The year is new but is there any prospect of something good in the current Uganda?
I don't know whether Ugandans should've stopped holding new year's celebrations on the 26th of January 1986, or shortly after that date. For many years, probably more than two decades, the life of an ordinary Ugandan has been stagnant.
If it were stagnant in just economic prosperity but thriving of human rights, rule of law, good health, this stagnancy wouldn't be troubling. But stagnancy has been everywhere; poverty, governance, health, human rights, etc.
In the present state of Uganda, not only are many people destitute, majority of those who are not, are being haunted by a perfectly reasonable fear that they may become so at any moment.
Learners at university have the constant prospect of unemployment; salaried employees know that their firm may go bankrupt or find it necessary to cut down its staff; businessmen, even those who are reputed to be very rich, know that loss of all their money is by no means improbable. Professional men have a very hard struggle.
After making great sacrifices for the education of their sons and daughters, parents find that there are no employment opportunities that used to be there for those who had the kinds of skills that their children have acquired.
If they are lawyers, they find that people can no longer afford to pay for the services of lawyers, although serious injustices remain unremedied. If they are doctors, they find that there are no lucrative hypochondriac patients to go for regular medical checkups for their private businesses to keep afloat, while many genuine sufferers have to forgo much-needed medical treatment.
If doctors are serving in government hospitals, they find that one has to make regular and risky street protests in order to earn a decent income. If they are teachers, they find that there are not enough private schools to absorb them.
If they are engineers and architects, they find that not many Ugandans are financially capable of constructing buildings - both residential and commercial. The few who are financially capable, avoid professional engineers in an effort to evade "high" costs that come with hiring professionals. Instead, they go for 'inginiyas' whose services are more pocket-friendly.
In the current Uganda, one finds many young men and women of university education serving behind the counters in shops earning not more than 100,000/= per month. It may save them from destitution, but only at the expense of reasonable formal employment.
Young and educated women who despise the little pay have resorted to prostitution. They've opened up websites such as Exotic Uganda, Uganda Hot Girls etc. and social media accounts via which they market their services. Towards the 2021 festive season, which is yet to end, they coined a phrase, "chilling with the big boys," which decently stands for their seasonal but lucrative prostitution.
In all classes, from the lowest to almost the highest, economic fear governs men's thoughts by day, and their dreams at night, making their work nerve-racking and their leisure unrefreshing. This ever-present sorrow and financial insecurity is, I think, the main cause of the mood of madness and bitterness which has swept over great parts of the country and is reflected on social media.
Some of the hopeless have resorted to treacherous, money-driven self-proclaimed men of God for hope. These men of God not only have an insatiable desire to milk every penny from their followers but also derive their legitimacy in propping up the regime.
On their pulpits, the so-called men of God sing praises for the regime, give platforms to men and women who have contributed to the suffering of a common man, and paint a picture that if the status quo is changed, life will become more troublesome. Because our political environment greatly requires a favorable spiritual environment, men of God are given all the freedom to loot in exchange for their services to the regime.
For those who are conscious enough to know the real problem and have a Kakwenza-courage, security men break into their homes, threaten to break their legs, and finally inflict excruciating pain on them which leaves them with a significant risk of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), deformity or death.
The writer is a Ugandan citizen