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False sense of entitlement is holding Uganda back

A government car driving in the wrong lane

A government car driving in the wrong lane

In August 2018, I acquired a driving permit, and was excited about the prospect of freedom of mobility. Eight months on, and the early excitement has turned into dread.

Is there anything more stressful than driving in Kampala? Having to constantly look left and right because of the inevitability of taxis and boda bodas improperly entering the road; not knowing what side of the road boda bodas and taxis are going to attempt to overtake on; bumper-to-bumper traffic every time it rains; police vehicles perpetually driving in the middle of the road, sirens blaring, government vehicles deciding that their time is more worthy than anyone else’s; drivers speeding up at intersections instead of slowing down.

What do all of these examples have in common? Entitlement. Taxis and bodas feel as though they are entitled to the road; so, they stop where they like and overtake where they like.

At the best of times, this leads to chaos and confusion for other road users. And at the worst of times, it leads to entirely avoidable accidents and even death. Police cars and government vehicles drive in the middle of the road with their sirens blaring because they feel entitled to drive as they please due to their lofty positions. Instead of upholding the law, they are consistently breaking it.

And of course civilians are going to follow suit -- and if nobody is following the highway code, everyone on the road suffers. Entitlement is defined as “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment”.

Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, entitlement has gripped the nation. Until this entitlement culture is eradicated, the nation will continue to wallow in squalor, despite being abundantly blessed with natural resources. This got me thinking: where else is entitlement present in the country and how is it affecting us?

Culture is defined as “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”.

Unfortunately for Uganda, as a people, we are not just entitled on the road. We are entitled in almost every sphere of our existence -- from the top of the social pyramid all the way down to the bottom. Political leaders feel entitled to their positions. Their sense of entitlement explains why despite the country experiencing no real economic growth, political leaders are all too willing to ask for pay rises.

Furthermore, this sense of entitlement expounds why politicians dawdle until election time, when they suddenly wake up from their hibernation with a burst of energy that swiftly disperses once campaign season is in their rear view mirror.

The entitlement culture in Uganda has meant that the term civil “servant” is nothing but a fallacy, as the only people political leaders serve are themselves. One could argue that this sense of entitlement has also clouded political leaders’ judgment when it comes to viewing long-term versus short-term policies.

Because leaders feel entitled to their positions, their main goal is often just to get re-elected, and not to promote any significant growth/change.
This leads to the implementation of very myopic policies that are ultimately not in the country/economy’s best interest. In addition to this, because leaders feel that they “inherently deserve” the positions that they are in, they struggle with the idea of succession.

This entitlement culture does not stop with political leaders. In the business sphere, entitlement rears its ugly head all too regularly. How often do businesses/clients expect a job to be done without paying for it? Too often! Because people feel that they “inherently deserve privileges or special treatment”, businesses are frequently not paid on time for products/services.

This has a trickledown effect, because if businesses are not paid on time, employees cannot be paid on time, which means that other businesses (where money employees make can be spent) also do not get paid on time, creating a cycle that ultimately costs everyone.

The buck does not stop with business leaders. Because employees feel entitled to their jobs, they seldom work to their full potential. This simultaneously frustrates employers and clients (because employees’ inefficiency often costs clients time whilst also affecting the business’ bottom line).

A system is defined as “a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network”.

Because human beings are a social creature, for us to operate at our most effective, we require systems (be it political, business, law, etc.). For systems to work effectively, most (if not all) parts must adhere to a set(s) of rules. Because of how rife the sense of entitlement is in Uganda, most people just adhere to their own disposition.

Due to the nature of systems, if most of its components go rogue, the system is ineffective. For example, if you are driving in Kampala and adhere to the rules of the highway code, it will take you a longer time to get to your destination than someone that does not follow the code.

This can frustrate drivers and cause them to shun the code, creating further disorder and pushing more and more drivers towards snubbing the code. If we do not dispel with this entitlement culture and restore our systems, social and economic progress will continue to stall.

How do we go about solving this? Ultimately, it should start with leadership. If government officials and law enforcement officers stop taking their positions for granted and lead by example, civilians are likely to follow suit. Rule breakers should also be held accountable and punished for their actions.

Once we have our systems back in place, there is no reason why Uganda cannot capitalize on the abundance of natural resources we have been blessed with. As a proud citizen of this beautiful nation, it is my hope that in 50 years, I can look back and tell my grandchildren that 2019 was the turning point.

This article was first published in April 2019 in New Vision. The author died in a road accident on December 30, 2022. May his soul rest in peace

Comments

+4 #1 Mandela 2023-01-04 12:50
Nice article.....all reality.
For God and my country is just a fallacy.

It is all "for me and my family"
We better change our motto if we cannot live up to it......
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+2 #2 Muyobo 2023-01-04 15:16
I think the appropriate and compelling description of the problem is IMPUNITY. Period.

All the wrongs and .is behavior the srticle mentions are criminal acts which reqrequire culprits to be punished but because we've ebtenched a culture of impunity in our value system, individuals will go on with the.
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+2 #3 Zaitun 2023-01-05 16:58
May someone who cares, one of his tribemates or friends, tell the Museveni ruling family the devilish sort of hell they have introduced as a punitive mesure to reduce Ugandans to slavery.
It is high time each Ugandan started having a black note book where all evils committed by these rogues are written and then published tomorrow once power escapes from their finger-tips.

Even satan at one point will be juged to endure an everlasting jail-term. Our leader are not all that different.
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0 #4 Lillian 2023-01-06 09:43
Elly .....we shall always miss ur wisdom. U were a gem
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+1 #5 Akao 2023-01-07 05:10
Quoting Muyobo:
I think the appropriate and compelling description of the problem is IMPUNITY. Period.

All the wrongs and .is behavior the srticle mentions are criminal acts which reqrequire culprits to be punished but because we've ebtenched a culture of impunity in our value system, individuals will go on with the.


100% agree with your description of Uganda's situation. It's not entitlement per se, but lack of implementation and policing of the laws.

Anybody in any part of the world can behave like the way Ugandans behave if given a chance with no rules and laws to follow.

You think there is anyone in the world for example who would like to pay tax for example? No, people pay tax because it's a law in most countries, and those laws are policed. Once museveni and his goons leave, the next government should focus on bringing back rules and laws like those that make other countries functional
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0 #6 Akot 2023-01-08 17:32
Quoting Mandela:


For God and my country is just a fallacy.

It is all "for me and my family"

We better change our motto if we cannot live up to it.


Thanks.

Either Ugandans show Museveni way out in UNITY as ONE PEOPLE, or they are doomed with the evil family for good!
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0 #7 Akot 2023-01-08 17:37
Zaitun, understood, but,

Would Museveni & family own Uganda if Ugandans were not powerless tribally divided ruled by the evil family?

Only Ugandans, as ONE PEOPLE in UNITY, can stop their enslavement, especially as the zone is formed by their tribal lands & Museveni has non in it!

Did Sudanese Idi Amin fight to come back?
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0 #8 Akot 2023-01-08 17:55
Akao, agreed, but,

Uganda is Museveni's family business & the law is made to protect them!

Unlike USA/EU/UK where tax money is used for Public/Social Services, reason migration to these developed lands will NEVER end!

See, Kurdes taken in France come out to blame France for just 1 French getting mad & shot them! But the Kurds couldn't say a word about their miseries in their country, didn't say a word, but ran out!

Uganda belongs to Rwandese Museveni & he has brought in thousands of migrants, refugees, while his son is waiting to replace the dad,the question is WHEN?

Only NO to the tribalistic system & UNITY will give Ugandans the power needed to get back their land, especially as Museveni will have no tribal land to fight back from!

Why keep/protect Museveni with the divisive tribalistic system & fake elections?
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