By Charles Okecha for NewVision
The aftermath of decades of turbulence was sufficient to goad Ugandans to live and govern themselves prudently knowing very well what is at stake. Yet to this very day, it takes heavy Police deployment to secure local and national elections.
The country also remains gullible to foreign indoctrination and vulnerable to imported terrorism because personal interests supersede national. She lies in the enclave of toddler nations pillaged by street protests, corruption and acts that impede socio-economic well-being. Tanzania that at one time sacrificed for our freedom is a blood big-brother worth emulating.
Despite frequent skirmishes at the Kenyan coastline shared with her southern neighbour and lately murders of Ugandan Muslim clerics, Tanzania remains relatively calm and peaceful. Other than the 1998 al-Qaeda attacks on the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, the country registers no major threats from radical extremists.
In their national leadership, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere relinquished power to his Deputy Ali Hassan Mwinyi (a Muslim), the latter to Benjamin Mkapa a (Christian) who respectively passed the baton to Jakaya Kikwete (a Muslim) and whose deputy is Dr. Mohammed Bilah (a Muslim).
This is sufficient evidence that the Chama Cha Mapenduzi (CCM) party ably executes political matters without scandals or suspicions of religious or ethnic sectarianism. Even as I write this piece, I see a vivid imagery of the Tanzanian liberators during my early teen years.
A couple of my half-siblings were lured into the army by their cordial speech and treatment of youngsters very diametric to Amin’s brute soldiers. Today’s top brass in the military whom they trained tend to exhibit similar personality traits.
Whether in the name of God, culture, sports, politics or entertainment, any institution that brings people together can have immeasurable impact on their quality of life if its constitution and tenets are respected and adhered to.
However, in societies premised on selfishness, such institutions can be abused whether at household, regional or national levels. The Tanzanian parliament is among the least rowdy and not wearied by enacting laws to curb social disorder.
Neither has it suggested geographical divisions in a country about three times Uganda’s size but steadfastly focused in pursuit of political, social, educational and economic goals.
Apparently, the Ugandan government is treading a path that can usher us into a dimension that consolidates our stability.
Julius Nyerere’s introduction of the Umoja (Ujamaa) unity villages was ridiculed/condemned in the cold war era, but our government now encourages grassroots communities to form farmer groups.
When such policies are effectively executed and detached from partisan politics, the country can quickly seal loopholes exploited by extremists such us poverty and religious differences.
Similar intervention among the middle class can tame consumption habits and groom them into entrepreneurs and industrialists. While executing my ICT duties I interfaced with V. Patel, a foreign investor who is setting up a factory in rural Uganda.
Having served in the Indian army as a major, he considered leaving early and doing business a better venture than waiting for retirement benefits amidst inflation and rising costs of living.
In Uganda, it is rare to hear such foresight and testimonies except seeing retired civil servants holding placards and demanding for pensions!
A falcon’s view of the many residential investments bothers me whether we shall not in future have replica of Detroit’s ghost estates. Make no mistake – this is not myopic pessimism but itself an automatic consequence of architectural revolution as corporate clients crave for more modest accommodation.
What will be the way forward when firms relocate or face Ohio’s bankruptcy?
The writer is an ICT practitioner and a teacher with St. Paul’s College, Mbale