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Dear Hon Nandutu, send us more beggars from Karamoja 

Minister Agnes Nandutu

Minister Agnes Nandutu

Perhaps some of our leaders get demotivated because even when they do wonders, we never appreciate them.

Today I am only here to thank one of our new ministers and to make suggestions for more things she could do. This is no Point Blank. Just in a matter of months, Honorable Agnes Nandutu has already excelled at demonstrating immense commitment to her ministry.

Honorable Aaaaagnes, I read here a few weeks ago that you and a few other new ministers came in with demands for new ministerial cars - not the old ones. I was filled with admiration for your sense of self-worth. You deserve more, madam. We understand how important and special ministers are.

In your case, in fact, Karamoja doesn’t deserve you. But you so loved the region that you offered yourself as a sacrifice, just like our First Lady did some time back. And we can all give testimony to how she phenomenally transformed Karamoja after having been appointed by God to the service.

I have already noticed that in the few months you have been minister, the number of Karimojong beggars on the streets of Kampala has significantly increased. We stealthily thank you. Kampala looks hilarious with the jewelry of those young girls and bare skinny bodies indicative of a secured future. 

I noticed that lately you dress like them. You look so beautiful in that attire and beads. I suggest that you take a group selfie with the hundreds of Karimojong beggars employed on the streets of Kampala. Pick any busy spot around town, you will find them there.

Stand in their middle and wear your signature big smile, as a gesture of accountability. Those beautiful rashes and wounds on their skins would look great in a ministerial selfie. We could raise the photo on a billboard somewhere in Moroto with a bold inscription: SECURING THE FUTURE OF KARAMOJA. Alternatively, we could write: DELIVERING JOBS TO KARAMOJA.

Don’t clean off the mucus running down the noses of the babies sitting with begging hands stretched out in the sun. Karimojong babies are so resilient. Yes, they have been on those streets for years now; aren’t they growing? Their appearance shouldn’t bother us.

Actually, these miserable faces can work as a justification for more funds to Karamoja. Wouldn’t those faces make a wonderful proposal cover?

Thanks for finding jobs for all these Karimojong in such a short time. I hear there are big people (begging entrepreneurs) who ferry them to Kampala for the street job. I am sure you are aware of this, for it is not really new.

Thanks to you and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for allowing it to continue without any interference. Kampala needs more beggars, and these toddlers are doing it well. They have the perfect faces of misery and desperation that we need. 

There is nothing really wrong with begging as a livelihood. Governments beg too. Bilateral cooperation means nothing more on our part than formalised begging relations, just like ‘development partner’ tends to imply begging partner. In a spirit of national distribution of labour, let us reserve the low-level local begging industry for the Karimojong. 

We could even professionalise the job. Honorable Minister, you could work together with KCCA and gazette special begging spots in the city. Equip them with decent begging bowls and skills of displaying misery. These concentrated begging points will go a long way in attracting tourists too.

There are not so many countries where you can find ethnically diverse people but with almost all street beggars coming from the same ethnic group. So many foreigners are willing to pay to have a look at naked misery dressed in cultural attire. 

Have no fear that any children rights activist will make noise about the show. These are not the children with rights. Haven’t you seen them drive their posh NGO cars past these children without bother? They only attend to issues of children proper.

Not even the ministry that made a lot of noise about a one Fresh Kid going for music shows will care about what you might think to be glaring child labour right below its nose. Fresh Kid was not Karimojong, and all cameras were on him. The ministry was therefore, a beneficiary in sharing his limelight. They could even have paid him to protect his rights.

Don’t worry about what the masses will say. We are now used to such scenes and are numb. That’s why when we see these Karimojong beggars, all we care to confirm is if we have firmly raised the car windows. 

I hear that Karamoja is rich in minerals with deposits of gold, marble, glass sand, copper, iron ore, gemstones, etc. These riches are misplaced.

They only ended up in Karamoja by accident. No one should be asking why people from an area that rich should constitute about 98 percent of the county’s beggars. God put those minerals there well knowing that the rest of us will need them. There is nothing wrong with Karimojong living in squalor while we exploit their resources. That’s precisely how colonialists treated Africa, and it was okay.

They have enough beads for making their jewelry, old car tyres for making lugabire shoes, and knives for marking their bodies. Madam Minister, more than this would be luxury for them. If hunger chases them out of Karamoja into the city, the better.

That will provide us with ample room to explore their land for more minerals. Let them flood Kampala as beggars, to escape the hardship of their rich lands. Since begging is addictive, soon they won’t be able to turn back. It will become their way of life. Is that bad for us?

If at some point they become a menace, upon being recruited into city gangs, we have enough jails for them. 


The author is a teacher of philosophy.


+11 #1 PaulM 2021-10-06 09:41
You never disappoint Jimmy! I hope Nandutu can take heed but I guess she is busy eating
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+3 #2 Ensi eno! 2021-10-06 11:21
Hahahaha wabula Spire hahahahaha
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+5 #3 Lakwena 2021-10-06 13:33
In other words Dr. Spire, where are the David Pulkol, Fr. Lukodo, etc. of Karamoja? They are dead quiet like the proverbial mouse/mice.

Otherwise, the dehumanization of the Karamajong children on the streets of Kampala; the consecutive political appointments of Ministers (from Kataha to the Nandutu of Bugishu) and the mineral exploitation going-on in Karamoja; is a social, economic and political Kamanyiro (belittlement) of the Karamajong people/culture of the highest and lowest order.

E.g., from the Senior Minister to the Permanent Secretary, Bloody Gen Tibuhaburwa can fill up these top offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with all the Banyankole Generals in mind; but he can't appoint Karamajong as Ministers of States for Karamoja

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+5 #4 Lakwena 2021-10-06 13:45
In other words, why e.g., can't Gen Tibuhaburwa appoint Gen Guti the Minister of Karamoja?

It would give Guti a break from doing his (Tibuhaburwa) dirty work; of incessantly prosecuting the opposition members in the General Court Martial, and ?

it will be a sigh of relief for Guti: It will give the man the space/chance to authoritative talk to his people and also save what is remaining of his cattle from being raided by his angry Karamajong folks.
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-10 #5 kabayekka 2021-10-06 14:39
I do not think that Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo is doing any favor to this country to write to the Minister such rubbish.

As Jimmy declares in his article that; "There is nothing really wrong with begging as a livelihood. Governments beg too." One hopes there is a big difference between begging and asking for a loan where money is concerned.

As Christians, there is that belief that those who have had their lives ended up as beggars in this world, like the poor Lazarus in bible, under the rich man's table, the Creator has got their internal places made ready in heaven together with the terrible hell in heaven for the rich.

Let us all agree that if Uganda continuously borrows money, that money must be paid back with interest. Or those who have lent that money, will find a way to recover their money before the coming of heaven.
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+1 #6 Akao 2021-10-06 23:42
But is there a job description for these ministry. I wonder what is included in the job description.

It would be interesting to make this public, so that we the "ordinary people" including the karamjong people understand what this ministry is suppose to be doing.

The waste that Uganda make by having these useless ministries could develop the country one step ahead. What can this minister do that the MPs cannot do?

It's like having all the categories of MPs without really indicating who is supposed to do what. There is youth MP, woman MP, regular MP,elderly Mp , all of them doing nothing for the population except attending funerals.

The only category of people missing MP are children. I guess the male MP is for men and children. If one MP was elected instead of all these categories, a lot of people could be employed in the office of the MP and paid for by all the money wasted on all the other categories of redundant MPs
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+1 #7 charles s 2021-10-12 17:42
This is so touching indeed and a sharp advice to the concerned
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