Why are Uganda’s intellectuals not speaking out for the country?

Thursday November 8 2018


By John Wanda

The comment titled, ‘Not lending us SGR money might be the best thing China has done for us’ by Daniel Kalinaki is the best article I have read in the Daily Monitor of November 1 in a long, long time.

Question though is, where were you and all the learned people of Uganda all these years? Why couldn’t you have made a case like this two, three, four years ago? Did it have to take China to turn down the loan, and for the government to withdraw the idea, for you and others to lay out these arguments?
You wrote a very compelling argument.

Suppose you had laid it out clearly like this in every Daily Monitor edition these last four years; suppose all Uganda’s economists and intellectuals had made such reasoned arguments all along?

Uganda almost went over the cliff with this deal. At $14 billion, Uganda would have more than doubled its debt. The eventual cost would have been double that. And the benefits half what was suggested.

We, the ordinary people, want our opinion leaders, our intellectuals, our economists, etc, to speak out when things are wrong. We want to hear your voices when government concocts numbers.

We want you to beat the drums loud and clear. Even a government as deaf as this one would listen if all intellectuals expressed their conscience.

We now have this imagination that Uganda will lift off into a high income country by 2020 or 2030. That we are at a take off stage. That we can double or triple our income in a few years.

Nary an economist shoots this fantasy down. What has become of us? Truly, where is our integrity? When our economists keep quiet, people assume there is some truth in the government’s arguments. Those arguments are as hollow as the drums they are beating.
My two cents, Bwana Kalinaki.

John Wanda,
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