A few days ago I was telling a friend security doesn’t necessarily mean absence of war. The fact we are not another Syria,Yemen or Pakistan doesn’t mean we are secure either. Security takes many forms and for entrepreneurship/business it takes more than just military security for investment to flourish.
Last week China’s richest man and Alibaba proprietor Jack Ma was in Kenya accompanied by a team of 40 other multi billion dollar rich entrepreneurs. We have seen Mark Zuckerberg the worlds sixth richest man and entrepreneur visit Kenya. I don’t know if any of you have ever taken time to ask yourselves why Kenya!? I mean despite the pockets of violence and terror attacks here and there that have come to define the state of security in Kenya. Yes, its only right to say that Uganda is far more secure militarily than Kenya is but is still attracting more and better investment than we are doing as a country.
Last week I watched as our president got not only defensive but also evasive when asked about the mooted issue of striking the presidential age limit from the constitution. The president’s response to the question underlined the political environment in the country. Uncertain!? The political situation in this country is as uncertain as the president’s answer to whether him and his cohorts plan to lift the age limit to enable the old man stand yet again and maybe fulfill his dream of being life president as it has gotten to appear over years.
If there’s any thing that puts off or scares away genuine investment then its uncertainty especially on a continent where change of power has always been characterised by violence,blood shed and war. Its easier to invest in a war torn area than in a politically uncertain environment. Certainty is good for business and encourages investment. Personally I would rather invest in an environment where am sure of whats going on or going to happen even if its in a war ravaged environment as long as its the certainty of the day rather than putting my money in an investment environment where am not sure whats going to happen next and that’s the environment our political class has created here. An environment of illusion,unpredictability and uncertainty. Like the saying, better the devil you know. It’s better to know your dealing with the devil and know how to deal with the situation than dealing with some one you cant place anywhere. Some one that’s always seating on the fence and not being clear of what their next move will be. This causes all players to hold back their cards in anticipation of what the next move will be and it’s out come.
Its why despite his (president’s) glob trotting efforts in hunt for investors, we as a country have failed to attract any major headliner investors save for the few questionable (questions linger of whether they are real investors or proxy investors for the local political class) investors from the east. It takes more than just military security to attract investment. Actually some of the biggest businesses are done in war ravaged areas like the middle east but uncertainty is not healthy for investment. Money and uncertainty are like water and oil,they don’t mix. So for as long as the heads of this country continue to play elusive politics it will always affect investment potential in the country. This is why I think this ” I will react if the stubborn people keep being stubborn” kinda attitude doesn’t help the situation. I would prefer a situation where the president is straight with what it is he wants to do next. If he wants to stand again let him make it clear. If he wants to rule for life let him also make that clear, and whether the citizens will allow it or not will be a debate for another time because it already looks hr has almost ruled all his life already. So for now lets deal with this uncertainty which has characterised the presidents time in power over his 30 year rule.
Investment during Amin’s time was made easy because he declared himself life presidency and people learned how to deal with it making the most out of that period. Its not late, you too can declare yourself life president, Mr. president other than being elusive about it. It will be the best decision for our economy and investment here. It will take away the guessing and in decisiveness that holds investment.
Jaluum Herberts Luwizza is
writer,speaker and business consultant with YOUNG TREP East Africa’s No Business Management and Consultancy firm that helps people start and grow profitable businesses.
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