By Raymond Mugume
President Museveni has just concluded his countrywide Wealth Creation Tour where he has been preaching against subsistence farming which in his view is an archaic tradition. It is archaic because it does not apply in current world. Subsistence was workable at the precolonial times when money was of very little uses and barter trade was the medium of exchange for valuables. People reared livestock not for any commercial plans but home use as they planned on using the animals for dowry.
The old man with the hat, I believe, before setting out on this Wealth Creation Tour had realized how many Ugandans are continuing to live in atrocious poverty even when government and other agencies have tried to intervene on various levels. With families living in leaking shelters, living on one or no meal a day, hardly affording books to at least send children to UPE Schools, and many other sad situations, he knew that things are not in order. It is sad that many people still believe he was down for campaign purposes.
Henry Ssuubi, who many at first were saying comes from a poor family is a twin brother of mine in terms of economic status. I also come from a family that is not well to do, actually, he is a representative of a million others. I have a strong belief that there are hundreds of other freshmen who have joined Makerere University that are even worse that Henry. While he carried a metallic suit case and an “Osoufia” bag, I know someone that joined in our year with only an Osoufia and a sack, “akakotiya.”
The attention that was given to Henry was due, someone tweeted his picture to get likes and retweets just as Ugandans on Twitter glorify putting down others in the name of trolling. The fortunate side of it is that the trolled was a lucky one, he should have bathed in “olwezza” herbs or said the rosary before leaving home because his picture being ridiculed got him into life changing moments.
How real poverty is in Uganda demonstrates itself in how many people are wishing that their pictures had been taken too so that the Allan Kasujja’s and Cedric Babu’s of this world would bless them with money and freebies. It reminds me of the times I used to go to a certain church and the pastor would give money to most of the people that would make it to the pulpit to give testimony and now it became a gold mine to get there to be given money and people would struggle to even tell lies so they can be given money.
It is weird how the problem of poverty is being tackled from the result and not the cause. Instead of encouraging people to work so hard, people are being given examples of cash to the unhappy. Uganda being a country with largely a favorable climate where almost every crop can grow, we have a great change to do farming as a business, engage in fishing commercially for those near water bodies and do other economic activities not waiting on the rich to be sympathetic and give to us off their hard earned incomes.
I wish we could all embrace the call of President Museveni about commercialization of what we are doing to build wealth. You don’t have to like the current government to like the Wealth Creation Message. A priest friend of mine, said the poor don’t go to heaven because they expect to keep crying and eat from the mercy of the rich. And so when the rich do not give them, they curse. We need to wake up, work hard, create wealth and go to heaven.