There is a common English expression “a society has gone to the dogs.”
According to onestopenglish.com, this expression originated from ancient China where dogs, by tradition, were not permitted within the walls of cities.
Consequently, stray dogs roamed the areas outside the city walls and lived off the rubbish thrown out of the city by its inhabitants.
Criminals and social outcast were often expelled from cities and were sent to live among the rubbish – and the dogs. Such people were said to have “gone to the dogs.”
In Uganda’s case and in the wake of President Museveni’s directive that MPs be given individualised security because their lives are at risk, it is clear it is “the dogs that have come to Uganda instead.”
They have jumped over the moral walls of society and have taken charge of our society.
From basic calculations, the proposal to give MPs personal security is going to cost the taxpayer (you and I) billions of shillings because each MP will be provided with an armoured escort pick-up, complete with a sniper!
Remember this is happening in a country where government admitted, with a straight face, that it has no money to provide free sanitary towels to the girl child.
This is happening in a country where donors have to fly from wherever they are, to construct five-stance pit latrines for Ugandans.
This is happening in a country where millions of children still study under trees because government cannot construct enough classrooms.
This is happening in a country where between 2013 and 2017, the number of people that has slipped into poverty has increased from 6.6 million to 10 million.
This is happening in a country, where it not only the people ailing but also the medical facilities they frequent because they have no supplies and doctors.
This is happening in a country, where clearly many things have failed.
Back to the proposal, there remain a number of unanswered questions.
- Where is government going to get the money from because it was not included in this year’s financial budget?
- How many soldiers is each of the 450 MPs going to get?
- Who will pay for their allowances?
- What about the cost of maintaining the cars. What does it come to?
- Uganda has a police force that is estimated to be 40,000 men strong and an army of not more than 70,000 soldiers.
- Do the police (or even army) have enough manpower to protect the MPs and still maintain law and order in the wider society?
- Is the president’s letter a fools’ day joke or is he trying to save face in the wake of the recent murders of prominent people?
- But the key question is: who will protect the ordinary Ugandan, who lacks a platform to make his/her voices heard?
- Should he/she give up and wait for fate?
- Does government work for all or a select group of individual?
Not that many people expect swift answers but they ought to be posed.
While government may choose to be selective on who it provides security, it should know that once a society descends into a state of instability and lawlessness, all categories of people suffer: poor, rich, privileged, under-privileged.
Like the spate of murders in Uganda have illustrated, the poor and rich have all been victims.
The author is the Editor of The Nile Post.