The “different arms of government” is quite the give away that governments have the ability and to be frank, ought to multitask. So excuse my surprise when the good man Samson’s honest and valid question on Sunday’s debrief.
This is my second time writing to Samson here, I pray it does not get awkward.
Kamala Harris’ response to NPR when the interviewer seemed to ask “…but there is going to be so much else going on…” was, “We know how to multitask. There’s a reason that word exists in the English language. That’s what’s going to be required. We have to multitask, which means, as with anyone, we have a lot of priorities and we need to see them through.”
That to me is the difference. If multitasking is impossible, why are some countries good at it and why would one assume that talk about an election or repeating one would be a weight on our ankles?
It is true that there are a lot of things to talk about, some deservedly prioritised over the others, but in a country where democracy alias elections have been the fall of us, when is the right time to demand a fair election?
It is certainly not in every fifth year of government!
As I was saying, the “different arms of government” is a give away that the government and therefore the country ought to multitask. The fact is, we can’t have all 45 million Ugandans, all at once, sit to discuss and make decisions on national matters; climate change, Covid-19 vaccine, elections, coffee bill or be it sugar bill.
The general population may talk, but it is up to the arm of government that is meant to take care of these important issues to shut them up. And how work is made easy for that arm is through committees of parliament, under article 90 of the constitution.
The general functions of the Committees of Parliament in addition to their specific functions include; discussing and making recommendations on bills laid before Parliament, to initiate any Bills within their areas of competence, to assess and valuate activities of government and other bodies, carry out relevant research and to report to Parliament their findings.
All these are geared towards making easy, speedy and efficient the work of Parliament than having 45 million Ugandans in the house, which as prior writ represent the people and if a problem meant to be solved by them is not resolved, the people will talk, and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. They will talk!
The nature of governance is that as a government finds solutions to one problem, it won’t stop other problems from coming up.
But then, if the government does not find a solution to one problem, the problems pile up. The problem of the elections has hardly been dealt with by the answerable arms of government. Are they simply unable to multitask or they simply will not pay attention?
Truth is we do have a good level of incompetence there but it’s the inattention for me.
My thinking is that even if we were to have the debate, it would still be tiresome to say that one arm is competent, and another is not. Instead, there is a limited supply of that thing called attention, and how, when and what to act on. For some countries, a state of deep focus is vital.
For others, perpetual distractions look like a natural office necessity; vital bills are not passed in time, if at all, and the less vital bills, usually what we call the Christmas gifts do actually make it in time for Christmas. Now, I have nothing against Christmas but this is an maddening culture. Do we think Ghana and Botswana are still talking about the elections they held as much as we do? My bet is that they are probably talking about ours more than theirs.
Honest Abe once said, “You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
I beckon you, let us not give those who we should hold accountable reason to keep escaping today’s responsibility. Let us not let them imagine that adult men and women can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. If we dare, other countrieswill discuss mass testing, COVID vaccines, and climate change. In Uganda, we shall stagnate talking about going back into a bloody election because electrol reforms have been lagging for a decade or so.
If you think about all the conversations we have had since November, a bloody nomination that left the city in a mess, then we went into a messy campaign and we ended up in a messy election and now in a staggering post-election period.
It is true that we are losing time and other countries are moving fast, and we shan’t ever move on. We shall not discuss the long awaited coffee bills, sugar bills or even the way forward with a stimulus package for COVID-19 for businesses because those meant to shut the people up are inattentive and ergo cannot multitask.