Today is the last day of the year 2017. Many Ugandans will, at an individual level, be looking back at the year with a mixture of satisfaction and disappointment. For many, a lot of the goals set at the beginning of the year remained elusive, while for many others, a lot of good things happened. That’s the reality of life; you win some and lose some.
At a higher level as a nation, there are few good things to look back to, as well as bad things that we would rather never came to pass.
One of the good things going for the country was that inflation that in the previous years had made the cost of living to shoot through the roof was more controlled. Prices largely remained the same, enabling citizens to plan their expenditures well.
But there were many bad things. There was famine in Isingiro and Teso sub-regions that claimed some lives and destabilised livelihood. Fortunately, there was quick intervention – unfortunately mostly by foreign countries – that helped put some food on the table.
Among the terrible things were the unexplained – and unresolved – killings and robberies in the Masaka area that left many dead and a lot of property lost to thugs that had been so emboldened that they would even send advance notice!
The other was the killings of women in and around Entebbe and Nansana areas. At least 29 women were murdered in the most gruesome manner and to-date, no one has been convicted of the crimes.
As the year was closing, the country perhaps witnessed the most significant political development whereby Parliament, sitting in two days, passed very significant amendments to the Constitution, despite counsel from religious leaders and elders that the matter in question – removal of age caps on the presidency – was so crucial to our democracy that it should have been subjected to a referendum.
While this development may have come in the closing weeks of the year, it will in many ways define the next year. Many Ugandans will, therefore, be praying that the government, the opposition and civil society, approach the aftermath of passing the Bill with a lot of sobriety and put country first!
Tonight, the President will make his traditional New Year address to the country. As he speaks, many Ugandans will be reading his body language, his lips and his words to see any signs of a new approach to the country’s intractable political and economic problems.
Happy New Year to you our readers!