local languages in the Katondozi y’Orunyankore-Rukiga.
Credit to his son Museveni as well for not letting the old man pass on with his vast knowledge and experience of this language. Many language experts are warning with great trepidation that in the next 50 years, many indigenous languages will be extinct as we transact most of our day to day business in the so-called ‘international languages’. Recording indigenous languages is one of the recommendations. May Mzee Kaguta’s soul rest in eternal peace!
The tale of a good cop
A few weeks ago, a riot broke out in Lira Government Prison. The inmates were correctly dissatisfied with long periods they spent on remand. According to the NTV footage, the police led by the regional police commander of Lower Kyoga Region, Mr Richard Aruk Maruk, came in to help the Prisons warders to contain the chaotic situation.
When the angry warders used excessive force to brutally beat up the prisoners in front of the cameras, the police made a vigorous effort to stop them. RPC Aruk restrained them by commanding that he did not want anyone to beat the prisoners because ‘they too have rights’.
Whether Maruk was playing to the gallery is another matter altogether. But in a day and age where the Uganda police beat up and molest (in the case of Ingrid Turinawe) citizens, vandalise property as they have done incessantly to the cameras of journalist covering riots, etc., this effort is worth mentioning and seriously commending. You wish it were not a one off or part of a well orchestrated charade.
Mr Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues. email@example.com