Last year, parliament acrimoniously passed the controversial Constitution Amendment (No 2) Bill of 2017. The bill is now an act after assent by the president.
After its passing, the media reported that NRM MPs held two parties: one in the precincts of parliament and another one in State House on invitation by the president apparently to celebrate their victory.
Seeing these events; two articles by Odrek Rwabwogo popped up in my mind. Through his ideology series in the New Vision, he wrote an article titled: ‘Fragile institutions under the Movement: what is the cause?’
In this article, Rwabwogo cautioned about the dangers of leaders who overstay in power. “…the longer a leader stays, especially one who took power at a time when their nation was in deep turmoil and went ahead to reimagine their society …the more the populations (especially the elite that tends to be risk-averse) become wary of the future without these leaders and uncertain of any form of change. When this happens, there is less and less building of institutions.”
Another article is titled ‘Are strongmen a hindrance or facilitator to institutional growth, successful political transition?’
Here, Rwabwogo reminds us that “strongmen tend to have a large appetite for weighing in on every issue small and big before it can be resolved they have exclusivity to rare burst of wisdom or so their handlers say; they act as if they are infallible and all-knowing; they have become fossilized and institutionalized in such a manner that constitutions have to be adjusted for them, not them adjusting to the demands of the law; they issue directives, doll out jobs and money and paralyze reasoning and frustrate inspired actions from followers, making those that they lead heavily dependent…”
Looking closely at the amendments that the Ugandan constitution has gone through, particularly their timing and the ‘drama’ involved, one wonders whether some of Odrek’s comments above are not unfolding in Uganda today!
End greed to promote development
I weep for the liberty of my country when I see how much corruption has been institutionalised in Uganda. The East African Bribery Index 2017 noted the judiciary and police are the most corrupt institutions in Uganda despite them being mandated to promote justice, law and order in the country.
The index further rated two arms of government – judiciary and legislature – as poor. The findings revealed that the citizens believe that the government is not doing enough to fight corruption.
Most times we have noticed that countries that have realised the best economic growth have good governance. And good governance entails freedom of expression and corrupt-free institutions. This is lacking in Uganda.
Building meaningful democracy implies building open societies that share information. It’s believed that when there is information, there is enlightenment and when there is debate, there are substantial and sustainable solutions. However, when there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.
Therefore, corruption is an enemy of development and good governance and we must get rid of it. This is not a one man’s fight, or the fight of only the state.
Both the government and the rights holders must come together to achieve this national objective. Moral rejuvenation has to be reemphasised; build confidence and trust in all institutions across the country; sensitise the public about judicial services, among other strategies.
We need a greener city
The media reported last year that environmentalists are worried as city buildings replace trees. For sure, this concern is timely, not only for the city but the whole country.
However, in the case of Kampala, one is forced to wonder whether city authorities have functional planning departments. Kampala was one of the greenest cities in Africa but because Uganda has been unfortunate to be led by unpatriotic people, we have lost all the green that was planned by colonial masters.
Leaders are busy authorizing construction of new buildings instead of promoting green parks. This must change.
Why Akena, Mao should resign
From now on for Uganda to move with safety ahead, James Akena of UPC and Norbert Mao of DP should both resign their party leadership positions.
In my opinion, Joseph Ochieno should take over the UPC leadership (interim) while DP should look for a firebrand (retired professional without political baggage from Canada or Europe) Ugandan to lead the party.
The new leadership will start building up new party structures right from the village level. To keep federalism (third way) at a political level, John Ken Lukyamuzi should seek new ideas about federalism from Ugandans with experience from Germany or Switzerland to take over the ‘ruins’ of his one-man party!
Less of that, politics in Uganda is dead!
What’s chewing my mobile data?
On December 31, 2017, I subscribed for 1GB Airtel data and was charged Shs 5,000. I connected my phone to my laptop and within five minutes, I was shocked to get a message that I had already used 70 per cent of the data. The data was depleted three minutes later.
What is this if it is not theft? I had only sent one email with two photo attachments and opened one website just to read. How did I consume 1GB by doing this?
The previous day, I had subscribed for 300MBs and paid Shs 2,000. The same thing happened and my data was depleted within minutes. Why are we being ripped off by telecom companies? Is the regulator concerned about consumer protection on such virtual services?
I felt cheated and I hope Airtel can address this anomaly.