A story has been told of when one of our senior leaders went to attend an international business conference abroad in the early days of this government.
During their break time when delegates met outside the conference to exchange pleasantries, the international businessman who owned some islands asked whether it was possible to buy Uganda. Our man replied in the negative.
Back home, our government was busy selling everything that was saleable. And the Uganda government has been selling Uganda piecemeal ever since. It started by selling everything known as government properties. It sold government companies. It sold buildings housing government departments. It sold government land and government farms. It sold government hotels. It sold government banks. It sold government industries. It sold the only national airline. It sold the only Uganda Railways. It sold government buses. It sold government vehicles including motorcycles and bicycles.
Everything the government was holding on our behalf and on behalf of the next generation was sold to a privileged few. Hopefully one day, those privileged Ugandans will be able to prove that they paid for what was ‘sold’ to them.
The government sold everything like they had a grudge against Uganda, or like there was no time to wait for some common sense to prevail. For example let’s really ponder over this action: Imagine selling a government building that was housing a number of government ministries.
And then the same government departments immediately signing tenancy agreements with the new owner for a government to continue staying and using the same building they had just sold off for a song. Why would a sensible person do that unless he or she was going to be a beneficiary of the sale?
The whole behavior of government looked like that of thieves or conmen uncertain of the time they still have before they are off as quickly as they can. It started with the central government and later spread to districts and to the counties and to the sub-counties.
Today, the government literally owns nothing not even space to construct a government office. And it doesn’t seem bothered may be because the former government lands now belong to government people.
Today voters are for sale. Mourners are for sale. Politicians are for sale. And there are murderers for hire.
Let me end by relating this commercialization of everything by government to and or with the state of campaigns by various parties as they vie for support and subsequently, power come 2016. There is so much money going around that it is difficult for any party to know who the masses are really following and will elect in the coming elections.
The end result of all this has been having a government that doesn’t work for everybody. That is why there are calls for change even in the areas you would ordinarily hear yearning for change.
Government has on a number of occasions said that violence is out of question in Uganda because the government is in charge. But of course! did this government ask for permission to launch a protracted struggle that brought them into power?
May be we should revisit the idea of selling Uganda after all. We can sell it under a management contract because the way our shilling is going, are we are beginning to see a tunnel at the end of light?