I used to wonder why Countries like the USA spend Billions of dollars engaging in Space programmes that don’t seem to have any bearing on alleviating the hunger that is afflicting many Ghetto dwellers in that country. Why the heck would someone be interested in landing a probe on Mars or send a telescope to space to study how the universe was formed allegedly billions of years ago.
It’s not until my interest in astronomy got the better of me that I begun appreciating that the survival of the human race is pegged on our ability to harness the universe. We can’t continue expecting to live and survive by chance on this earth without exploring the heavens. What shall we do when the Sun expands and bombards earth with heat causing all water to boil and evaporate as well as destroying life? What shall we do when the earth becomes moonless and we no longer have a controlling force to help our planet stay in the right orbital position? (Afterall according to research, the moon is receding away from the earth at the rate of 1.5 inches per year thereby adding 2 seconds to our day every 100,000 years). As humans, we should start considering the possibility of relocating from this planet when conditions become unfriendly (which they will eventually be). Therein lies the justification for investment in Space programmes. Already, scientists have found a very good candidate planet for human settlement called Kepler 452B located 1400 Light years away. Light years? Yes, this means that if one travelled at the speed of light which is 185,000 miles per second, it would take you 1,400 years to get there. However, how we can get there is a story for another day.
How is Uganda related to all this mini lecture on Space and the Universe?
When I look around, I see how comfortable many of my fellow elites have become regarding lifetime ambitions. Apart from pursuing better jobs, more money, good schools for their children and fascinating holidays in exotic destinations, many are aloof when it comes to what is going on in the society around them until they get hit by a WhatsApp and Facebook blockade.
Whenever any political crisis comes up, we are more concerned about our inability to trade or work for our employers than the issues that are slowly turning the country’s majority captives of a selected few whose intentions are of a black hole nature (sucking every piece of matter within their vicinity).
We always deride politicians and subscribe to adages like “Politics is a dirty game”, “Only crooks can manage politics” among others. When these very politicians mess up things, it’s we the working class that have to pay for those sins. Five years ago, the country experienced runaway inflation after the elections (due to the rampant money giveaway) and the problem was thrown onto the laps of the Governor of Bank of Uganda and his technocrats. They wrestled with that challenge for months. Gravitational waves of this impact were felt in the business community with many closing shop (especially importers). “We have been conditioned to think that only politicians can solve our problems. But at some point, maybe we will wake up and recognise that it was politicians who created our problems,” said Ben Carson.
For donkey years, people have complained about voter intimidation and voting irregularities but because most of these used to occur in rural environs, we never really cared much. It took irregularities in sensitive districts like Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso where the majority of Uganda’s nouveau riche reside to bring the issue of the Electoral Commission’s (EC) competence to the forefront. Today, thanks to the vibrance of Social Media based elites, Professor Badru Kiggundu the head of the EC has had his glorious career as a University Don and Government official relegated to the historical dustbins. It is so sad that even his great grand children are likely to shy away from classes of Uganda’s recent political history when they do eventually get of age. His descendants are likely to face a similar fate as those of Mukajanga the Chief Executioner of Kabaka Mwanga of the Buganda Kingdom who oversaw the project of killing the now highly regarded Christian Martyrs in 1886.
The broad day light rape of the democratic process that took place between the 18th and 20th of February 2016 left very many elites speechless. An old friend of mine has refused to comment on these elections till now because he simply cannot believe that the current political dinosaurs could stoop so low.
Prior to the elections I could hear some touting the need to ensure that the status-quo remains in order to have peace so that; their businesses aren’t interrupted, children can start the school term on time, no war can erupt in the country, we can continue having some sleep, the list went on and on. I refused to buy that because as someone that experienced the removal of President Idi Amin Dada, I clearly recall that we had to sacrifice at least four months of economic and academic activity in order for the country to transition. So, my belief today is that just like Gold has to go through a furnace to be what it is, our country definitely shall need to undergo a similar furnace experience.
We all have views about where we want this nation to be and gladly I believe we agree in many areas. However, the foundation stones for those issues are laid now. If we sit back and do not partake in laying those foundation stones, then we should stop armchair criticism of the career politicians who take the gamble. Remember, I said earlier that when they mess up, it is we the working class that have to clean up the mess.
As a result, I have made a decision to play a more active role in the political environment of this nation. Political power is too important to be left in the hands of self seekers, ignorant people as well as non visionaries. It is our lack of active participation in the political processes as the working elite that is letting down the rural dwellers who look upto us for guidance. So, when we care less about the political space, the thugs, crooks, plunderers, self seekers create political Kingdoms whose aim is to keep everyone in bondage. It should therefore come as no surprise when our efforts to address the nation’s challenges experience still births.
As an action, I am going to start by transferring my voter registration details from Mukono to Butaleja District my Alma Mater,\; thereafter, I will make it a point going forward to immerse myself in the local politico-economic issues of my district as well as play a major role in the economic empowerment of the people there. The beauty this time is that Butaleja has a new wave of politicians in whom I have much confidence, especially the Members of Parliament. I believe working with them to meet the needs of the masses will not be a challenge. I have come up with proposals for how I believe the district can be turned around for the better which I hope to share with the incoming MPs and District Councillors. If you too did the same in your home district, we can then form a network of professionals working for the political good of the society we are in. The network can be used to advocate for the change that we need in this nation as well as ensure that leaders remain accountable to the masses. This nonsense of waiting for the election period and loads of promises are made from free exercise books, free hoes to building cities must stop.
What Uganda needs is organic sustainable development backed up by genuine inclusive economic growth targeting the empowerment of locals as opposed to the current tilt that is inclined towards foreigners.
Such pro people and proactive policies are only going to be engineered and pursued by elites that are socially conscious and ready to ensure that their efforts to set a comfortable cushion for their own descendants are in tandem with the welfare improvements of the society around them.
It may seem a long shot but just like man is planning to relocate from the Earth when habitation becomes impossible, we too can contribute more to a much better Uganda. The planning starts now, stop being critical and start being practical.
For God and My Country
@wirejames on Twitter