What’s the excitement about Uganda’s plans to mine oil, and why the shock that more than a trillion shillings already made from oil-related activities can’t be traced or that a small crumb of Shs 6bn has been given to already stinking rich bureaucrats?
Who is sure this oil belongs to Uganda? But hold on a bit; if bananas, coffee and plantation trees are being lost to various diseases, how sure are you that the oil along Lake Albert will reach the Indian Ocean coast? Or that the proceeds will reach the state treasury?
Some 15,000 traders dispossessed at Park Yard market; is that the largest number that can be dispossessed by greedy individuals and colluding state institutions?
No, stand warned: even bigger numbers, in rural and urban areas, will be dispossessed, and those who try to resist will lose their lives alongside the offenders. Who will care anymore that several tens died in a standoff at a king’s palace that got razed down?
What will you do when beyond the hype about Operation Wealth Creation, you notice that it’s working at less than 50 per cent efficiency, and that famine has come to stay longer?
What if all these are just the beginnings; like the first trials in any learning or training, or dress rehearsal for any drama competition? Selfish and inconsequential noisemakers may swarm radios, televisions, social media and newspapers to massage their egos and have their day; but alas, it’s all vanity and futility!
Which brings me to a magazine I read in 1994 saying Uganda’s greatest wealth would not come from any crop or mineral. I traced the editor, a Muganda who had lived in USA, and he told me that for some centuries, some visionaries in Buganda had talked of a treasure that would suddenly appear when the economy is down on its knees and there is political turmoil following factionalist wars among greedy princes and immoral princesses.
The man said although many crops would be suffering pestilence, the new treasure would rapidly put Uganda among the most respected and influential nations as much of the world would be in similar suffering and confusion. But first, Uganda would have to suffer a heavy fall with a thud, a sinking to the seabed, huh!
What will you do when the stark reality looks into your eyes and dictates that the ‘ninth king’ will rule you for decades, using money and weapons, but at long last not be succeeded by anyone that is of his resemblance?
Believe it or not, Uganda’s ninth presidency, Yoweri Museveni’s, will never be succeeded by a soldier, a member of his extended family or a politician. So, the likes of Kizza Besigye, Mugisha Muntu, Janet Kataaha, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, etc who are being speculated that they can make a change or continue in the footsteps could be already excluded.
Museveni is going to encircle and defeat all the so-called political opposition with money, weapons and psychological sabotage, becoming the ultimate bull in the kraal. But the demise of Museveni at a time when money and weapons are worshipped like gods will also mean the demise of those two idolatries.
Should a motion for lifting the presidential age limit come up, it will go through with ease because the country’s leadership and national psyche have already been sedated. In the meantime, the clergy, educationalists and investors may enjoy the feast as they further sedate, immunize and milk the grieving masses.
Those seeking salvation or education will bleed further as the country takes up more loans, crucial budgets get cut and social services take a nose dive due to corruption.
The author is a journalist in Kampala.