Our president is on pressure as we speak. If he’s not, well, he should be. What with the many barbs coming from all directions!
The opposition is having a field day. Mama Miria Obote is riding on the wave; throwing in her several cents’ worth of ideas. Heck, this is the chick who was on the ropes just a few weeks ago, being taken to task about her role in her late husband’s reign(s).
The whole furore is about the land giveaways that are running way out of hand.
In Uganda, if you want to get free land, get the president’s private number and call him. Tell him you have a business proposition. Just that. The rest will just fall into place.
Before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of hectares of land. Free. Well, you can pay like $1 in some cases.
This has been going on for some time now. People have been getting free land from government for a long time. That’s not like a new thing. Problem is that The Other Media House (TOMH) started to focus on it seriously, even started a subsection for it called Land Bonanza. Suddenly, the shit has hit the fan.
So the president has given out land to investors to build hotels in time for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Big deal.
What are we gaining in the mean time? Methinks there’s a lot.
I am thinking of the many jobs that will definitely be created when there are more investors coming to my country. I am thinking that if people can feel secure putting down hundreds of dollars knowing that they will not be hindered when they want to up and go, they will come here in their hundreds.
Some really sensitive areas like forests have been given away. Forests like Mabira and Bugala have been signed over to the rich people who say they can turn them into money minting projects.
I cry for that side of events because that means in the scheme of things, the president and his government do not see any importance attached to things like wetlands (see Sudhir Ruparelia’s Rosebud) and forests. The environment does not feature anywhere on his list of priorities.
That’s side, however, I don’t think he’s way out of line. I want to live in a country where the people feel proud that they are citizens. I want to see a stop to the perennial story of Ugandans jumping on the plane and flying to the colder climes. Really.
I think Ugandans are looking for the good life outside. They can’t find it here so they go out there. If these investors can bring a semblance of what is out there attracting our doctors and neurosurgeons and engineers, then I am all for it, regardless of the pain and the price at which we attain it.
I believe right now, we cannot see anything good in these happenings. I believe the president is not the favourite person of even his staunchest supporters. All this is because he does his things like a dictator. Wait a minute; he is a dictator.
But history will judge him right. I know.