This time as I write my part two comment on the campaign trail, I feel happy and excited that my readers are increasing and they actually find these articles interesting.... Let's go! This time I want to focus on corruption in the face of leadership, the voter and civic education as well as the role of the citizen.
Sometime back I wrote about the blame game http://okuti.blogspot.com/2009/09/blame-game.html, corruption is a big subject, many of us are corrupt, many of us are sinners, many of us are haters, back-biters and name it; however we spend time in bars, health clubs and restaurants hating and blaming others. We come from villages where if one shows signs of progress he or she is hated and life is threatened!
Wake up Africans! Anyone who dares takes up leadership is bound to be faced with the problem of dealing with different knowledge levels, motives, skills as well as diversionists. There is a rush for wealth, a rush for power and a rush for acknowledgement that kind of rush that is only found in third world countries characterised by bickering, disgruntled, mediocre and none dreamer actors. Among them too, those with a false imagination of superiority, self righteousness living in the shadow of perceived power.
The NRMO is lucky in some cases but may also be considered unlucky in some cases, having experienced a lot of developments in their time. Some of these developments were globally driven which the NRMO moved to quickly take advantage of, examples include the shift from government owned businesses to private owned companies or for instance the innovations and rapid growth of the banking, telecom and FMCG sectors. On a personal note, I believe the farming sector was hurt though by these changes, the slowdown of cooperatives and marketing mechanisms that were government led seemed to have worked well for the small holder farmers...
We can say the NRMO provided a conducive environment for these businesses to thrive and grow but we must also acknowledge that the mobile for instance had arrived.... the Internet had arrived and for whoever was in power they had no choice but to embrace the “avalanche” or the “tsunami” because these were global treads. The force with which these new trends were flowing was so strong that you either had to shape up or you shape out! Changes were occurring real time. Funs of the 24 series.... “These events occur in real time”
In the same vein it became easier for corruption to thrive, because the private sector grew there is now the commercial, the NGO’s, the churches, the traditional institutions etc... There had to be a paradigm shift in the leadership style, the question now is – is it actually happening? Do our leaders actually know what is hitting them? And again should we encourage an extremist approach to dealing with the subject like some African nations have done? Alternatively do we have the will and capacity to empower institutions to get more vigilant in handling their affairs and civil communities to become more knowledgeable and demanding? Isn’t it true that there is no leader without a community, if there is not community then who do you lead? It is therefore paramount to serve the community well!
So now that we have peace don’t we want more? There should be checks and balances... and citizens should know their rights.
Let's all take a swipe at Government employees, don't they have some of the lowest salaries, why then do they (not every one of them) stick to their jobs with the mightiest energies? Let's take another swipe at the Pastors, how comes they have personal jets, luxury SUV's and large houses doing the work of God. I have wondered why these people of God never visit the hospitals and treat the sick, the terminally ill and the casualties - they rather you carry your patient to their church, then they make drama with your patient and proclaim that he or she is healed! Let's take a swipe at people in positions of law enforcement, the police for instance why stop a car that has a number plate, the driver seems to be okay with a valid permit, where are their records of defaulting cars? Instead they are busy wasting tax payers time and their own! Graduates who do not think about automating their surveillance Police get your act together, this is the ICT era many things are possible...
Unfortunately in many cases the tax payer has no rights to ask for a compensation of time wasted!
The subject of corruption goes on and on, so should we blame the current government, just asking and don't get me wrong, I am not trying to rescue any one, we the society bribe away from getting places in schools - even private, getting work done faster, getting treatment in a public hospital to getting the local council to do something for us! Should we blame a political party for all these occurrences, could this be a stage or a phase in development? Why not blame ourselves for the acceptance of all this, for the participation in all this, for the ignoring of all this and for the blame of others without looking inside ourselves and find out what our values are before we look outside the window? It is the duty of every individual to have some semblance of values....
How are these leaders planning to address the G2B relations, the G2C relations or do they know these dynamics, where as B2B will continue to grow naturally it is key to note that good laws, enforcement and civil society checks will be paramount in ensuring that service gets delivered.
The next leader will have to be able to be able understand the dynamics of all sectors in the country, be able to send email themselves work with smart phones and work like a CEO who must report to the Board of Directors! The new leader must be able to take criticism and advice from a team of advisors who must also in their own rights be elders, experienced and with a high degree of knowledge and integrity. Advisors could be former presidents, people with large business empires, very senior retired civil servants, traditional leaders and the like. People with power and this time I mean real power, powerful enough to unseat a sluggish and slow leader.
See the challenge is the campaigners are more aware of the problems of third world, they are more aware of how these problems could be solved while the majority of the voters may not have an idea of what needs to be changed. So the campaigner gets his/her seat and exploits the loopholes of the system... Sooner or later they increase their pay, upgrade to four wheel drives and spend lavishly in the city. Many times spending money whose value does not ring a bell to them because they have no idea how tough it can be to earn that money...
Travelling during the holiday season, I got time to blend with many friends, relatives, in-laws and politicians they were all defending their manifestos! I wondered whether they are actually educating the people about the plans they were making and how important the plans were to change the lives of those they wanted to represent - how their plans would be bench marked, monitored and evaluated.
In Arua I asked a "mirungi" seller what he thought about Feb elections and he said to me ""honestly I don't care because I do not know and do not see how it affects me", my auntie from the village asked me if there will be more money given out, salt or sugar... So I thought to myself if you give her a handout she will give you the vote! I thought this was a village thing, later passing by a maize (I like maize...) seller in Naguru - I decided to stop and ask what she thought about elections, she said "are you here to buy or waste my time". I told her I would buy and persuaded her to say something, she burst out and said to me "you think I do not want to drive, do not want to live in a nice house, do not want all the nice things - we gave up long time ago may be our children will have a better day". I wondered how many voters are enlightened enough.
The variation between the knowledge levels of our voters are so large and so sad that we are stuck in a quagmire of ignorance... extrication from this situation may take a few light years... We continue to have an increasing gap between the knowledgeable and the ignorant. May be the next President should revive Community Information Centres and with ICT promote adult literacy and continued education! The politicians themselves sometimes do not even see that the people they are talking to need more than campaigns to be able to make informed decisions. Many times decisions are made on populist grounds....
We should introduce serious civic education, but also teach about nation building, patriotism and common good. If we were patriotic may be our families would know more about politics and decision making, they would not make decisions according to how much of the handouts they get. We should teach voters that they deserve service irrespective of where they come from or colour of their skin or which leader they like but by virtue of the fact that they are Ugandan.
So this time I took a tangent, well I decided I will not talk about the candidates any more but about the people the candidates purport to lead, in the meantime let’s learn about our rights and use them effectively.