ECONOMY MIGHT JUST GO BWECHUI

A high ranking government official, the embodiment of the highest echelon in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning was recently captured on Social Media platforms exclaiming that the economy was about to go, in his own words, “bwechuiiii!” The Google translator and other such applications fell short in giving meaning to this bwechuii and the on looker was constrained to interpreter it using oral similitude.

Having searched, and this was no easy-light-heart endeavor, we find that the nearest to “bwechui” is the sound of a plane in take off modus. Thus, we inferred that the Minister must mean that the economy was about to enter take off stage.

Put in consideration and juxtaposed with the promise of Uganda hitting middle income status by 2020 one was tempted to assign such commentary to the “seen bin”; having seen it not other energy would be spent or time wasted over it.

Fortunately for me, the journey to Pajule is a whole 6 hours today; down from an estimated 18 hours. For all their failures, the GOU has always mentioned its priority areas: the eradication of insurgency in Northern Uganda(defeating Kony; militarily), energy, roads as areas that I remember. We shall examine these at the end of this missive.

In addition to this, my curious mind has allowed me a peek into government interventions like the e-government strategy, the agricultural sector development plan and a host of other strategies to give the economy the much needed shot in the arm. Today government in partnership with some banks is able to deliver extension services to over 400,000; who have embraced technology. the government spend on the cotton sub-sector could help highlight reasons for my remarked reduced skepticism.

Information from the MAAIF indicate positive impact the sector has had on family/household income, in cotton growing areas, from 135 Bn UGX to 187 BN UGX between 2016/17 and 2017/18. This could be directly attributed to the intervention by the GOU with inputs of quality: 2647 MT of cotton seed, 1230,700 one Acre Units of pesticides, 5156 litters of herbicides 481 Mt of fertilizers and 3,040 spray pumps to 200,000 farmers in cotton growing areas.

And before you say this is propaganda it would be helpful to point out that bordering our ancestral home in Pajule is a huge edifice established by the Cotton Development Authority set to employ over 1000 Pajuleans; these are irrefutable facts. The Baganda have something about transactions with a mad man and also little meat quarrel. When this plane goes Bwechui it will have many Pajuleans on board.

As promised, let us re-examine some of the priorities of the government of Uganda. Kony was defeated, load-shedding substantially reduced, roads from Kampala to: Kasese, Kisoro, Arua, Kitgum, Soroti all are tarmacadam! There are on going interventions in the agricultural sector which will ensure the rise and shine of the Pearl of Africa once again.

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A CRISIS OF CREDIBILITY

A battle is being played out in the media and in the blue corner we have the Uganda Police batting against social media army bent of disbelieving and tainting the force in a bad light. The affair started off with the unfortunate demise of a young singer Micheal Kalinda; aka Ziggy Wine- a member of the People power movement and singer in the fire base crew.

Micheal Kalinda showed up with wounds and ostensibly an eye gouged out. The statement made by the forces at the time was that no investigation could be made since no one had filed a compliant. Things took a turn for the worst and Ziggy Wine demised. It was from this point that the police took active interest in the matter. They collected a witness who narrated some kind of accident and a windy story; and making a claim of being knocked in the same accident. The police on the basis of this narrative wrote a long winded letter taking the accident narrative, which many persons have not read since it does not fit the “facts” as they would like it to be.

Officious bystanders then started asking funny questions, mischievous one went a step further and said the lady in question looked and was in-fact a Police officer based in Serere. Police units were dispatched and the police woman in question was brought to Kampala to make an official statement and more importantly take a photo juxtaposed with the accident lady.

In all these public relations with a dubious and doubting public questions linger on the bike that some say lacked the qualities of a bike that had been in an accident, the said accident victim does not display any wounds or scars. And the obvious hurried and stampeded reactions of the police beggars belief.

The problem here is a reputational problem; a crisis of credibility. The same forces presented to the public, after the Arua fracas guns alleged to be owned by Honourable Robert Kyagulanyi. In full glare of the camera. They have since gone on to be totally quiet. A limping and tortured Bobi Wine was presented to court in clutches for a litany of cases arising from an allegation of stoning the president’s convoy; he is still battling the charges and recently it was deemed necessary to add more charges arising from the same incident.

Such circuses dent the image of the institutions and erodes the confidence they held and thus eroded they as pillars of oppression invoke derision, mockery, contempt, invective, and mischief like the bottle thrown at them. Reputation is everything guard it at all costs.

MYEL PA ACOLI

By now the observant you has noticed, with your usual keen intelligence, the absence of the letter “h” in Acoli. With your energy and virtuosity you are keen to ask me to right the wrong, where upon, with the sagacity, that becomes me well, I elucidate that Acoli is the correct spelling and not with an H.

Observing the quizzical look on your face I will then continue to explain that, “Myel pa Acoli!” means the “Dances of the Acoli.” If you truly believe that we can discuss the entire range of Acoli dances on this forum you must be smoking some powerful stuff; of which no doubt I needs a sample.

The most popular ones though are the Orak, aka Larakaraka, Dingi Dingi, Otole, Bwola, Obet, Ajere, Apita, Aguma, lakubu kubu, to mention but a few.

Orak was designed by some chap going by the same name and its a love dance; the boys used it for courtship and its a dance of decorum and light heartiness! Deyo is one of those hard words to translate for its connotation is more pregnant when used in the context of, “Larakaraka okello myel me deyo do!” The have brought a dance of fashion to wit a decorative dance.

My brother Acoli dance is dance with a man exposing his chest and the contours of his chest juxtaposed with his embellish free skin! Free of any skin disease or sores ! As you rhythmically beat the calabash, the horn of your love is looking at you; casting sly glances for a window when she will dart and wipe the sweat off your forehead in the full glare of the community! This is the only chance you will have where you can put your hands around her waist without risking the blows and buffets of her brothers. Use you time well.

Circle your calabash around her as she wiggles her nubile body. Bare you teeth and show that her amours find favor and are well received, and because you are careful sit on the calabash, taking care not to break it and and allow her to spoil you in the full glare of the public.

We have not yet even got to the second dance of the Acoli and you already see the difficulty one has in narrating of myel pa Acoli. Yet it would be remiss of us if we did not quickly entered into the dingi dingi dance.

Here the leader, Laber Mon, a belle full of spirit and command takes a bevy of belles through what seems to be perfectly choreographed moves. Aiding their shakes with a shrilly whistle, beckoning them to follow her every move, as she twist and turns in a defying and defiant manner conscious and alive to her beauty. Not every girl leads the pack but the ones who do merit it by far and are renown.

Have you ever heard of the chorus of the drums? Have you seen a troop of men preparing for war using dance as a medium? This is the Otole dance. Mock fighting and spears are unleashed and held at the edge. The dexterity of this dance is for a select few. It is said President Museveni’s security objected to the dance being performed for him; I understand the reasons!

Next I will come and explain why women do not play the nanga, why children and teenagers were prohibited from playing the nanga, what is the nanga and the host of other dances I have not touched upon.

Leadership is about Trust

“The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” General Collin Powel

The reason for soldiers, underlings, subordinates bringing a matter to the attention of the manager is the confidence that the Manager will be able to bring about positive change. That he or she will, on basis of the environment they find themselves, provide solutions. Problems or challenges are not brought for their own sake. Leadership is this a challenge to the one who has to rise to the occasion. For so long as you are able to rise to the occasion your position as a leader remains stable.

Among the mountain gorillas in Bwindi, the accolade is given to the strongest Silver back. Strength is paramount since the first role of the leader is to defend the pack against external aggressors and also be able to lead the troop to where there is good food. For this ability to achieve this he has first and only mating rights.

This is imitated by the matriarch in elephant circles; the wisest matriarch is maintains leadership of the pack who depend upon her for survival. In desert conditions it is she who knows where to sniff out the water from underground sources and because of her size she is the first line of defence against predators. When any one in her pack dies she is the chief mourner. It is unclear what the benefits are to the matriarch for the added role and burden of leadership. Perhaps this is the true sacrifice much talked about in leadership.

The legendary Sun Tzu, in “The Art of War” describes an inconsolable mother who on learning that the Commander had sucked poisons from the wounds of her son. “Now he, (her son) will follow him through fire and do all that the commander bids him to do!” The act of love the General showed the Soldier reinforced the bond so much that when the commander would bid him to make sacrifices it would be next to impossible to refuse. The relationship between the leader and the led is cemented by trust and empathy.

Look at Jesus Christ’s example. How many times would his apostles come to him with seemingly impossible demands. When wine was finished they came asking Jesus; who was not even the host! When the 5000 were hungry they came demanding for solutions yet they knew he had come with no emergency food cache!

A leader must have the appeal; he or she must be appealing! He or she needs to be animated and passionate; radiating with hope, the light where there is darkness. He or she must have the innate ability to inspire hope! And you can only peddle hope when each act or word of yours is laced with trust.

MILTON OBOTE SPEECH RETURN FROM EXILE

-Obote’s memorable speech at Bushenyi on May 27, 1980

#TodayInHistory

Upon his return on May 27 1980, Obote made a memorable speech at Ishaka in Bushenyi district, western Uganda to a mammoth audience. The speech was also aired live on Radio Uganda Below, reproduced are parts of the speech.

It is more than nine years since I was last among you on the Ugandan soil. I stand humbly before you today in a country ravaged, plundered and divested for over eight years by the brute and monstrous regime of Idi Amin. I am deeply conscious of the untold suffering and misery inflicted on the people of our country by the monster Amin and his henchmen. His attempt to enslave the entire nation, brutalise and torture countless number of our people with the help of traitors, mercenaries and other foreign agents have left scar on our nation which will not be easy to erase.

This rally today is part of victory celebrations by the people of Uganda – and while we celebrate our victory against the forces of evil, we must also at the same time mourn for those who are no longer with us.

We mourn hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children who became victims of the regime of terror and destruction. We mourn the gallant sons of Uganda and Tanzania who shed their blood in active combat against the forces of evil and many others who risked and sacrificed their lives in the hope that the people Uganda may in future live in freedom and prosperity.

The liberation of Uganda last year gave us a new lease of life and opportunity to bury our past differences and build a new nation based on unity, peace and prosperity and erect democratic institutions. It afforded us opportunity to rid our nation of tribal and religious frictions which in the past were the main cause of our down fall and led our country into the darkest chapter of its history.

One would have naturally assumed that what happened in Uganda over the past nine years will have taught us a permanent lesson and instilled in our people a new sense of unity and the zeal to closely guard our newly won freedom. However, in just a year since our liberation, opportunism, personal ambition and greed of some of our leaders have once again vent to all petty bickering which in the past contributed with such a vengeance to the fragmentation of our society and enabled Amin to easily gain and consolidate his control of our country and create unprecedented havoc. I call upon all Ugandans to heed the fact that it is only through disunity that such calamities can occur and looking at the state of our country today, recognise how simple it is to undo what takes literally years to build.

Let us also not forget the importance of self-reliance be it for our future prosperity or personal security. For whilst Amin and his bandits were plundering our material resources, desecrating our cultural heritage and carrying out what was tantamount to a genocide in Uganda, the world – except Tanzania, Zambia, Somalia, Botswana and Sudan – just sat by and watched.

Trade
Indeed most of the countries maintained diplomatic relations and some not only carried on trading, but sold to this butcher no doubt at exorbitant prices, weapons and other electronic gadgets to carry out his massacres more efficiently. Near home, the OAU honoured the monster by holding its summit meeting in Kampala in 1975 and appointing him its chairman for a whole year. Similarly, it took more than six years of continuous murders before the Commonwealth felt obliged to condemn the happenings in Uganda at its conference in 1977.

It is ironic that after all the pontifications by the leaders of our so-called civilised world about the horror and atrocities committed by Hitler during the second World war, no leader of any major power felt compelled to put an end to similar atrocities committed by the monster in Uganda in the last quarter of the 20th century.

In the end even when a small Tanzania with meagre resources decided to act and help to restore conscience of the civilised world, it was left to fight and bear the cost on its own. No matter who writes history and where it’s written, the Ugandan tragedy must go down as one of the most shameful events in the recent history of the world.

Fellow countrymen, let us therefore take a vow here and now that never again shall we allow a situation to develop in our country which through disunity would enable any individual or, for that matter a group of people to wrest control of our country, destroy our democratic institutions, plunder our natural resources or tamper with the freedom and personal liberty of our citizens.
Having said what may appear painful to some but what an irrefutable historical fact remains, I do not want anyone to misunderstand and think we are to carry on a vendetta against the world or any country in particular.

We are liberated now and let us proclaim loud and clear that as far as we are concerned the past is now firmly behind us. We harbour no ill-feelings towards any country or organisation – indeed; we take this opportunity to extend the hand of friendship to all nations big or small, rich or poor, powerful or weak.
We extend the hand of friendship to all our neighbours: Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan Zaire and Rwanda. We must pledge and do hereby pledge ourselves to working with all of them either bilaterally or collectively in the spirit of good neighbourliness, respect for each other’s sovereignty and natural understanding and co-operation.

In the same vein we extend the hand of friendship to all the member states of the OAU and the all Non-Aligned countries. We shall stand firmly behind the two bodies, embrace their principles and shall play our part in the advancement of their respective ideas. We extend the hand of friendship to all the Commonwealth countries. We pledge ourselves to remain a true member of the family. We extend the hand of friendship to all the member states of the United Nations.

We affirm that our liberation has helped and, once we stabilise the situation in Uganda, it will improve the security of the nations in part of the world and throughout Africa. We extend the hand of friendship to all people who are still engaged in the liberation of their countries. We consider our own liberation as their liberation and we certainly regard their struggle our struggle and shall give them moral and material assistance to the utmost of our ability.

Lastly, but not least, we extend our hand of friendship to all who are engaged in the field of news media. We look forward to mutual cooperation in reporting the events in our country objectively and sympathetically. We plead with all our neighbours, with members of the OAU, Non-Aligned nations; the Commonwealth countries, the UN member states and the news media and ask them for just one thing: please give us a chance to find our bearings and resolve our problems in our own way.

To all the people of Uganda I fervently urge that we all join hands together in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of our country. We must jointly ensure security in all parts of Uganda. We must work together to remove from our society any semblance of the dastardly killings and fear which has numbed us. The task to provide security for all of us does not rest with the government alone it also rests with all of us collectively and individually. Let us resolve today to report to the authorities anyone in illegal possession of arms and ammunitions. Let us resolve not to harbour any criminal but to report the same to the authorities.

With the war and the rule of terror behind us, we the people of Uganda must wake up to the formidable challenges and daunting tasks which now envelope our society. The greatest of the challenges we have to surmount is the liberation of our minds so that we may be able to see the enemy clearly. The liberation of Uganda from the rule of murder is meaningless unless we embark without delay in combating another arch-enemy namely: poverty, ignorance, and disease.

But first we must eliminate lawlessness from our society. The war of liberation was not fought so that poverty, ignorance and disease should reign supreme in Uganda. The war of liberation was fought so that all people of Uganda – all tribes may live in harmony and in peace and prosperity.

Let us get that firmly in our minds. The war was fought so that all Ugandans irrespective of the tribe or religion may walk tall in their own country and free of any fear of losing their lives or property. The war was fought and won so that the people of Uganda may be able to establish and maintain democratic institutions of their well-being.

I have said that there is an urgent need for all of us to liberate our minds so as to be able to recognise our true enemy. That need is both a challenge and a lesson to all Ugandans. It is a challenge because it is disturbing that after nearly eighteen years of independence there are still many amongst us who do not recognise a Ugandan but a tribesman.

It is a lesson because we all ought to have learnt something from the bitter experience of the Amin era. We all know that when Amin first embarked on his devilish mission to kill citizens of Uganda, he laid emphasis on the necessity to kill soldiers who were from Acholi and Lango. It did not take long to extend his monstrous mission to cover all tribes of Uganda. The lesson is clear: destruction of the whole comes easily when one breaks ranks.

-Apollo Milton Obote

MADNESS IN THE CITY – VINDICATED

On March 28th we wrote in this column under the heading, “Madness in the city” questioning the questionable deal of the specialized hospital in Lubowa- The FINASI-ROKO Project. With out rewriting the article, whose truth has been proven, the gist of the matter was the smelly nature of the transaction which seemed to keep increasing project sum as it moved from one desk to another.

In the political setting of, “La Politique du Vendre” the politics of the stomach one rule holds true; “you chop I chop!” And so as the gravy train was moving the different pigs saw to it that their bellies were well catered for in the transaction. To a tune of about 37 Mn USD; exactly 10% of the deal. Parliament is crying crocodile tears and the Speaker is ordering a sub-committee to investigate the scam.

Yet this is hypocrisy when there were loud voices of condemnation why did the same parliament ride roughshod over the sentiments which were as clear as day, what were the motivations for such expediency in passing the guarantee; who had oiled the wheels of bureaucracy. In investigating corruption in days long by we used to apply the duck test. The duck test is a magnificent nearly infallible sequence of deductive reasoning.

If you see an unidentified bird that walks like a duck, swims like a duck, has webfeet and feathers like a duck, the moment it quacks like a duck you have to conclude that this must be a duck. We observed the quack of this Finasi project from the time it was conceived about 2017. From the time it was conceived, the cabal of personalities speaking out for it and defending it looked like well dressed foxes guaranteeing the safety of the hens in the pen!

“Have no fear, these hens are in safe hands!” Declared the Foxes. The hen of course was dubious about entrusting their safety in known hen eaters. And with the certainty of a Greek tragedy we are now firmly pat in the middle of another Mafia cash bonanza!

AN anecdote was told of a Ugandan chap who visited an Oga in the Nigeria. He was taken aback by the opulence and wealth displayed by the Oga. He asked the Chief the source of the wealth and the Chief took him to the window and showed him a nice government road. “You see that road….well 10% was mine!” Explained the Oga. Thanking him profusely for lesson the Ugandan returned home.

A few years later the Oga paid a return visit and whet he saw impressed him. “Ah, Ssebo you are doing well…!” Exclaimed the Oga. The Ugandan took him on top of the roof and said, “You see that hospital, those flyovers, those excellent schools….!” The Oga protested that he was not seeing what the SSebo was showing him. Laughing while patting Oga on the shoulder Ssebo explained, “Exactly…i chopped all!”

The Oga shook his head and as he went to his private jet he said, “You Ugandans are going to give corruption a bad name oooooo!”

It remains to be seen where the Finasi drama ends. Cry the beloved country.

A Perspective on National Security

In the aftermath of great political tension in Arua, a Ugandan by the name of Yasin was killed by security forces in broad day light. No investigations to the death of Yasin to this date has been effected and the smoke screen being bandied around is a perceived threat that had loomed about the president of Uganda. The mockery of the alleged guns found in the car will be subject our discussion today, and the effrontery of the mischief belied a darker side of the belly.

Unfortunately, Yasin is not alone we have had and heard of deaths in Rukungiri, Bugiri, even here in Kampala. Higenyi, the young journalist was killed at city square, in Entebe we saw a pregnant woman, no less, holding he entrails as a result of bullet from the security forces; this was in the regime of Major General Kale Kayihura. At least that time Major General KK ordered for her treatment. Muzee Manamero died in the hands of the forces. The list is long and growing; but even if it was one Uganda it would be too much injustice for these are the wrongs which we had hoped the NRM would have helped put on the dustbin of history.

The absence of loud voices of condemnation has allowed the forces to imagine that might is right and they will continue mowing us down with impunity to satisfy their insatiable blood-lust. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, what is left of it anyway, provides for the sanctity of life; life is not a trifling thing of the idle hour and attendant human rights respect are tenets of a civilized and democratic community.

The voices of Che Guevera’s condemnation rings loudly to all that wear the least vestige of humanity, “anyone who does not cringe in the face of injustice is no comrade of mine!” And with it the judgment Bishop Desmond Tutu made, “When you are silent in the face of oppression, you have chosen the side of the oppressor!” Meanwhile impunity continues to sweep over the motherland and our daily beseeching to lay our future in the hands of God remaining our only hope.

In the aftermath of the tragic affairs in Arua, unregistered guns were photographed as exhibits; ostensibly guns belonging to Bobi Wine. The guns have since disappeared and we have to query who is the custodian of illegal unregistered guns in the country. How many are they and are they always used for the right purpose? The answer the the last question is easily an unequivocal NO! With the deaths of Muslim clerics, high profile gangster style murders of AIGP, the Judge at Ntinda, the Honourable from Arua, and the latest Nansana massacre we need not to belabor the point any further.

Government, unless it complicit, has a duty to remedy the situation immediately. The starting point for the investigation is to get behind the person who produced the guns in Arua; where did he get the guns from? How many are their in that stock? Who controls their movement? Then secondly, cast a wider net a cordon and search operation must be mounted in the entire Greater Kampala region with stretching mandate to areas guided by our intelligence organs. All militia present and past must be audited to determine the size of their arsenals. Then controls must be enforced about the movement of guns.