While I followed news of the planned new taxes in Ugandans, and in the context of what we have been through in the recent past, I idly went into imagination on what our state would be if our government had Godly powers.
If with their limited mundane powers, they already act omnipotent in the way they pronounce their might and ability to get away with anything regardless of the noise of their victims, what would they do if they were indeed omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent?
It is indeed a wild imagination, for a lot that I speculatively imagine is in contradiction to what we attribute to God – it matches close to blasphemy. But just for the sake of appreciating our problems, let us attempt the picture.
With this government’s sadistic and greedy obsession with taxing citizens for so little in return, beyond facilitating its obese administrative structure, what if they had the capacity to provide all that God gives us?
I understand that the modern-day royals already have a big hand in the supply of oxygen in hospitals. If they were God, with control over all the oxygen, the lungs of the poor would suffer. I bet they would levy a tax on every breath. They would install something like a Yaka meter on our noses that would only be activated after paying, with breaths as units.
With their sadism, perhaps this would bring them joy, as we plead for breath discounts from them mighty Lords. Of course, selfish to the core, they would load their own lungs with pakalast – unlimited supply of oxygen. Just as they fill their cars with fuel for whatever journey using tax collections they suck from people that have never sat in a car of their kinds.
It is all available for spending, they would rather even tax cat owners than run out of money to facilitate their extravagance and patronage. Citizens are like a spring that never runs dry, even if it may never benefit from its provisions. Should it threaten to run dry, it shall be drilled for whatever may be left at its bottom to be pumped out.
Taxes would be no problem at all in an ideal social contract. It is indeed true that there are two things every human being can’t avoid: death and taxes. However, the pain is something akin to what Lucky Dube sang about in Taxman: “… there is only one man I pay, but I don’t know what I am paying for. I am talking about the taxman”.
Maybe we took it literally when Jesus said that “give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar …” Our Caesars seem to think that it is literally theirs!
What if our government had full control over the sun and the moon? Perhaps the poor could only afford one or two days of sunlight in a week. If we are told that the country now produces surplus electricity, yet the more we produce, the more expensive it becomes, how expensive would sunlight be? Perhaps they would have ‘privatised’ it into the greedy hands of Umeme and then pretend that they are not aware of how costly sunrays were.
Of course they would rather have switched off the sun than have us access it free of charge. They love it when people cry out to them, so that they can posture in full range of their hubris as saviours that we can’t do without. Someone would be saying, “my sun, my oxygen…”.
If there was ever any threat of a protest or riot about whatever injustice, they would simply switch off the sun and the moon. I am not sure they would leave the oxygen on in opposition strongholds.
Perhaps instead of kidnapping them, they would simply starve their lungs. Instead of teargassing opposition rallies and protests, they would just rain hailstones onto crowds and hit ringleaders with thunder. Would areas that overwhelmingly vote for opposition have seen any rainfall? Places like Masaka would obviously turn into deserts.
What if our leaders had the Godly attribute of eternal living? Wouldn’t they have used it to rule for eternity? They would have left mortality to us, so that they even rule our great great grandchildren and all their descendants. If as mere mortals with limited powers they call themselves ‘ssabalwanyi’, what if they commanded armies equipped with earthquakes and storms?
What titles would they have adopted?
With the tribalism that has eaten up government, if they were in charge of heaven and hell, what names would the angels take? Which ‘tribe’ would control the gates of heaven? Who would be in charge of hell and its said fires? Who would burn there? If the government God were to be guarded by a special force of angels, where would the majority of them come from? Wouldn’t Prince Jesus, as son of God, be most trusted to take charge of this unit?
If government was the giver of voices, would they need to ask radio owners not to host certain people? Would they have to switch off radio stations? Perhaps not. They would just switch off some people’s vocal cords. Uganda Communications Commission wouldn’t bother threaten critical media houses with licence suspension.
One other way would be to tax every person per political utterance. What if government had powers to control the distribution of brains? Would some of us nobodies that can’t afford hefty bribes have accessed brains?
Wouldn’t they have taken all the best brains for their children, relations, and supporters?
Alas, they are not God. Power could deceive them into overestimating their might and authority over citizens that they milk dry in helplessness. But every now and again, the real God has a habit of reminding us of who is really in charge. As for us, what powers are we left with before you our masters? Kick, when you want; drain, as you please.
The author is a teacher of philosophy.