My country discovered that it had oil deposits underfoot. That was a good thing seeing as we are classified as one of ‘those that are broke’ and having a reprieve; any reprieve should be a god thing for us.
The elation was tinged at times with fear; suspicion that the ruling elite of the country would find a way to steal the wealth. There are those who believe that my country’s leaders being what they are and having the background that they have (poverty at all levels of their earlier years and having come to prominence because most of them were crazy enough to stare down the blood-crazed killers who ruled the land before them and won), they’d try to steal anything that could be stolen. If something was unstealable, it was believed, they’d bide their time and wait for a time such a thing would be available for theft.
Naturally, we all expected the oil to be stolen. No one was surprised to see the government cozying up to the Bunyoro kingdom, the traditional rulers of the land where the oil is found. No one is surprised that suddenly, a large number of contracts are going to a tiny clique. The wider public might not even know because of all the silence that the government says has something to do with the secrecy that is required in share agreements; we don’t know how and when the oil dollars will start making our lives better.
All that is understandable. This is Uganda where we let our leaders get away with anything so, as usual, we are not surprised. But we always knew that no matter how much the top guys stole, they could not exhaust the oil reserves. They’d steal some for their puny little families maybe to the third generation but such a resource is not limited to the whims of a few greedy thieves. We knew that we had arrived.
Unfortunately, the picture might not be as rosy as that. Reading the supremacist publications like The Economist, which is so condescending, (how come those guys don’t attribute as much as the rest of us are forced to?) one will get the sense that we are finding oil and any other resource this side (Africa) because there is something afoot.
The Germans have been showing us their electric cars for decades on TV but we always thought it is just smart kids doing some harmless stuff. But now with all the noises about going green, everyone will be looking at oil producers with disdain, I think.
Then all your oil will be worthless.
(Yeah, nothing to do with Tintin. Or maybe there is. I am on a marathon; got 30 issues, from the very first).