Log in

How we came to having different rules for different Ugandans

Human beings tend to be different, conditioned by varying social settings and differing lived experiences.

From a Marxist standpoint, the attitudes and actions of individuals are determined by the existing economic system and their place in the structure of production.

But there is also a great deal of human essence that cuts across economic systems, classes, and races. There are motivations and behavioral patterns that are attributable to the entirety of the human race.

There is of course the danger of essentialism in this assertion, but one can’t gainsay the reality of humanity that has historically been reflected in actions and deeds of societies and individuals all around the world.

There is, for example, scarcely any society or part of the world that has never experienced war and conflict in recorded history, or no nation and social group that has never been under autocratic rule.

The question of human nature and the innate characteristic of human beings has been the subject of philosophical inquiry; it has exercised the minds of seminal thinkers in human history.

Two broad conclusions are worth high- lighting. The first that sees human nature as inherently predisposed to do good because we are endowed with rational capability and can, unlike other beings, discern good from bad and do right instead of wrong.

This line of thinking dates back to Plato but was most popularized in modern times by philosopher Immanuel Kant. The counterargument sees human beings as fundamentally oriented to doing bad. We are at our very core selfish and greedy such that left to our devices and in the absence of any constraints, we can display the worst of our instincts. This position was articulated

most forcefully by Thomas Hobbes in explaining the origins of modern government. Like all other major debates, the truth about human nature most plausibly lies somewhere in the middle.

But even if we held that the essence of human beings is to do good, we would also have to concede that good intentions and noble acts, too, can produce disastrous outcomes.

Consider the fact that some individuals selflessly and out of good heartedness contribute to the foreign aid industry that has been quite notorious for perpetuating underdevelopment than it has improved the lives of the poorest of the world.

If there is something that history has made abundantly clear about human beings, it is that for good or bad, the motivations and actions of individuals and societies must be tamed or, at a minimum, regulated. T

he challenge in this regard has always been how to design governance regimes and institutional arrangements that at once assure social harmony and individual freedom.

The predominant solution to that end that has proved enduring has been a rule-based society where legal and constitutional provisions along with established norms and values undergird everyday political relations, social interactions, and economic transactions. Let me exit this somewhat abstruse excurse.

Here is the crux of the matter, making possible social existence and progressive societies requires that all beings are subjected to constraints against their instincts and desires.

This is the essence of government. But putting in place a government that constrains everybody is the biggest challenge of all time. One of America’s foremost statesmen, James Madison, laid down this conundrum in the Federalist 51: the government must be powerful enough to govern but the governed should in turn control the government.

The real crisis facing a country like Uganda is the failure to develop a system of government that subjects everyone to the same rules of engagement.

A rules-based system means actions that don’t conform to the rules are sanctioned and those that adhere to the rules are rewarded. If this basic system of rewards and sanctions is disregarded, as is the case in Uganda today, a society descends into jungle life and lawlessness.

We see a great deal of this especially in the capital Kampala where even in the presence of traffic cops, motorists, more so passenger motorcyclists, can ride the red light at will. Government vehicles drive over shoulders without punishment.

By contrast, many hardworking public servants who stick to the rules and serve with distinction are sidelined and many retire to a pauper’s life. Being rewarded for excellence is not guaranteed because the system can be gamed such that one does not need to excel to be rewarded.

For those of us who believe that politics is a key determinant of other social and economic processes and outcomes in society, the structure of Ugandan politics today underpins much of what has gone wrong.

It all started in earnest in 1986. The new rulers proceeded by ruling without rules that bound everyone, both in terms of rewards and punishment.

When the rules caught some people on the wrong side, like the ruler’s brother, they were exempt. Others could effortlessly commandeer public assets and state enterprises to reward themselves for having fought.

This meant having different rules for different Ugandans.

The author is an assistant professor of political science at North Carolina State University.


-3 #21 Lysol 2018-03-19 20:44
Ejakait (aka the so-called Mzee)

Define the criterias of declaring someone mentally insane/mad according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or per the Classification of Mental Disorders.

These two books are used by real Psychiatrists all over the World and widely accepted.

Otherwise, you don't know what you're talking about. If anything, one would say that you're the one who is mentally ill, based on the many desperate comments you have posted here to defend yourself and make your points.

You need mental medications to calm you down, if ajono cannot do to help you relax. You will go first before me. Don't waste your time waiting. You desperate needs for attention is highly disturbing.
Report to administrator
+2 #22 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-20 12:21
MKHISA, I hope and I am sure that you are capable of making a distinction between an idiot and idiocy.

I was not condoning idiocy, but rather saying that even an idiot dose not always spew idiocy.

There may come a time, call it the law of averages , where against all odds, they come up with something rather contrary to their character.

And where is the philosophy that you studied that does not tell you that idiots like LYSOL had/have no choice in the matter, they did/do not choose to be idiots.
Report to administrator
+2 #23 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-20 12:32
MKHISA, they did say about TRUMP of the "shithole" fame, that some people took him "literally" and others took him " seriously".

Seems to be the case with you regards my remarks,which I thought were dead and buried, but as the Ganda say " omusango gwenyama tegugwa malojo" I hope you are not wishing me " kutabaala nfe".

Anyway, we do know, or at least you have told us that you are an "assistant professor of political science at North Carolina University", so by "inference" , remember that term, you have a degree and a masters in political science ( as opposed say to biology,etc), and some qualification in Education, obtained from Makerere, you told us the jobs you could have taken but turned down in order to end up where you are, you are married to a lady from a culture that kneels, you have not one, but more than one child, born in Uganda, are a Mumasaaba, not a Mudadiri or Mukonde, belong to an association that brings Bamasaaba together and had a meeting in Mbale recently
Report to administrator
+3 #24 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-20 12:39
You had a brother, older I think, who had worked in the police for a long time , who tragically met his death in a car accident sometime last year.

Even the size of your trouser I can profile from your most recent photo by making some assumptions like , you are evenly built, so you are not so small or too big below the waist etc etc.

Like I said in my exchanges with you, once you put out information voluntarily, in some cases even if it is not you putting out the information, just like we say with politicians, you can not be a public figure and want to live a private life, not the bits that apply to your public life or have an impact thereof.
Report to administrator
+2 #25 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-20 12:56
LYSOL, me mad, insane!!!!!!!?
AS they say, we are all mad, it is just a question of DEGREE.

Some of us are 1% mad, the likes of you are 99% mad.

Look at you posting on the other forum in response to JULIUS O.

Because you are mad and frothing at the mouth and looking over your shoulders, scared of your own shadow and probably afraid that your wife may find out who the real you is( mad people sometimes have the ability to hide their true character), you quote part or JULIUS article and then go on to write his very words "verbatim" as if it is you who is writing them, yet all you meant to say in that posting was just one sentence.

"Simply admit your are..............." those are some of your stupid words , which do not make any sense and can only be coming from an insane person.

As they say " there is pleasure in being mad, which pleasure only the mad (man) knows", enjoy your madness as long as it does not wander into peoples territory.
Report to administrator
+3 #26 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-20 12:59
I can imagine you sitting somewhere and your wife is with her friends and they go something like " banange , there is this mad mad person on social media called LYSOL, you should read the things he writes.

Kale I feel sorry for his wife and children............." , poor woman not realising that the person they are talking about is seated right next to them and she has the misfortune of being married to him.
Report to administrator
+5 #27 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-20 18:40
LYSOL, I know the reason you have those volumes on mental disorders is to self diagnosis, this is all well and good, because the first step on the road to recovery is knowing what your problem is.

I advise however that you do not do any self prescription and that you see a proper shrink who will be in a better position to help.

And now that we are it, and since you and I have become friends or were in the past according to MKHISA, you might help to tell me what my friends mental problem is , if I tell you his characteristics.

He claims that he knows 9 languages, though these are actually dialects - Jopadhola, which is his mother tongue, Alur, Langi, Acholi, Labwor, Jaluo, Dinka,Kumam ,but you can see these are all LUO.

He claims that he never gives up in a fight and that he ALWAYS wins , but turns out he is the referee, linesman, commentator and everything in between.

He claims that he is a "made " man , has all he needs and probably richer than Bill Gates.

Report to administrator
-3 #28 Lysol 2018-03-21 01:31
Thanks for crying out loud. Yes, you're indeed mad and you need help.

Look at how many comments you have posted here which do not make sense (only to you).

You mentioned so many names here which have nothing to do with this article. You're on your own. Sincerely no one give a damn. Fight your own demons.
Report to administrator
-3 #29 Lysol 2018-03-21 01:47
Quoting MKhisa:

Why the obsession with me? I don't write this column exclusively for you.

You're only one among so many readers. Why do you think that I should write to appease you as an individual?

Moses, no obsession with you. I would not hang out with your kind.

The problem here is that some of your articles are tasteless. I'm not a yes man like some of your readers.

There are many ways to point out the flaws in some of your articles. Put up with them or else quit writing.

I'm not here to please anybody, but to give my honest opinions, which may be brutal at times.
Report to administrator
+1 #30 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-21 13:03
LYSOL, such is the state of your mental disorder that you can not even recognize the very statements you made, not even a month ago.

If I can just remind you, you claimed that you knew 9 languages. You claimed that you never back down in a fight and that you always win.

And that you were a made man, well to do and had all you needed in life. All this barely a month ago and you can not even recognize your own statements.
Report to administrator

Comments are now closed for this entry