According to the Bank of Uganda’s financial capability survey, nearly 50% of Uganda’s working class earn less than Shs. 150,000/= per month. A paltry of close to 1% earn at least one million Uganda shillings per month.
With such incomes, it is only common knowledge to everyone that the apparent hike in commodity prices across the country, is not only economically devastating but also heart wrecking. An average Ugandan can barely afford to live. Inevitably, we risk having more people opting to auction their kidneys to afford a living. This beautiful country that is bed rocked on the “economics that works”, is certainly experiencing Mr. Kasaija’s “Pheeww” sloppy economic down gradient.
Although it is understandable that the economic recession isn’t unique to Uganda, it is difficult to understand why the kind of empathy exhibited by our leaders is different from the one exhibited elsewhere. For example, as we were being told to forego bread and opt for cassava, our Kenyan and Tanzanian brothers were being cushioned by salary increments. In our case however, the proponents of cassava eating have been seen either directly or indirectly footing costs of luxuries birthday celebrations across the country.
Isn’t it therefore awkward to even think about the fact that those who manage this excellent enterprising economy, again struggle so hard to evade the consequences of their (mis)management)? For instance, they construct for us ‘excellent’ public schools, and yet their children enjoy the returns of the Cambridge or the USA curriculum. They establish ‘amazing’ public hospitals, and yet when they fall sick, their first destination isn’t the ‘beautiful’ Kiruddu but AgaKhan hospital. You will hear them chest thumping about a peaceful, secure and serene country, and yet they can’t travel even a kilometer without a legion of gun-wielding guards. They will brag about an excellent road network, and yet they drive with ear breaking sirens; commanding for the undeserved right of way amidst a migraine causing traffic jam. To whom then do they provide these ‘excellent’ services?
A chef who claims to have prepared a delicious meal, and yet when it comes to lunch time, he runs to a nearby restaurant to quench his hunger, is synonymous to a man who tries to climb a tree while pocketing.
The “do as I say; and not as I do” dogma is hogwash and should be disbanded. We deserve some dose of empathy. If not for anything, at least for our trust. The moment we see our leaders falling sick, and running to the facility that they constructed, then we can be sure that it won’t be strange of them to hear that Nawaikoke Health Centre III can run for weeks without paracetamol.
Until we break this disconnect, this country shall remain polarized and extremely divided. This will increase our vulnerability to the consequences of privilege classing – which portends a country of ‘them’ against ‘us’!
The Writer is a humble citizen of Nawaikoke in Kaliro District