NOTES ON CONCEALMENT OF GENOCIDE

In April 1990 while in Lusaka, former President of Uganda H.E Apollo Milton Obote penned a long missive, “Notes on the concealment of genocide!” In that missive he laboured to explain what he saw as a deterministic enterprise to exterminate sections of the populace of Uganda who were perceived to be hostile to the National Resistance Movement.

At that time there used to be some what was called “mop up” operations. Woe unto you if you were the subject of interest in these mop up operations. A popular method of incapacitating you was the “Kandoya!” Kandoya meant pushing the shoulders behind so that the shoulder bones joined then tying the hands firm from elbow up leaving the chest portended in a grotesque ‘D’ shape. Then they fell on you from all sides with sticks and boots and metal and all sort of inventive weapons.

After they had had their feel they threw you with whatever little life you had left on the back of a pick up and you were sent barracks. Many people did not return; these were very dark days in the history of this country. Asked about this kandoya the leader of the republic had this to say, “I don’t know about torture. I have educated myself on many things but on torture I have not known the boundary between what is torture and what isn’t torture. I know the NRA tie these people (rebels, etc.) when they catch them. They tie their hands backwards. I am now being told that is torture. It is the traditional method.” (Daily Nation – Nairobi – January 26, 1987)

For details on this and more go to http://www.upcparty.net/obote/genocide.htm

I recall a couple of men who were being accused of plotting treason: Omara Atubo, Tiberio Atwoma Okeny, Zachary Olum, and a few others. All men were well past their 60’s in years. They were flogged, frog matched before being brought to court; defying the myth that old men cannot engage in robust military drills. They went through a most exciting episode that they could not believe  was within their ability. All this time their tormentor was watching the episode like a great Roman emperor in the gladiator’s arena. Some of them are still alive to this day.

So it is no so much suprise at the recent turn out of events and the fate of Hon Robert Kyagulanyi, for a leopard cannot change its spots, but just an overwhelming sense of melancholy that we fail to realize that this country cannot be good for any of us if we  do not make it good for all of us.

 

Cry the Beloved country.

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NOTES ON CONCEALMENT OF GENOCIDE

In April 1990 while in Lusaka, former President of Uganda H.E Apollo Milton Obote penned a long missive, “Notes on the concealment of genocide!” In that missive he laboured to explain what he saw as a deterministic enterprise to exterminate sections of the populace of Uganda who were perceived to be hostile to the National Resistance Movement.

At that time there used to be some what was called “mop up” operations. Woe unto you if you were the subject of interest in these mop up operations. A popular method of incapacitating you was the “Kandoya!” Kandoya meant pushing the shoulders behind so that the shoulder bones joined then tying the hands firm from elbow up leaving the chest portended in a grotesque ‘D’ shape. Then they fell on you from all sides with sticks and boots and metal and all sort of inventive weapons.

After they had had their feel they threw you with whatever little life you had left on the back of a pick up and you were sent barracks. Many people did not return; these were very dark days in the history of this country. Asked about this kandoya the leader of the republic had this to say, “I don’t know about torture. I have educated myself on many things but on torture I have not known the boundary between what is torture and what isn’t torture. I know the NRA tie these people (rebels, etc.) when they catch them. They tie their hands backwards. I am now being told that is torture. It is the traditional method.” (Daily Nation – Nairobi – January 26, 1987)

For details on this and more go to http://www.upcparty.net/obote/genocide.htm

I recall a couple of men who were being accused of plotting treason: Omara Atubo, Tiberio Atwoma Okeny, Zachary Olum, and a few others. All men were well past their 60’s in years. They were flogged, frog matched before being brought to court; defying the myth that old men cannot engage in robust military drills. They went through a most exciting episode that they could not believe  was within their ability. All this time their tormentor was watching the episode like a great Roman emperor in the gladiator’s arena. Some of them are still alive to this day.

So it is no so much suprise at the recent turn out of events and the fate of Hon Robert Kyagulanyi, for a leopard cannot change its spots, but just an overwhelming sense of melancholy that we fail to realize that this country cannot be good for any of us if we  do not make it good for all of us.

 

Cry the Beloved country.

The axis of Responsibility and Planet Earth

Driving along the thoroughfare of Kampala or if one is so inclined on a well built road to the farther flung areas of Uganda, one is confronted by a scenery so picturesque, and sublime that the stress that one has endured seem to evaporate almost immediately. The conscientious traveler is however, struck by scattered evidence of debris carelessly littering the roadside: plastic bottles for soda, mineral water, carbonated drinks, plastic cups for various milk derivatives and yogurt, to mention but a few.

If you are unfortunate you will witness these objects flying from cars as the owners, ostensibly sane and well to do but definitely ill bred or they don’t know better, fling the now empty vessels of the varied yogurts, fizzy drinks, and other such drinks. The reckless abandon with which they discard this waste would indicate to a logical thinker that they think Uganda is one huge dustbin.

The recent world cup demonstrated a clear culture of cleanliness among the Japanese fans. Immediately after the game they carefully went through the trash that was generated during the match and put the trash where the trash was supposed to be put. Such exemplary behavior soon endeared them to many footballing fans and several other teams adopted this behavior.

In consideration of the correctness or wrongness of an act we are invited to discuss the ethics of the said act or omission. One branch of Ethics asks that an act be considered good or bad if it brings happiness to the greatest number. This branch of Ethics is called Utilitarianism. In assessing the goodness or badness of throwing garbage out of car windows we fail from first principles to determine that it can bring happiness to any of the persons. Why we could further consider the immense danger posed to many future generations by careless disposal of waste.

Kant’s ethical considerations, puts the judgment of the good and badness of an action basing on if we would will that the way we have behaved be a universal behavior. “Act only according to that maxim that you will at the same time be universal law!” We need to get those trash throwers and confirm if their conduct is of such purity that they will it be universal law.

The world will rue the developments that led to plastics in ordinary and widespread usage. Environmental experts estimate that within 30 years the oceans will be more full of plastics than of fish. Worst is that as the fish eat the plastics we are in inadvertently feeding ourselves with plastic! This poses huge health concerns given the non-biodegradable nature of plastics.

And before you contend that oceans are far, I invite you to look at the drainage channels near us and see the biggest causes of blockages. This notwithstanding the fact that the plastics have potential of application in recycling for a sum of money. We need to smart up!IMG_20170305_093742

The Question of Food Security

In the preface of his legendary treatise, “The Art of war,” Sun Tzu declares, “The Art of war is a vital importance to the state, it is a matter of life and death. and can on no account be ignored!” Sun Tzu, then proceeds to discuss varied principles, tactics, considerations, and stratagems that ought to form the calculations  of a General in his temple. The great strategist posits that it is quite possible to determine the outcome of any battle when he analyses these considerations even without watching the battle.

The mischief of produce buyers has been brought to my attention. Calling the farmers, they assure the farmers of a ready and good price for fruits. Where upon acting on the goodwill and entreaties the farmers fell their crop and await the magnanimous purchasers. These buyers soon come with over sized bags where they proceed to stuff colossal harvests without weighing, daring the farmer to stop them if he doesn’t need the money. Torn with the options of loosing the entire fruit that cannot be re-glued  on the trees the sad and tragic option is obvious. And with a heavy heart and not few tears the sad farmer aids the modern day pirates packing the loot.

This is the problem of lacking sufficient warehouse systems and procedures to store goods post harvest. President Museveni has more than once dwelt on the donations of raw materials to the developed economies. Around this axis lies the reasons for the economic stagnation of Africa. We must be able to develop factories and cottage industries for value addition. And its clear to me some of the initiatives needed in this regard are not many. They even fall within the investments that our Members of Parliament squander on dubious foreign trips.

The recent glut in production of maize has brought once again this problem to the fore. Prices falling up to the floor of 200 UGHS below the costs of production. It is fortunate government has come up with a temporal solution for buying at 500 UGX. But this should not have necessitated the intervention if we creatively developed industries along the value chain. We would not only be saving FOREX but also creating employment, reduce delinquency, vagabonds, and more importantly adding fuel to our targeted propulsion to middle income status.

I invite you to join me in this patriotic endeavour as we search for solutions to this challenge.

 

The Lunatic Line and Metallic Balloon

“The British art of ‘muddling through’ is here seen in one of its finest expositions. Through everything—through the forests, through the ravines, through troops of marauding lions, through famine, through war, through five years of excoriating Parliamentary debate, muddled and marched the railway.” Winston Churchill.

The above quote is attributed to Sir Winston Churchill as he remarked of the challenges the promoters and explorers, joined under the Imperial British East African company (IBEA0 had to go through to ensure that the railway, that the British Parliament had dubbed the lunatic line came to fruition. The said lunatic express met fearsome resistance in the floors of the British Parliament that it was  miracle that it came to completion at the end of it all.

The stoic resolution of the British populace comes to mind when we as a country are considering the purchase of some fancy airplanes; metallic balloons if you care to be uncharitable. Suddenly every arm chair pundit is an expert of planes. And in many cases citing the failures of the Uganda Airlines as the reason why the new airlines is likely to fail. Let us reconsider the British example.

After meeting and defeating the politicians problem after problem came upon the implementation of the railway. To start with were the mosquitoes and tropical diseases that killed many workers. Nandi tribes, they used to be called natives, run mock, and when the mosquitoes or the Nandis were resting or  were being managed, another set of wild beasts; the man eaters of Tsavo, wrecked mayhem on the workers of the lunatic line. The situation became so dire that it requires some sharp shooter, like the ones M7 wants to give Ugandan parliamentarians, to come on scene. The sharp shooter, that was tailor made for this purpose was named Lieutenant- Colonel John Henry Patterson.

Massive desertions took place under his watch as workers petrified of two lions that defied all conventions and obstacles to drag and eat workers out of their tents. All manners of safe guards were maintained, including curfews, but the killings escalated. When after a fairly long quest Lt-Col J.H killed beasts; one on 9th and another on 29th December 1899, the workers presented him with a bowl inscribed with the following words,

SIR, – We, your Overseer, Timekeepers, Mistaris and Workmen, present you with this bowl as a token of our gratitude to you for your bravery in killing two-man-eating lions at great risk to your own life, thereby saving us from the fate of being devoured by these terrible monsters who nightly broke into our tents and took our fellow-workers from our side. In presenting you with this bowl, we all add our prayers for your long life, happiness and prosperity. We shall ever remain, Sir, Your grateful servants,

Baboo PURSHOTAM HURJEE PURMAR, Overseer and Clerk of Works, on behalf of your Workmen. Dated at Tsavo, January 30, 1899.”

To Patterson it was his most precious and prized possession; he had claimed victory from the mouth of defeat!

We can also consider the gentleman called Andrew Carnegie who dissatisfied with the transport arrangements in Illinois proceeded to give it his all to construct a structure across a huge river to connect  St Louis Missouri and East St Louis Illinois. The structure costs about 10 MN USD in 1874 valuated at about 200 MN USD of today’s value. The construction near about ruined him as he was beset on all sides by bankers demanding their money. All this goes to show that a wise man would move slowly to quickly condemn investments in infrastructure. No all the things that count can be counted and not all the things that are countable count.

In the pursuit of economic development it will be necessary to adopt new technologies to facilitate the transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial based economy. The continuing population boom means that making mistakes might be a necessary medicine we are bound to pay in this learning curve. And its not as if we are asking every Ugandan to be boarding the plane.

At about the same time Uganda Airlines was failing the National Resistance Movement in eagerness to spur agricultural activity in the country looked for financing and created the Rural Farmers’ Scheme. To say it was a massive flop is an under-statement. Indeed if it was only on this past history no one would have touched agricultural financing in Uganda in our life time.

 

President Museveni Save us from UMEME WOLF (ESKOM)

In earlier missives I have written at length on this concessionaire; but let us not use big words. I have written at length on the contract between the people who ensure that we get electricity that is key to our various operations as citizens of the republic of Uganda. Before 2001 the entire mandate for generating energy and distributing it was in the hands of one company- The Uganda Electricity Board (UEB). It was said that in order to improve efficiencies it was necessary to restructure the UEB and handle the issue of ensuring Ugandans got power was managed by experts.

The experts chosen for this purpose was Eskom; which is a state – owned energy company in South Africa. One need not to be a management consultant to begin to eye this thing dubiously; the whole reason for privatization was to run away from inefficiencies in government to the private sector. It was not to substitute local inefficiencies for imported inefficiencies.

One’s eyes raise farther when it is considered that the effective date for counting the concession was four full years after the disbanding of UEB.  What was happening in this blacked out period? Why was the effective date forwarded to four years? Is this normal practice? It smacks of irresponsibility, or collusion. The current structure is very well suited for the so called commercial losses. These structural bottlenecks can be eliminated.

Eskom was granted a twenty year concession since 2001. During this period the number of subscribers grew from 292,000 to 951000, as per the UMEME’s Financial Statement of 2016. (The 2017 seems to have been taken down from the official website.) During the same period the sales increased from 1015 to 2567 Giga Watt Hour. (GWH) Notably energy losses are reported down from 38% to 19% representing a 50% loss over a 13 year period. This may push the prudent man to question the ability or desire of Eskom Uganda, the son of Eskom SA, who own the  concession, to reduce the losses!

According to the World Bank Data, in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Countries (OECD) the losses of energy are averaged at 6%,  in Latin America and the Carribean this rate is 17%, low income countries have been averaged at 15%; the outlier in this is Nigeria with losses standing at 46%! The reasons made for this losses are picked from the same text book, to wit: technical, commercial and collection issues.

The technical reasons are ogres which we shall evaluate at an appropriate time. All that can be said for technical reason is that they are the easiest to trouble shoot! What we can discuss immediately is to be able to determine the impact of Yaka on collection. Where there is Yaka the company’s collection costs should be tending towards zero! Yet looking at UMEME’s financials the reduction in losses from 2015 to 2016 was a paltry 0.5%!

Commercial reasons are also easy to troubleshoot and this shall be the subject of our next discussion with General Yoweri Museveni Kaguta. If we defeated Kony surely these chaps can also be defeated.

Back in South Africa Eskom is embroiled in controversy after controversy.  Financiers are unwilling to inject more money in it and corruption scandals dog it like a dogs tail. It has had 10 Managing Directors over 10 year period and 6 Boards! Does a snake beget lizards? It has a case of irregular spending or 1.4 BN USD; irregular spending which experts contend is greater than the budget for health and education. And it is irrefutable that continued investigations have been terminated for the express purpose of shrouding its affairs in more darkness and mystery.

The consequences of this is easy to see: continued tariff hikes, blackouts in areas where people are less likely to complain like up country stations and low penetration. As we aim towards middle income status we need to get partners with whom, not only do we share but also have the ability to run at our pace. Run at our pace without overburdening the final consumers with high tariffs that impede growth  and development.