By Andrew Karamagi /// Opinion
My phone rang off the hook for the better part of Friday. I also received an avalanche of messages.
In equal measure, my WhatsApp gallery is replete with a 2.18 video clip that was cropped out of NTV’s Thursday night show, On the Spot.
In the clip, Kyagulanyi Ssentamu is asked to proffer a solution for the inflation problem that hamstrings the Ugandan economy. Kyagulanyi’s answer has been deemed unsatisfactory because it lacked precision.
My namesake and erstwhile critic of Museveni’s naked Family Rule Andrew Mwenda, whose reflexive disdain for Bobi Wine is well known, went as far as characterizing him as an idiot.
Here’s why I am sticking my neck out onto the chopping board:
Leaders work with teams. The best leader that any group can get is one who consults, is willing to learn, delegates power and appreciates the importance of working through institutions. This much I can say are attributes that Bobi Wine demonstrably possesses.
Whereas it is true that leaders must be informed and hold a position on issues at hand, it is inaccurate to suggest that they need a PhD in everything. In any case, Amama Mbabazi, a polished savant who is arguably a master of statecraft and a lawyer of note had trouble finding traction for his presidential bid because, according to NRM Spin Doctors, he didn’t have supporters!
The same people are attacking Kyagulanyi for being a novice at statecraft even though he enjoys a groundswell of support countrywide.
Their only alternative to our situation seems to be doing nothing…and doing nothing, I find, rarely accomplishes anything.
Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s cabinet line-up over the past three decades has always featured a litany of distinguished individuals with colourful CVs in their respective fields but these have been implicated in all manner of corruption, impropriety and dereliction of their duty of care to Ugandans.
A former Attorney General who holds a first class degree in Law and graduated with distinction from his Master of Laws class from Yale stunned the country when he issued a legal opinion to the effect that Dr Besigye was half-guilty and half innocent. Incredible!
Look at what the experts did with seven commercial banks!
Several other examples abound.
These elites have sold out and continue to do so because of the aforementioned “1-2-3-4 Syndrome”.
The solution doesn’t lie with their arm chair analysis and moral cowardice.
More than, over and above speeches and the ability to sound refined, Ugandans need leaders who have demonstrated consistency, commitment and authenticity.
Kyagulanyi possesses these qualities.
We need the tigritude of Nyanjura, the brevity of Mugumya Sam, the resoluteness of Asuman Basalirwa, the political will of NRM’s Monicah Amoding, the clarity of Ibrahim Nganda Ssemujju, brilliance of Hon Muwanga Kivumbi Muhammedi and the calm contemplation of Gulu’s Aol Betty Ocan.
Team work can and will win.
NRM has passed enough policies and laws to make Uganda the Pearl of Africa in the literal sense of the phrase but with all their doctorates and postgraduate qualifications, they lack the will and wherewithal to put these into practice.
Museveni & Co., have nothing new to offer.
What they haven’t done in thirty years, they can’t and won’t in five, ten or fifteen.
Bobi Wine is an uncut diamond. Join hands, all the intellectuals, elites, social media critics and corporates and let’s contribute to the generational cause that one of us has offered to lead. It’s not about him. It’s about (all of) us.
We must, indeed, all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately, as Benjamin Franklin warned, years ago.
In the meantime, those who say it cannot be done shouldn’t get in the way of those who say it can be done.
If it matters, my two cents on how to resuscitate the Ugandan economy is that it doesn’t take rocket science.
With four clear steps, if we have the discipline and political will, we can turn this economy around.
I) Reform the tax regime (Income Tax Act, Uganda Investment Code Act and related policies and laws) to stimulate rather than frustrate Small and Medium Size Enterprises (as is the current case). SMEs are the engines of growth for an economy like ours.
II) Implement a stringent Import Substitution Initiative that lowers our import bill and grows our local/domestic production (processing and industry).
III) Constitute a lean but effective structure of public administration (government) that significantly lowers the current public administration wage bill. Alongside this, crackdown on corruption without fear or favour.
IV) Invest heavily in public capital and assets like stocked and staffed medical facilities, functional mass transportation systems for our city and towns, quality public education and social security safety nets.
That’s what I’d do if the decision was mine to make.
Are you a young Ugandan who agrees that the incumbent junta doesn’t speak for or care about the things that we aspire for?
If your answer is yes, let’s get together, regardless of our affiliations, roll up our sleeves and get down to work.