Four weeks of a very captivating FIFA 2018 World Cup came to an end on July 15 and most fans have since returned home. But around the world, the talk about Russia 2018 continues to reverberate. Much of media time and space also continue to be dedicated to discussing the games. In France, celebrations are still ongoing.
However, I was taken aback when I heard a statement on BBC to the effect that “The World Cup is over and the winner is Vladmir Putin!” Vladmir Putin? How does he come in the equation? They justified it saying by applauding how well organised the games were and how the Russians were very friendly and hospitable. This is against the backdrop where the Western media had portrayed Russia as an authoritarian regime characterised by the abuse of human rights and how nothing good could come out of Russia. There were very low expectations.
That is the real challenge for the world today - very low expectations. We expect Chinese goods to be substandard but still buy them, fuel to be adulterated, but still buy it, sugar to contain impurities, but we still take it, schools to offer half-baked education, but still send our children there, etc.
Our expectation is that the police and legal officers are corrupt, civil servants are inefficient, hospitals lack medicines, and roads are full of potholes. Around the world, many people do not expect anything good to come out of Africa. For instance, there are many people who believe that a visitor cannot be safe on the streets of Kampala, that there is unending fighting and indiscriminate killings. Some of us in Uganda also express similar fears about DR Congo and other countries. These biases are sometimes extremely damaging to the reputation of a country and its people.
President Putin has demonstrated that what other people say against you may not be correct. It took hosting the World Cup for Mr Putin the change the negative Western world perception about Russia. That is what corporate Uganda will do on Thursday (tomorrow, July 26), which is the Work Culture and Ethics Day. Imagine any writing on Uganda will be about high corruption level, low labour force productivity, high alcohol consumption, etc. This tells you how low we lie. But we do not have to remain down.
Tomorrow, Ugandans who believe that the tide must change and that we need to clean up our house, will be converging at Seven Trees in Kololo from 5pm to 6pm. The function, organised by the public and private sector organisations, is to mak a statement that ethical work culture is a collective effort. In a survey carried out by the Institute of Work Culture and Ethics in 2017, ethical work culture was defined as: “a work environment where agreed standards and values are encouraged and are consistently exhibited by employees even when no one is watching.” That is the destination we are striving to reach collectively and individually. We hope that our gathering at Seven Trees will make a commitment and walk the talk to that destination.