The president of Uganda has for ages cultivated an image as a wise economist who has more than just a few tricks up his sleeve on how to fix broken Uganda. True, he has allegedly served as an economics teacher in some long-gone era, as we have been told ad nauseum.
So one wonders why, after all these years at the helm, an office that is the personification of the person of the president, the country is still in a shambles.
The central bank governor, brought in in 2001 to provide some sanity and austerity, was recently in the news for grumbling that the president does not know jack about the state of the economy. Well, not those words exactly but what he said was not any more flattering; the situation was best depicted in a Daily Monitor cartoon.
A messy child was shown in the middle of a room with the results of his handiwork and the governor was standing at the door with a frown, admonishing Naughty Nag.
The national currency is in free fall. Sometimes, one wonders how it has still failed to hit the bottom. At a time like this, as has been witnessed in other places in the world, the situation becomes volatile something fierce. The demos have come and gone but we cannot be sure they’ll not reoccur.
The opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, who was famously violently arrested earlier this year for his role in the protests against the rising cost of living, was declared innocent of any wrong-doing yesterday. Immediately after the ruling, he said the opposition is going back to what it does best – protest.
The prayers being organized in Masaka are a form of protest. A baby was shot dead during the fracas that had the government criticized for its senseless use of force to quell the riots.
But all this is a spinoff from the main picture. It is the economy, damnit! Our economist president, always moving around the country with a black board, impressing the peasants, has not given us impressive solutions that work.
Instead, what we hear of is irresponsible spending by his government and those close to him.