The pillows on the morning of Thursday might have been softer when we woke, our breakfast might have been bigger both in quantity and diet, our bank accounts, of course, might have been healthier, what with the pronouncement by the President that Uganda was now in the lower middle income status?
Except that, like all of us, in the same breath that Kaguta Museveni announced us on the cusp of this ‘great economic feat’, he proceeded into a debilitating diatribe. He ranted about the economy and its incapacity. He bemoaned the failure of production to meet global consumption, he – and this is the one that caught me – shook his presidential dais to emphasize the point that the global trade was biased against Africa. You could easily forgive anyone watching for imagining that the leader of Opposition was speaking in a curtain-rising performance for the real head of state to come.
The president ranted about corruption, threatening that he knew the thieves but came short of catching them due to a lack of evidence, all this time, the Inspector General of Police sat there, possibly taking notes, and not stopping the address to take down a statement for further investigation; I can also imagine the cocktail of offices on Anti-corruption; IGG and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit swabbed their toothpicks, stared at the sun painting down the Kololo grounds and folded down their branded diaries.
The biggest revelation of the night came when, in front of the Minister of Trade and Industry and before our multifarious monster of ministers of finance, Museveni admitted that he pointed Enrica Pinetti, the shadowy and adumbral ‘investor’ into the direction of coffee.
The lady came to him with keen interest, but empty pockets, to invest in hospitals but from his manifestation of the glory of the coffee value chain, Pinetti would have done better, in his view, as a coffee processor, turning Uganda’s green beans into world class coffee variety ready to sell at the global market.
Wednesday was no mean day for Uganda. It was the day we witnessed, right before our own eyes the State of the Nation. The speaker of parliament drove into the venue with her custom-plate, triple A, Mercedes Benz having come from an office where she couldn’t reverse an earlier decision by her predecessors to buy double Benzes worth 2.1 billion shillings. Her hands however were not tied when she announced at the end of the session, that parliament was mooting a bill to cull in the knee ‘fake news’. On that one, she had agency!
But now that we are a lower middle income economy, it is important that we are told what that truly means. A day could be blocked out at UBC to educate us on the new privileges that come with our new status, a bill in parliament should infact be passed to include the status in each description of the country moving forward.
Lower Middle Income! Tuli Wano Tutuuse!