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Let Uganda work for all of us

FILE Female domestic workers heading for the plane to fly out of the country

FILE Female domestic workers heading for the plane to fly out of the country

There should be no pride as a country that so many Ugandans are fleeing the pearl of Africa for other countries, not because we are at war, or that there is a famine.

The answer you will get most commonly is: “Uganda egaanye (Uganda has refused)”, as yet another compatriot spends millions to secure a visa to lands far, far away. It seems the most fervent prayer in places of worship now is, “Lord, give me a visa, please!” Any visa will do.

One man was even considering going to Albania – yes, Albania. I don’t even know where that is on a map – when Canada came through with a visa. In the 1990s we used to joke that if one went to Greenland, one would probably find a Nigerian comfortably mingling with the Eskimos; well, the same can be said of Ugandans today.

Don’t be shocked to see one crawling out of an igloo. Young people are leaving this country en masse, and one day our leaders will sober up enough to measure the amount of brain drain they have allowed.

There are no jobs, young people will tell you. No opportunities. No growth. No money. And anything as along as it is outside our borders, looks more enticing. Young women and men are relocating to the Arab world to get rich, or at least die trying – literally.

Skilled labourers are heading out to Germany, UK and Canada, among other countries that have made a skilled labour visa attractive, as their populations age and leave gaps in crucial sectors of their economy.

And then there is us, who have an abundance of young, able-bodied people, without a clue or care how to put them to use; so, they are now leaving the country in droves. Interestingly, a big number of these people have been educated free of charge by the government of Uganda at some point, if not all their lives, and after such an investment, they are benefiting other nations and our system seems to care less about the fact that there are zero returns on those investments.

I am one of the ‘unlucky’ ones; I get horribly homesick when away from Uganda for just a few weeks and cannot imagine giving up my country completely for a foreign land until God-knows-when!

So, why has our country done this to us?

To the recipient countries, it must look like the whole of Africa is embroiled in a huge war, given the number of people fleeing the continent, and not intending to ever look back. I challenge our leaders to halt the selfishness and allow Uganda to work for all of us, not just for a greedy handful.

malita@observer.ug



Comments

-1 #1 Opiyo Denish Geoffre 2024-02-04 14:39
The proverbial saying that "You Learned Nothing and Forgot Nothing" seems to be true and applicable to most African countries, Uganda not an exception.

The success of colonialism in Africa is heavily indebted to the local Chiefs then who selfishly hunted down their own youthful population and handed them over to the imperialists in exchange for petty consumable commodities.

That same trend of local African leaders perceiving the youthful populations of their enclaves/countries as time booms and an imminent threat to their longevity in power explains a lot why African leaders would rather release the internal pressure by continuously allow the unthinkable century old brain drain to continue to undermine the development of our individual countries.

Until our leaders wake up from this deleterious continental slumber, our productive sectors shall be taken over by aggressive nations while our youths lok out for proverbial greener pastures nextdoor.
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