We have said adieu to 2017. It has not be a good year at all.
We have wasted money politicking and poverty has continued to undeservingly bite the rural poor. But even the urban dwellers have become more creative through heinous exercises such as house break-ins, pickpocketing, and waylaying those they believe to be rich.
Some people have been killed through these crimes while others are permanently maimed. Women in parts of Entebbe and Nansana have lived a life of uncertainty. They have failed to find explanations either from police or their local leaders why their colleagues and family members have been killed and others kidnapped.
Doctors and other medical workers laid down their tools for two weeks due to poor pay and working conditions. During this strike, government was embarrassed as the medical rot in public hospitals was exposed.
A country that aims to reach a middle-income status in less than five years cannot afford basic medical tools for its medical workers!
Private hospitals and clinics are not any better either! First, the pricing of their services is prohibitive. But the services, too, cause more headaches than the remedies sought from their facilities.
The attitude of medical workers in those facilities is cavalier. Many of them want to first be bribed to offer a service! I don’t know whether it is in the interest of saving money, but some of these facilities deploy workers of suspect credentials and experience.
In essence, Ugandans have become guinea pigs. Some of these private medical facilities have also become drug peddlers for some pharmaceutical companies! There was a woman who went to one of these private clinics to establish her HIV status. The results were returned and she was ‘positive’.
She was immediately advised to start treatment. In reality, she was not HIV-positive and the drugs had an adverse reaction on her body. But the doctors at that clinic kept reassuring her that things would improve with time; her body was just getting used to the drug.
It took the vigilance of her husband to seek an alternative medical opinion for them to discover that actually she had been misdiagnosed.
The medical council has an uphill task to rid the country of these fake medical practitioners. We are a nation that has lost its soul! If you asked me what the Ugandan ethic is, I wouldn’t have an answer.
We have normalized corruption! These days when a young person is employed in the private sector, the first thing they think about is how to steal from this company and they vanish.
It is not how best they can grow with this company. I know a telecom company which was cheated of airtime of over Shs 200 million!
They trusted the workers but the latter had different plans. And as consequence of that theft and the failure by the workers to increase its penetration, the company is unlikely to survive going forward. That is an opportunity to reduce unemployment squandered.
I have always wondered why President Museveni finds it so difficult to fight corruption especially among his cabinet members and public servants generally. The president is the topmost consumer of intelligence briefs in this country. He can order a covert investigation on any person.
He knows the income of every cabinet member and, if he wanted, he could establish the income and liabilities of any Ugandan of his choice.
Therefore, he knows exactly how much his subordinates earn. But whenever a corruption scandal is exposed by the media, he appears surprised.
And that is when he talks tough to rid this country of corruption. Are the intelligence services doing their work well? Is the president being given the right information about the country? A lot of time and resources have been squandered in the past years! It does not need to be same in 2018.
Mr President, you only need to pick two sectors – education and health. Make them better and Ugandans will be happy with you. You may have to lose some friends around you for the greater good!
After all, you are on record as having said that you have no personal friends – just comrades and colleagues. You need to build a team which can deliver your promises. From the look of things, your current huge team members are like vultures looking at an idle carcass.
The author is the business development director at The Observer Media Limited.