By Richard Baguma
Mr. Bobi Wine I have followed with bated breath your social and print media messages. For lack of a more descriptive phrase, I shall say you are a solipsist – “One who adheres to self-absorption and an ignorance of the views or needs of others” On another I occasion I will say you are a smart aleck – “One who is pretentious about their own cleverness or knowledge; a know-it-all”
It is clear from your posts Mr. Wine that you are not alive to the adage, ” you don’t know where you are going until you know where you have been”!
You are suffering a triple tragedy of selective amnesia, a lack of grounding and loss of identity and this partially explains the adoption of “your names” – Bobi Wine!
You are a true representative of a lost generation of Africa that glorify everything Western. And so it is important for the consumers of your messages to understand that your thoughts are informed by your mentality.
You have deliberately or otherwise exhibited a total ignorance of where we came from. You own bustling career as a musician is testimony to the fact that you live in a country where when you work hard with dedication and purpose you get rewarded. I congratulate you on that.
You must recall however that artists like you were prior to 1986, an endangered species in this country. Most notably Byron Kawadwa the father of performing arts in Uganda was dragged out of the National Theatre while in rehearsals and murdered by Idi Amin’s soldiers. Many fled the country after that gruesome incident.
Today you Mr. Wine can go to your studios and compose a song that is deeply critical of the government that has given you the voice to sing, produce that song and hold shows to popularize your song and drive home in the dark but safety of the night, in the full knowledge and confidence that you will not be persecuted for it. All you get is an undeserving intellectual reproach from the Head of State.
That, Mr. Wine, is freedom unprecedented. The paradox of freedom and democracy is that it’s greatest beneficiaries are often it’s most virulent critics.
I would expect Mr. Wine that instead of spending time destroying tax payers’ property in Parliament and posting clearly ignorant messages, you use your privileged position to encourage our fellow young people to do as you did and tap into their wealth of talent to prosper just like you have.
Never in the history of post- colonial Uganda have we witnessed the magnitude of investment in public infrastructure like we have in the last 31 years.
Between 1962-1986 for instance, the total distance of roads tarmacked by all the colonial and post- colonial administrations (the time most of us wrongly refer to as “the good old days”), was 1,600km. By contrast, between 1990 -2017, the total distance of roads now under tarmac is over 4,000kms, first class murram is almost double that.
The government of Uganda is investing a record- breaking $11bn in modernizing the railway network under the Standard Gauge Railway project.
Our capacity to generate electricity has more than tripled. Investment in the energy sector is unparalleled.
We are in the advanced stages of signing off a $4bn refinery project and in advanced negotiations with regional governments and investment partners to embark on a $9bn pipeline project.
Oil production will start- all factors being constant, by 2021. In the meantime, the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) with Phase is in progress. In this phase, over $20bn will be spent and the requirements for talent – engineers, builders, welders, accountants, doctors, lawyers, bankers, planners, teachers, drivers, chefs, and even musicians like you to entertain these folks after a long day, is more than we can satisfy.
Mr. Wine yes it is true that Uganda has the world’s youngest population and the levels of unemployment are fairly on the high side, but the rapid population growth is a factor of stability and prosperity – in more stable and prosperous periods, most nations experience population bursts especially when the stability and prosperity immediately precedes a turbulent past.
But as a legislator now and if you do understand any basic economics, you ought to know as well what is called “the demographic window” It is part of a larger concept called “the demographic dividend”
Mr. Wine, by 1986, the number of children, out of every 1,000 births in Uganda that died, stood at 196. In 2016 it was 43. The number of children dying of immunizable diseases was a national shame, the number of our mothers out of every 100,000 that died giving birth in Uganda stood at 900 in 1986 and 336 in 2016.
President Museveni cannot be the devil you paint him to be. He has been a savior of lives. Mr. Wine you are painting with a very wide and black brush!
Mr. Wine, you ignorantly and negatively dig into the UPE program. Like most critics, you employ the art of demagoguery and impress those who are impressed by such an art! But it is clear from reading your posts that the greatest dangers of all is the offspring of little knowledge. You exhibit and seem to possess that in great measure.
Again, the UPE program is not perfect and I don’t know if a perfect education system exists anywhere in the world. Everyday is a learning and improvement curve. What is your policy alternative?? Just like those before you, you offer none.
Uganda was before 1986 a pariah state and long written off as a failed one too. Today we are country looked up to in conflict resolution, women emancipation, youth empowerment (you are a great example!), child protection, disease prevention, security and rollback on international terrorism etc. That isn’t by sheer happenstance. It is all the deliberate and decisive leadership of the President you demonize.
We still experience challenges but no task ahead of us is too daunting to tackle. You Mr. Wine and your ilk only show that while we have overcome most of our critical challenges, the old monster of division and ignorance still rears its head. We shall overcome you with good!