Recently I read an article from my good friend Mr. Kaheru about the inadequacy by different actors in proposing “solutions” to problems faced in Uganda. He is very right and I totally agree with him. Challenges, especially those that affect humanity need to be sorted for purposeful living. The country and the people of Uganda are experiencing several challenges including but not limited to political, economic, social, environmental etc.
While I agree with him, it is important to note that even where the solutions are presented, including the ones that are “shallow and not well thought out” as stated in the article, there seem to be no will from the leaders to absorb or embrace them. Regrettably, the duty bearers who should be interested and keen to find solutions to pressing challenges merely ignore the proposals. The nearest they can consider taking them up is when they want to use them manipulatively for personal or private or selective benefits.
Like several people, I have a number of times written and pointed out critical issues of concern especially in the areas of governance / democracy and human rights. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be accessed by the duty bearers or are merely ignored. Bad or poor governance is the order of the day and synonymous the current NRM leaders. In some of my pieces I, made proposals that in my view may provide solutions to the challenges. What I have come to realize is that the proposed solutions do not favour those that are to implement them. Where the proposal is likely to disadvantage the system or individuals, they water it down and give it no deserving attention.
I am aware of some of solutions that have been put forward by several writers. Like Mr. Kaheru says, they may not be smart but the message is loud and clear. I believe it is the duty of the technical public servants that should pick up the proposed ideas and build on them to provide bankable and lasting solutions but this is a myth in this country.
It is not strange to say that the current president and leaders in the NRM are a challenge to the country in term of how they manage the matters of national interest. If the peoples’ observation is right, the country is being run like a private enterprise. A key solution that is on the lips of reasonable, objective and forward-looking Ugandans is to deny the president and his team of sycophants continued stay in power by not voting them to the elective positions. Without mincing my words, a number of persons in the positions they are holding are not meant to be there. Available literature shows that, like a number previous presidential elections (2006,2011,2016), the results of the 2021 elections are up to today under contention and certainly those who observed the electoral process and the Elections Day activities suspect that the Electoral Commission announced unauthenticated results for the position of the president and some other positions, which did not reflect the choice of the voters. In one of my previous writings prior to the 2021 elections, I advised the electoral commission to go clean and be truthful and processing, handling and announcing the results. In their own wisdom, they decided to declare the results that were questionable and not fully expressing the will of the citizens. The commission has continued to play such games even during the by-elections. In view of this, I wish to reiterate the position of many Ugandans who propose that the selection of the leaders of the electoral commission should not be vested in the president and further state that the current leaders are not what the country deserves and desires.
The issue of poor governance especially regarding corruption is a pain. It appears that the people in the leadership of this country condone the practice and it is common knowledge that people have heard and seen the media publish statements made by the president and other leaders taking positions in favour of the corruption practices. There is a common saying that a fresh fish begins rotting from the head. If the heads of the leaders hold such attitudes, it is no wonder that corruption, theft and poor management of resources is flourishing. If the leaders of the country allow corruption to go on unchecked like it is in the roads sector, construction of government facilities, land purchase, classified expenditures, ghost workers in the military and other government offices, giving tax payers money to Individuals like Basajjabalaba in the name of compensation etc, when and who will end corruption. Solutions have been proposed to make corruption not only risky but a painful venture. What is observed is that corruption is on the rise and glorified.
Regarding Human Rights abuses and violations especially during elections and on matters that threaten the life presidency and life leadership of the NRM, again, there is too much literature and too many public calls and pronouncements that have been made regarding respect of human rights. These have been disregarded making Uganda’s human rights status be a subject of discussion at the global level. The killing of unarmed and innocent Ugandans and the arrest and imprisonment of persons on trumped up charges and on “orders from above” literary meaning orders from powerful and highly placed individuals in the country’s leadership hierarchy, including from the highest office in the country. Absurd as it is, what is heard from various media discussions is that there are persons in custody under the personal orders of the president. True or not, I don’t know but, where is the law? When does it and on who does it work? The president is aware that there are many people who are in custody on no case at all, yet just his word can let them out. The presidential prerogative gives him the power to pardon people and they get out of prison. Why can’t he do it. It Is said that the reason those people are in prison is political and not criminal, so much related to the scheme to the program to keep the president forcefully in power endlessly. The solution to this extent of human rights abuse, is to discontinue the presidency of the current president and block him from seeking another term of office. Even if it means seeking a specific legislation to this effect, it should be done, for it is a given fact that if he continues holding that office forcefully as it is now, more people will be imprisoned, tortured and killed. I also still hold the views I expressed in my earlier articles that Uganda’s presidency should be rotational as this would guarantee equity and equality plus a balanced distribution of resources to different regions of the country.
Concerning the environment, the effects of climate change are intensifying. One of the reasons why this is happening is because of vandalizing and poor management of the natural resources. Cutting down forests has been identified as a key influence in changing the climate. It has been reported many times that government supported activities that lead to erase forests are a common occurrence. The solution is simple in this case “Stop cutting trees and plant more instead. This call has been disregarded as more destruction is being done. An attack has been launched on the remaining forests in the country.
Therefore, for Uganda to get its problems sorted, the current leaders need to step aside. Their continued stay in leadership adds no value. The Baganda say that “akakyama amamera, bwokagolola nga kakulu kamenyeka” literary meaning that a mature tree if forced to bend will just break. This provides no solution. So are the NRM leaders.
John Mary Odoy, Senior citizen
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