Taking a stroll along the streets of Kampala or any other town including the new gazetted ‘cities’, Mr. President you will be taken aback by the amount of littering and rubbish on the streets.
When you try to ask one or two people you find dumping rubbish on the street, they will tell you the authorities will clean it up or wonder why you are so concerned yet the street is not your personal property.
Go to a public office to get what is supposed to be a public service and as a result paid for by our taxes and you will get the shock of your life. If you do not look like you will part with some good money or come in with a ‘recommendation’ also fondly referred to as order from above, you may never get served in time. If you are finally helped it may take you not less than a couple of months of running up and down for something as small as a signature.
Same is the case in public hospitals where If you do not have an envelope for the nurse or doctor, the most you are likely to get is a few painkillers and a list of medicines to buy from a pharmacy of their choice sometimes. Thank God at least the diagnosis you will get given getting a proper non commercially twisted diagnosis from a private hospital is also becoming nearly impossible in this country.
Where did we go wrong?
Before I get into where we went wrong as a nation, I would like to assert that the above scenarios are actually what is manifested on a much larger scale as grand corruption Your Excellency in the higher offices of government involving heads of government parastatals, district heads, permanent secretaries in government ministries plus ministers in cabinet. It is this systematic and systemic break down of systems, accountability and order in this country that brings us to the question below.
What went wrong?
Placing the origin of the blame of this individualistic, inherently corrupt and selfish nature that has eaten up our country is quite hard but what has been visible over the past 30 years that we can all attest to is grand corruption at all levels of government from the highest offices to the rank and file transcending even our coveted security forces.
And the ugly side of it is that many have gotten away with it previously and many still are getting away with it now and even after I pen this piece something that needs to stop.
As the general public looks on in amazement and disgust when their taxes, those of their parents and grand parents plus pensions are looted in broad day light, their anger at their own country and government has built up to an extent that they now care less for this beloved country.
The saying going around is after all no one respects public office or public property why should an ordinary man who is not holding any office worth a mention then go ahead to respect what those leading them abuse on a daily basis.
As a result this mantra has eaten up whatever good will and integrity was left in this country and its systems that’s why cheating exams is not a big deal any more, paying a bribe to a public servant is normal and in many instances breaking the law and getting away with it doesn’t make news at all.
What can be done?
There is a common saying often quoted by an opposition party honcho in Kampala “A fish rots from the head” and if this fish (Uganda in this case) is ever to be resuscitated it must begin from the Head, Mr. President.
Simple things like respect of public office which entails offering the service government pays public officials to offer diligently, respect of public funds, accountability for every penny picked from government coffers and respect for the rule of law and human rights must not only be done but as well be seen to be done by the General public starting from the Presidency through state house and down to all levels of government your Excellency.
As this takes shape Mr. President, service delivery will improve as result, more resources will be available to invest in the country’s growing population, production and infrastructure. Finally the patriotism, you are so much trying to inculcate into Ugandans through the patriotism club will begin to take shape automatically your Excellency as citizens see better public services, more transparency and the rule of law being followed by their leaders.
We can then have a generation that has Uganda at heart and puts country first in all their endeavours as they see their leaders do the same but if the status quo remains as it its with unabated corruption, land grabbing and impunity as the order of the day, the selfishness with in the young generation will only be entrenched further your Excellency.
As a result we shall see more brain drain going forward, more abuse of public property and services until we shall reach crisis levels as a country where nothing progressive can take place any more.
Mr. President remodel patriotism and nationalism for us on a day to day basis with those around you to save this nation from the oncoming catastrophe resulting from extreme individualism, impunity, corruption and selfishness.
The Author is a Senior Analyst at Consulting Firm Brothers Intelligence LLC