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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Uganda’s Born-Movement Generation

By Stephen Twinoburyo

South Africa has a group that is called the born-free generation. These are children that were born from 1990 when Nelson Mandela was released. Their progress has been tracked as they have grown. The year they completed primary school, the year they joined matric (the equivalent of senior 6 in Uganda) as well as their matric results have all made news. Statistics have been compiled on how many have reached those levels, their aspirations as well as what they have benefited in the new South Africa.

Particular interest has been placed on children born in 1994, the year Nelson Mandela became the first democratic president of the country. According to author Sandile Mamela, “They have grown and developed at an age marked by tumultuous social and political transformation for a better world. It is their role and responsibility, now that they are about to come of age, to take part in the battles over the direction of their country and its role in the continent and the world. …. Their mothers and fathers could never have lived a life where they had individual choice which did not put group rights first.”

If I am to look at Uganda, the equivalent would be the born-movement generation, children born from 1986 when President Yoweri Museveni came to power. What have they achieved, what are their aspirations and what have we, the pre-movement generation, taught them?

The best place for me to start is my family. My younger sister, born on the onset of the movement generation, is now a university lecturer and happily married with two children – an extension of the born-movement generation. The bother after her, has just completed his electronic engineering degree and is beating the streets of Kampala in search for a job. The youngest of all is making his way to university.

Like the rest of us in the family before them, they have managed to find their way to university and acquire an education. However, what kind of Uganda have they and all the other born-movement generation children grown in and what does the future Uganda hold for them? How many of this group have made it through university and how many are employed? Such statistics are very difficult to acquire in Uganda and at best, one can make deductions – and with some good reason, generalizations.

What makes the Ugandan story after 1986 difficult to follow is the fact that our only president since then has not stuck to one way of doing things but has shifted and changed again and again. An analysis can still be made based on the current situation and I am going to use a comparison between Uganda and South Africa to give an indication.

According to official figures, more than 60% of Uganda’s population is below 25 years of age. This is a country of youngsters, so an analysis of this group will represent the majority of the country. The government must also think about this group because this is an active group. Pension funds and government also need to consider what is going to happen to productivity and social care in 40 years’ time. The population growth rate is 2.692% (compared to South Africa’s 0.281%). South Africa’s population is 1.5 times that of Uganda and yet South Africa is 6.1 times larger in land size. 61% of South Africa’s population is urban (98% urban in Gauteng province) while in Uganda the urban population is 13%. This means that the majority of the born-movement generation are rural and increasingly so.

At the coming of Mandela, South Africa enacted many laws that made the life of South African very different, in almost all ways. Uganda also made changes. A new constitution was developed to give a Ugandan broader voice and people were encouraged to participate more in their local leadership structures. Unfortunately, this constitution lost respect when it was later changed under a cloud to allow for the unlimited stay of the president.

Long ago, going to university just meant going to Makerere but the born-movement generation have to make a choice from scores of universities. Quality may be another issue but acquiring university education has been greatly simplified. Like all other youngsters elsewhere, these youngsters have grown up in an era of advanced communication technology. Studying has been made easier by the ease with which information can be acquired or passed on electronically.

The born-movement generation have been brought up in a world of instant access to information. As such more should be expected from them in tackling the challenges that face their society than those before them. It was easier to frustrate the pre-movement generations by simply denying them information or communication but that is not possible now. Uganda is the 68th in cellular phone usage and 64th in internet usage in the world. These are impressive positions.

Getting into the job market has remained exceedingly frustrating. Uganda’s GDP per capita of $1300 at the 208th position in the world is not helpful. The country’s labour force distribution is, agriculture: 82%, industry: 5% and services: 13%. Since most of the educated people are likely to end up in the industry or services sector, the born-movement generation face an uphill task. (South Africa’s figures are: agriculture: 3.5%, industry: 32.1%, services: 64.4%).

ISO, ESO and other security bodies are known to exist but they have failed to beat Amin’s State Research Beaureu in instilling perpetual mass fear. The new security bodies are more covert in their activities and their means may include intimidation and frustration of opportunities, otherwise some kind of meaningless charges are formulated. A born-movement youngster is aware that he/she may quietly be visited by security agents.

It is interesting that while South Africa occupies the 98th position in the world in military expenditure as a proportion of it’s GDP, Uganda is far ahead at number 76. The born-movement generation are therefore likely to work more for military expenditure than other developmental issues compared to South Africa. According to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, Africa is the most conflict region of the world, with the number of conflicts taking place in Africa over the past decade far exceeding those of the rest of the world combined. Uganda has had a fair share in these conflicts. The born-movement generation have grown up in a Uganda that is always fighting somewhere, and they undoubtedly have to pay for this fighting – either through contribution or lost opportunities.

South Africa’s 2009 GDP was $495.1 billion compared to Uganda’s $43.22 billion, (11.46 times). South Africa’s budgeted expenditure is $100 billion compared to Uganda’s $2.5 billion (40 times). While the South African government gets it’s financing mainly from taxation and local borrowing, the Ugandan government gets most of it’s funding from foreign donors and foreign lending institutions. As a result, the born-movement generation carries an ever increasing foreign debt burden. Uganda needs to refocus its production priorities. A shift from agriculture to industry and services is highly desired.

Today’s youths have also grown up in an economically different environment. Unlike us who came before them, they know they may go without a grocery item but that will only be due to lack of purchasing power and not the non availability of the item. They have been saved the torture of queuing for sugar or salt. They have also not seen the days of knowing somebody at Uganda breweries before one could acquire a crate of beer.

With electricity production of 2.256 billion kWh (compared to South Africa’s 240.3 billion kWh) and looking at the country’s population, the born-movement generation is likely to live without electricity. Energy investment is needed but this will require massive borrowing that will spread the debt repayment to the born-movement’s grand children. However, the country has no choice but to invest in energy if it is to offer the children of the born-movement generation a better future.

There are items of language that now sound like they existed since Uganda was created. There are Kadogos, Investors, Afandes e.t.c. LCs have forced the village muluka chiefs into oblivion and where we knew of DCs, now we hear of Resident District Commissioners as if the ones before never resided in their districts of work. There are also phrases like “broad-based”, “fundamental epoch” and “10-point programme” that came in with the movement but then quickly disappeared as priorities changed. How about the origins of Kitanda beer that eventually gave birth to Akafunda?

Politically, these youngsters have grown up with a ‘strong man’ view of their leader and have been discouraged from viewing the president’s position as contestable. They’ve grown up with a belief that opposition to the president is equivalent to being an enemy of the state. They have grown up with a view that power belongs to the leaders (and of course the military) rather than the people and that political power or military seniority is a means to massive acquisition.

They have grown up in a system that encourages more of individual acquisition rather than general development. They have grown up with a view that institutions don’t matter but rather who is in charge. They have grown up with a view that to be successful in Uganda, one must lay a hand on a connection that ultimately leads to the president. Unfortunately, this is what is likely to shape this generation.

This is my view of Uganda’s born-movement generation and the challenges they face. However, they live in a period where they can take their destiny into their own hands. They are ambitious achievers, they demand what they want and advances in technology have offered them opportunities to rate themselves against the best in the world. If they decide that they want something, they will surely get it. .

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6 Comments

Posted by on April 19, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

Uganda, explained by our Cultural Dimensions

By Stephen Twinoburyo

While reading the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, I came across reference to a study of national cultural dimensions that was conducted by Geert Hofstede. Further research into these dimensions revealed findings that could explain some of the behaviour of we Ugandans, and why we possibly find ourselves in the situation we are in.

The five cultural dimensions identified are:

Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism, Masculinity, Uncertainty Avoidance and Long-Term Orientation. The highest score in any dimension so far is 118 (China for LTO).

So where does Uganda come in?

Power Distance Index is perhaps the most crucial for Ugandans. It measures the extent to which a society extols hierarchy. Under PDI, the less powerful members of society accept that power is distributed unequally and look up to authority (family, organization, institution e.t.c) more readily. Both the followers and the leaders endorse this power difference.

Most Arab countries average around 80 while Austria has a PDI of 11. There are no available figures for Uganda but a composite value of 64 is given for East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia). South Africa is midway at 49 while USA has a PDI of 40. Countries with a low PDI have a strong belief in equality for their citizens and the citizens have the opportunity to rise in society.

Ugandans, either out of colonialism or circumstances, have a strong belief in hierarchy. When one meets a Ugandan, they will usually ask where one works or what university degree they possess. Ugandans will address themselves as Engineer XX, Director XY, Architect XZ, Afande PQ e.t.c. This is not the case, for instance, in South Africa. One can socialize with a somebody for a long time and not know that he/she is a director of a large company or a top government official. Needless to say, nobody will ask what one studied unless it’s in a interview. A couple of weeks ago, I attended a workshop at Wits University in Johannesburg where different people from the finance industry were presenting papers on mathematical finance. The programme only showed their names and I was surprised later to find that half of them were professors and the rest PHD doctors, a number of them key players in the financial sector of the country.

How does this PDI play out politically in Uganda? In Uganda, political leaders are everything. Many Ugandans look up to the president unquestioningly and he will equally back down orders, in return. For instance, nobody in the NRM can question why the chairman’s position has never been contested. It is a given that only him must occupy it until he decides to give it to somebody else. The president, at a whim, summons anybody to wherever he is, and he can do as he pleases with any institution of the state. Why? Because he has authority and people have given him that space. To quote the Daily Monitor of Friday, April 02, 2010: “President Museveni has ordered the police to question Dr Kizza Besigye over comments he allegedly made…”. I can assure you this order will be carried out. The president orders police to question his political opponent. Why doesn’t the president then become a policeman instead? Throughout his time, the president promises roads and people feel very grateful often seeing this as a sign that he loves them, yet it is the government’s job to deliver.

Leaders in Uganda know how to exploit such positions. Idi Amin and Museveni have done this to their best. Almost everything in the country, however tiny, ends up with the president. A demonstration can not last more than two days because the president will bark down orders for it to stop, and with the help of the police or his army, it will. Such a thing can not happen in a country like S Africa or Germany or the US. All these things have their historical origins but we need to work towards lowering the PDI in Uganda.

Individualism measures how one defines the self against collectivism. On the individualism scale, USA scores 91 while Guatemala scores 6. East Africa scores 27. Out of our cultural roots, Ugandans are generally collective people. This in itself is good but there is some value lost in individualism. According to Geert Hofstede “The “American dream” is clearly a representation of this. This is the Americans’ hope for a better quality of life and a higher standard of living than their parents’. This belief is that anyone, regardless of their status can ‘pull up their boot straps’ and raise themselves from poverty”. When individuals like Kiiza Besigye, Nobert Mao or Mugisha Muntu come out, they are frowned upon. These people are however expressing their individualism.

Masculinity measure the trends among the genders. Studies at IBM showed that women’s values differ less among societies than men’s values. The ‘masculine’ group are generally assertive while ‘feminine’ are usually modest, caring pole. Assertiveness, power, strength, materialism/material success, self-centeredness and individual achievements are generally traits of the masculine group. Japan scores highest at 95 and the Nordic countries lowest, all below 20. East Africa has a score of 41 and I expect Uganda to fair well in a balance between masculinity and femininity. This may explain the large number of women politicians and activist in the country. The recent demonstration at the Electoral Commission offices is an indication of this.

Uncertainty avoidance looks at a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity and generally refers to the search for Truth. It gives an indication of how members of society feel comfortable or uncomfortable in unstructured situations. Uncertainty avoiding societies create and adhere to strict laws and rules. Germany avoids uncertainty (65) while life is completely uncertain in Singapore (8). With East Africa at 52, I don’t know what to make of Uganda. Maybe this explains why some people may not be keen on change.

Long-term orientation’s characteristics include persistence, ordering relationships by status and observing this order, being thrift and having a sense of shame. On the other hand, the characteristics of short-term orientation are personal steadiness and stability, protecting your ‘face’, and reciprocation of greetings, favors, and gifts. East Africa scores 25 but take heart, Sierra Leone scores 16. I, without any hesitation, place Uganda under short-term orientation.

These dimensions have been used by multi-national companies to study how values in the workplace are influenced by cultures. Companies have also used these studies in their multi-national expansions.

I hope this may help explain to Ugandans how our behaviour – and that of our leaders – is influenced by our culture.

 
 

Uganda, what is our possible future?

 By Stephen Twinoburyo

I have always believed that it is important to learn from other people’s strides towards improving themselves. As such, I have had time recently to study what are known as ‘The Dinokeng Scenarios’ in South Africa and pose the question: ‘what lessons can Uganda draw from this?’.

Based on the premise that a more engaged citizenry would contribute to the consolidation and strengthening of democracy in the country, in 2008 a group of 35 South Africans from a wide spectrum of the society gathered at Dinokeng to consider the country’s possible futures. The Scenario Team comprises leaders from civil society and government, political parties, business, public administration, trade unions, religious groups, academia and the media. They were brought together by six convenors, Dr Mamphela Ramphele (the first black vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town, first black woman vice chancellor in S Africa and former partner of the late Steve Biko), Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Mrs Graça Machel, Dr Vincent Maphai, Mr Bob Head and Mr Rick Menell.

They looked at the country’s history, its achievements, where it wants to go and the critical challenges it faced. They then posed a question, ‘How can we address our critical challenges before they become time bombs that destroy our achievements?’. The answer lay in looking at three possible paths (scenarios) the country could take: Walk part, Walk behind, or Walk together. Each scenario will lead to a different future. These possible futures are based on the principle that “Futures are never given. They are created”.

Under scenario 1: walking apart, the citizens would disengage, the state would become ineffective and the country would fall apart.

Under scenario 2: walking behind, the state would lead development hence borrowing heavily, state directed investment would weaken private initiative increasing citizen dependency and in the long-run, state intervention and control would become unsustainable.

Finally under scenario 3: walking together, civil society, business, labour and the state engage and cooperate. Accountability increases and the state’s capacity to deliver core public services is enhanced. The fundamental tenet of this scenario is that the nation can succeed if and only if the citizens and leaders from all sectors rise above their narrow self-interests and contribute purposefully to building the nation.

Periodically, the Dinokeng Scenarios Team holds national debates and asks critical questions about the country’s progress in various sectors like democracy, education, health, service delivery, social integration, government policy e.t.c.

Does Uganda face similar futures or are we already in one or a combination of theses futures? Are there other future scenarios for Uganda?

To try and answer these questions, one would have to go back to Uganda’s history, especially the post-1986 history which seems to define greatly what Uganda is today.

The NRM came to power in 1986 with a 10-point programme that to a great extent captured the values of scenario 3. For about 10 years, the mood in the country was very optimistic and the country experienced tremendous economic growth. During this time, the country worked on a new constitution and the citizens and the leaders seemed to work together. Democracy looked firmer during those years and most Ugandans believed that the government was doing a good job of uplifting the country. Those are what I call the years of development.

From 1996 after President Museveni’s first presidential elections, things started changing and we seemed to move into scenario 2. It is during this time that most government assets were sold off and the state started taking an authoritarian role. The state put the citizenry in the role of walking behind. Those who politically disagreed with the leadership became excluded from the national discussion by the state and were in fact classified as ‘enemies of the state’. Two clear classes emerged: the state as the leader and the citizens as the followers. Because of the position the state put themselves in, they became very worried and fearful of the citizens. For the state, these became years of entrenchment. National development was thrown off the pedestal and personal acquisition and entrenchment took center stage. The constitution was trashed.

From 2006, we entered scenario 1. It is very clear that we are now walking apart. Looking at the corruption enquiries that are taking place, the contempt with which ministers treat parliament, the way the leadership disrespects institutions and the level of public delivery, it is undoubtable that we are falling apart and that the state is ineffective. The state achieves most of what it wants through enforcement or coercion rather than cooperation. Most of the structures and institutions that were set up during the first phase are now being torn apart. I call these the years of besiegement. The leadership is besieged because of its record and fear of the future while the citizens are besieged by the leadership that does not know where to go.

How then do we go back to scenario 3? This will require the concerted efforts of various sectors in the country.

But looking at the Ugandan opposition parties, have they taken the issues confronting the country beyond the struggle for leadership? When I think of the future of the country, I think of a future that my children and grand children should enjoy. Are our political parties addressing matters of our future that are not necessarily political? What role are they playing in forging partnerships with civil society and enlightening the citizens of their needs? What is the role of civil society, academia, religious institutions, labour e.t.c in identifying and confronting the challenges that the country faces?

We need to start critically discussing what future we envisage and want for our country. We need to start identifying possible ways to get there. We need to set the foundation for our children.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 16, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

The tragedy that is Uganda now

This is an introduction to the facebook page I launched:

Link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pretoria-South-Africa/Uganda-Good-men-and-women-can-nolonger-keep-quiet/104496356253058?v=app_2347471856&ref=ts

Introduction

By Stephen Twinoburyo

This page has been established to express frank views and discuss, in a civil manner, matters affecting Uganda.

The state of systems in Uganda is very worrying and there little indication that the leadership is still committed to taking the country to a higher level.

I have always asked why, if President Museveni loves the country, he does not hand over the leadership of the country to somebody else for better management. 24 years at the helm have left Ugandans almost hopeless. And in all these years, his party position has never been challenged.

The recent state of riots and agitation are an indication of a society that is fed up and frustrated.

After the recent shootings at Kasubi, I failed to understand why the president had to force himself to a place he was not wanted and at the height of emotions. How many people must continue to die senseless deaths in Uganda? This brought me to this question: how many people have died in the central African region under one man, all in the name of power and control?

In the early years of Museveni’s rule, he boasted greatly how his army had massacred hundreds and hundreds of people in various regions of Uganda. These were Ugandans he was proud to have massacred, people that undoubtedly had loved ones, and whose families will never be the same again. When President Museveni lies on his bed, does he feel comfortable that thousands of people have died under his name, simply because he sought absolute reign and massive acquisition? I can hardly think of any modern man that has had so many of his people killed in his name. Hopefully, historians and researchers will in future help the world get estimates – the realization may turn out to be staggering.

One always wonders why our leaders never learn from history. Museveni’s attitude towards Ugandans has always been such that he can always do as he pleases with them and that he can never be answerable to them. He has never requested or asked anybody but has instead always ‘instructed’ the police, army, ministers, civil servants, heads of civil bodies e.t.c. He has dished out roads as gifts – a duty of government. People receive as rewards what he is paid to do – if there is anything like he is paid. No, it is too much.

I have come to believe that the greatest men are not those who project an image of invincibility. Mandela is one example. On the other hand, history is replete with “strongmen” that withered like leaves in a drought – Saddam was plucked from a hole and Charles Taylor is very helpless before simple men and women. When the wind reverses, such men become individuals and face the world.

If I am to talk about corruption, I may need a whole night. I don’t remember any Ugandan government that had reached this level.

Nepotism has become an institution. I, as a Munyankole, stand looked at in a suspicious manner because of the president’s grand scheme of acquisition. Yet, like many Ugandans, I live a declining quality of life while in Uganda because of his targeted/monopolized resources distribution.

I had taken some years without writing about Ugandan governance matters but after watching all that is happening in Uganda recently, I searched my soul and everything pointed towards one direction: I will no longer keep quiet. From now, my voice, my pen, my keyboard and my brain will be my contribution to Uganda.

Those who can, may post comments and those who cannot, you don’t have to.

If joining this facebook group may put you in a difficult position, please don’t.

In my opinion, President Museveni seems to be held in a self-constructed cage. He is reluctant to leave power because so many wrongs have been done, but he can only stay longer in power by doing more wrongs because he is hugely unpopular and unwanted. For that, the country will continue to bleed. The reality is that under President Museveni, the country can only get worse.

My conscience clearly tells me I can’t sit down and watch the situation in Uganda without adding a voice. It will not be comforting if in future I tell my children that I was powerless to do anything. I am prepared to carry the burden.

 
 

Zuma’s despotic hosts

By Stephen Twinoburyo

PUBLISHED: Thursday 2010/03/25, BUSINESS DAY, SOUTH AFRICA

http://WWW.BUSINESSDAY.CO.ZA/ARTICLES/CONTENT.ASPX?ID=104559

 
 

Discovering the joys of using Facebook

Discovering the joys of using Facebook

THE UGANDA RECORD, Wednesday, 17th March 2010

http://ugandarecord.co.ug/index.php?issue=61&article=777&seo=Discovering%20the%20joys%20of%20using%20Facebook

I must say I have become an ardent Facebook user. It’s a tool that can be used well or misused.

Recently I posted a comment on the Kampala Facebook page that while Kampala is a joyful city bustling with activity, one is astounded by the level of poverty and hopelessness the moment he or she makes a step out. This realisation is more absorbent the moment one hits a bit of the rural areas. I was engaged by three people who held opposing opinions. I re-emphasised my point.

I had my early childhood in beautiful Kabale but on my latest visit there, I was appalled to see it seemed to have been downgraded to a trading center. The road from Masaka to my hometown of Mbarara was a nightmare to travel yet it is traveled by the powerful in the political leadership of the country, and I shuddered to imagine the state of the other roads they never see.

How those in charge can let roads to decay to such a level is a shame and an indication of the level of their concern for the country. Roads and communication are so crucial in development and any country that does not attend to them will struggle to attain a certain level of development.

It is very difficult to find such a poor state of roads out of Uganda. I have not been to the war-hit north but I can only imagine the pity it must be. The erstwhile vibrant industrial city of Jinja has now become a sleeping oldie. Maybe our leaders have a reason to stymie development. Beyond the façade that a common visitor to Uganda sees, there is absolute misery and a state of despair.

This brings me to the role of technology in the modern world. Facilities like Facebook have become powerful tools for disseminating information. Opinions can be shared freely without being censored or requiring editorial approval and more importantly, messages can be beamed across the world instantly.

Nowadays one does not have to check the newspapers to get the latest happening. I learnt of the Bududa landslide through Facebook. Long opinions can be written as ‘Notes’ and besides one can upload almost anything for everybody to see.

Politicians who are awake have not fallen behind on this new trend. We all remember how Barack Obama and his team made full use of this. In Uganda’s case, all major opposition party leaders now have Facebook pages and people across the world send them messages daily. There is no easier way for a politician to get direct opinion from people than through this facility.

Churches, organisations, businesses and academic institutions have not been left behind.

There are many people, especially of the older generation, who have only viewed Facebook as just a social network for youngsters. I am sorry to say they are missing the point.

Facebook can be used in whatever way one chooses to. Some people share jokes and stories, others photos, others catch up with gossip, others discover old friends, others meet new friends, others share opinions while others build a following.

In South Africa there is a common saying that walala wasala – you snooze, you lose. So let them lala.

What I enjoy is that I was able to express my opinions on Facebook and engage freely with people I don’t know. That’s now the beauty of technology. I will use Facebook more ardently.

Stephen Twinoburyo, Pretoria

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 16, 2010 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

I read with trepidation your article on the level of poverty and the state of hopelessness and decay in Uganda…

Dear Steven Twinoburyo

I read with trepidation your article on the level of poverty and the state of hopelessness and decay in Uganda and, especially so in the rural areas where most of the poor reside.

I am actually a bit surprised that such is the state of affairs in an area where, as you rightly put, “the powerful in the political leadership of the country” come from. In other areas, it has been the norm for ages. Ask me.

Steven, I am not sure whether you know Kampala City very well but next time you visit Uganda, make a turn in the suburb of Kololo just to have a taste of the state of roads there. I swear you will be left open mouthed. Remember, that is where the diplomats representing donor countries, and the elites reside. All that remains of the once beautiful roads there are mounds of gravel, representing road repairs – Uganda style, or large and deep holes that one would normally call pot holes. But to refer to those massive craters as potholes would be the understatement of the year. Besides, I don’t think you will ever come across a pot that would fit in comparison to what I am referring to here.

Steven, I can assure you the current leaders of Uganda have never called for a national legotla in which they agreed on how to stymie national development. No. It all boils down to the current pastime in the country – Corruption.

The effect of corruption on Uganda can be gauged through both its direct impact through the increasing cost of public services, the lowering of their quality, and often all together restricting access to such essential services as clean water, access roads, healthcare and good education, and the indirect impact through diverting public resources away from social sectors and the poor, and through limiting development, growth and poverty reduction.

While corruption has impacted negatively on most of the segments of the Ugandan society, the poor (especially in those areas like mine where you find only bogus and useless big men) have been more vulnerable in terms of being hit by the negative and harsh consequences on the country’s overall development processes.

I have not been to the western part of Uganda for sometime now. However, there is this perception among the citizenry in other parts of the country that there has been an element of disproportional development and inequality during the current administration. Going by that perception, I had all along this misplaced assumption that there is no chance in hell that one can encounter a pothole on the Mbarara – Kabale highway. Sorry man!

Generally, let me give you synopsis of how corruption has striped Uganda of its moral values and posed serious development challenges for the country. In the political realms, it has undermined democracy and good governance by flouting and subverting formal processes. In elections and in legislative bodies it has reduced accountability and distorted representation in policymaking. In the judiciary, it has compromised the rule of law. And in the public administration, it has resulted in the inefficient provision of services.

It has eroded the institutional capacity of the government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold. At the same time, corruption has undermined the legitimacy of the government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.

The country’s economic development has been undermined by the generation of considerable distortions and inefficiency. In the private sector, corruption has increased the cost of business through the price of illicit payments, the management cost of negotiating with officials, and the ever present risk of breached agreements. Where it has inflated the cost of business, corruption has also distorted the playing field by shielding firms with connections from competition.

It has generated economic distortions in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful.

Last but not least, corruption has lowered compliance with planning, construction, environmental, and other regulations, thereby reducing the quality of services and infrastructure.

So Steven, you can see the monumental calamity into which our country finds itself in.

Meanwhile, I will not lie to you. I am not yet an ardent user of facebook.

Richard Obo, Pretoria