November 4, 2012 § Leave a comment
It is said every man has his weakness, and that friends and foes alike look for what that is weakness in order to plug it or exploit it.
In the Kyambogo University, press-played drama, Prof. Ndiege’s relevant weakness emerges as his dismissive astuteness; rightfully so I must add! Any objective person who’s been following this fiasco by piecing together the tidbits of information will certainly come to the conclusion that Prof. Ndiege paid a price for deciding to do the right thing by foraging into enclaves of wrong things. He had no choice! Prof. Ndiege, it is clear, walked into a mafiosos’ den, as that it seems is what Kyambogo University has become. From the lines we’ve read in the press, it is clear that there is a well-wound web of thievery under the orchestration by top KU administration. Next, there is a structure of condoned incompetence which accords lecturers who desire such, a laissez affaire environment. It seems that these two emerging pictures is the unspoken contract between the thieving top brass and the incompetence staff.
The charges against Prof. Ndiege are hard to wrap around the mind. For instance: “He is rude … he usurped other’s powers”. This missing cardinal charge – typical of Uganda – stealing funds is missing! As the principal accounting officer of KU, it is sensibly within his right to probe deep if he thought anything was wrong. This he did by dipping his nose into the finance department. He also dipped his nose into the academic issues. What he found was a University in the state of what a university NOT should be! Of course as a newbie, it’s reasonable to assume he did not know how deep the rabbit hole ran. He had to keep his cards close to his chest as he planned the next move; a move which ultimately would result in dismissal and incrimination of many. But the mafioso, like they usually do, beat him to the game.
What’s very disappointing in all these is the failure, or intended reluctance, by government to investigate Prof. Ndiege’s claims in the same way they’ve “investigated” the charges against him.
Isn’t it odd that the Guild President, whose constituency is the largest at KU, is supportive of Prof. Ndiege???
March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
For starters, this may not be the way you want to be asked to put in your application for the post of VC of Makerere University; even more because the profile of this writer, and his works, read like the description of a brilliant whack-job. If that’s the case, my sincere apologies for that Professor, but I just have my own rough-edge way of doing the right thing. Of course I will be kicking myself in the butt if this ends up jeopardizing your silent moves, if any, to out-manoeuvre the unworthy professors presently slugging out in public for the top job at MAK. I swear I will step into the light, own up and plead with the powers that be that I was one that muddied up the waters for you.
Am mellowed by your distinguished academic trail. Now as someone who worships knowledge and thinks he is among the top echelon of the most enlightened in the banana republic, I usually don’t bow or acknowledge other’s academic feats that easy. Sometimes am wrong and sometimes am right and that’s the important thing. Makerere the way I look at it lacks a solid academic philosophy. It therefore baffles, alarms and annoys me that they dole out Doctorates of Philosophy in the first place! This is not surprising if one takes a critical look at the vast numbers of dons whose grey matter seem to be more excited by money and putting on airs! Dr. this … professor that … that sort of crap! I’ve walked the hallways of some the world’s top universities and am struck by how simple and down-to-earth those award winning and patent holding professors carry themselves. I particularly remember one who whose favourite wardrobe was denim and t-shirts … spoke as humbly as a street beggar yet decision makers sought a piece of his mind quite often!
Academics is not field one goes into if they want enrich themselves to the status of Lexus-driving elite. Rather it’s space for those whose minds simply won’t stop vibrating because of words such as: Why, How, What, When … As you can see, those musing have no direct relationship with a fat bank account. What’s worse, it also deprives one the opportunity to be wowed by the young puerile girls who straddle our university campuses. If in doubt, ask “Prof”. Barya, who unfortunately fell short, when he ended up taking one such hottie back for a tryst.
So last night, I got a eureka moment … out of the blue it the rammed into my head that PROF. MAHMOUD MAMDANI IS JUST THE PERFECT CANDIDATE THE JOB OF VC. I am still wondering why such an idea hasn’t come out yet in the public domain; well until now that is. You got all the qualifications … maybe the only questionable one would be your desire for the job actually. And if you say that’s the simple reason, I would be left scratching my head about why you came back to teach at MAK when Columbia and a host of other Ivy league colleagues have got the red carpet rolled out for you. Prof. you may not see it but you love this run down ivory tower. And that’s a beautiful coincidence because MAK needs you more. So wake tomorrow morning, brush your teeth and go to the powers that be and say you want to be MAK VC … you don’t even to carry your CV because you reputation precedes you. What’s more, no one is qualified enough to interview you … so if we are to be reasonable, MAK should spare tax-payers money and skip the interviews for VC, if there are any! I hope to see you whacking some solid academic philosophy back into Makerere … I wish you the best … don’t break my heart Prof.
March 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
Dear Odonga Otto,
I’ve been left immensely disappointed and bemused by your recent showboating. Impeach Museveni??? Are you dreaming that you are in a telenovela??? Did you just regain sanity of recent? Now just in case you are thinking am one of those yellow brigade lunatics, let me make it clear that I’ve never been a Museveni fan or NRM supporter. Actually am quite amused by that lot’s lack of solid positive ideology; I keep wondering how any self-respecting man or woman can join such a decrepit organization. But I guess am trying to philosophy a very simple thing because it is all the clear that NRM subscribership is motivated by money and other rewards.
Now getting back to you Mr. Otto; mind you am deliberately ignoring the word ‘honorable‘. So out of the blue you want to impeach Museveni for his 25 plus years of mismanaging Uganda. If you had made this move when you first joined Parliament, you bet I would be rooting for you. I find the timing of this grand-staging of yours quite dubious. Just a few weeks ago, Ugandans were seething with anger again, because you Mr. Otto, and your bunch decided it was all SO RIGHT to receive 100 million shillings from government coffers to buy yourselves LUXURY VEHICLES. At a time when teachers were beating pans and pregnant mothers were dying in our derelict hospitals and NODDING DISEASE WAS MAKING AN ENTRANCE AT YOUR DOORSTEP. You Mr. Otto, is said to have threatened aggression if the money was not given to you ASAP! MPs are among the top 1% of the best enumerated working Ugandans. Now given the horrific jams I see in Kampala every day, I get the feeling that even Ugandans who don’t rake in much money every month can afford to buy their own cars. How is it that someone who earns 15 million shillings a month needs tax payers to give them over 100 million to buy luxury SUVs??? Does it make sense to you Mr. Otto??? Does it???
Given the public outcry and the probably resulting guilt of conscience that you and your fellow MPs felt, is it thus unreasonable to ASSUME THAT THIS ‘PATRIOTIC’ MOVE TO IMPEACH M7 IS JUST A WELL ORCHESTRATED SHOWBOAT TO DEFLECT PUBLIC ATTENTION FROM YOUR RED-BABOON ASSES??? I think this is the real truth Mr. Otto!
For too long MPs has been a huge disappointment to Ugandans. I don’t have to mention the several times you’ve fallen short of the title of ‘Honorable’. But when you try to spin yourselves out of the dirt you MPs are feeding Ugandans, you add insult to injury. Stop assuming we are all dummies who can’t see through your gimmicks. So to end this, I urge you Mr. Otto to go and buy that SUV and drive it to Aruu County and hope nodding disease will halt in its tracks when you park that guzzler.
April 30, 2011 § 2 Comments
In the last two or three years, I have been wondering, occasionally that is, why a lot of pain and suffering in Africa almost goes unnoticed by the rest of the world. Some readers will say: that’s a no-brainer, because Africa is just a business and political pawn to the rest of the world; and the pieces are set just perfectly in their quest for checkmate. I agree; even to the no-brainer part. But I also know that when the collective conscious of statehood is lifted, each and every individual who plays the political chess game, with Africa as a mere sacrificial pawn, wonders about the suffering of the African people and certainly feels compassion towards them. It’s called the humanity in all of us! That’s the way God/Allah made us. You can’t run from it unless you are psychopath.
So, if the players of this chess game are humans with humanity, then you have to wonder why no world power will call an African leader to order when he starts raping the civil rights and coffers of his fellow countrymen. As far I know, if the US or UK or EU or even the already emerged Asian tiger, China – not that they care less about human rights – , wish, they can call an errant African leader to order and he would certainly fall into line; else his tiny-weenie life gets on the line. Who does not know about the geographic precision of a Tomahawk missile? Simply assuring Mr. Mugabe, for instance, that the coordinates of his State mansions and private property have all been pre-programmed onto the computers of a couple Tomahawks would eliminate any illusions he has about being untouchable (unbwoggable in East Africa); or even the occasional belief in his immortality. You don’t have to be in Zimbabwe to know that Mugabe’s ogre-like brutality has unleashed lots of terror in that once breadbasket in Southern Africa. Likewise, you don’t have to know more than the definition of the word “democracy” and it’s relation to the pragmatic logic of “term limits” to know that Museveni (Uganda), Biya (Cameroun), Jameh (Gambia) and many more are doing more harm than good by sinking their teeth deeper into the pantry of state power. I believe just a growl from a world power would make these African tyrants fumble to order. Some of you will say: where does that leave the sovereignty of these banana republics? My answer: would an everyday African, whiplashed by his fellow African (President) choose sovereignty over good governance which translates to respect for civil liberty and opportunity? Certainly not me!
So then why is the rest of the world impassive to the self afflicted sufferings of the Dark Continent? The answer lies within the question: Africa is a Dark Continent comprised of “dark” humans. “It’s a jungle out there“, is a common phrase you here in the Western world! The situation is comparable to the lives of the beasts in the breathtaking savannas of the continents; animal law of birth, survival and ultimately death – however savage and revolting it is! A beautiful natural story of nature.
So this is how I look at it: Africa is a kraal, manned by our own Presidents, to confine the “uncivilized vestiges” of human evolution away from the rest of the world. This is the apparent silent agreement that the West has with our oppressor leaders. In the deal room, it may sound like this:
“You can do whatever you want with your people but give me what I want (named resources), and make sure those animals don’t flood into our spaces. Occasionally for PR purposes, I may call you to book and give escapees of your brutality asylum. But don’t mind; it’s business.”
The West is certainly not to blame because for the inhumanity of our leaders. It probably astounds them that African leaders can be alarmingly pathologically indifferent to the sufferings of their own kind. Some suppressed theories they habour about the comparatively higher quotient of homo-sapien savagery of Africans maybe warrant more acknowledgement perhaps.
As I wind this up, I throw this to the everyday African. It’s upon us to clean up our house because our internal suffering is quite strategically beneficial, and amusing, to the on-lookers standing outside the aquarium. The power of the presidency should be demystified and the army should be repositioned to look at our detractors outside the aquarium instead of test-firing foreign made weaponry onto their own folk. If we do that, then the rest world can honestly believe we are just as good as they are.
April 28, 2011 § 4 Comments
The news that Gen. Museveni plucked 740 million dollars from state coffers (UShs 1.7 trillion) to buy 6 Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKK fighter jets, at a time when food prices are running amok, has already riled the Ugandan populace. It’s equivalent to a UPDF soldier’s boot into the gut of the typical Ugandan, in whose wildest dreams, flying in a jet liner remains just that: an elusive dream.
So alarming was it at first that many Uganda missed the smelly rat in the deal. But anyway, every Ugandan, by rule-of-thumb, knows that corruption is pervasive is most government deals. So I trust they would have eventually smelt and seen the rat after recovering from the anger and hunger. Yes hunger! To keep perspective on the involved finances, I’m not gonna go into the question of if we need these jets: in summary we don’t! Gaddafi will probably tell you the same 🙂
So folks here is the gist: A Russian Sukhoi Su-30MKK costs $ 53 million. That’s a brand new one. These jets were first commissioned in 2000. So they are relatively new models of flying killing machines. So assuming that the UPDF indeed ordered for spanking new ones, – try to forget the junk helicopters scandal for a moment and give Gen. M7 a benefit of the doubt – the six jets would cost us about $318 million! Okay let’s add another 100 million dollars for delivery of the jets and training of the dimwit Ugandan pilots. Let’s also add another 100 million dollars for the after-sales maintenance of these jets, even when I know the Ministry of Defence will request a totally different maintenance budget for these sophisticated toys of ours. That brings the total to 518 million dollars only!!! So where is the 222 million benjamins and franklins going folks??? Kagina may spring in to save the situation and say tax issues. To her, I will say: stick that horse crap into your fanny ma’am; am already miffed at your callous taxation on me!
So people, a good 222 million dollars, and more, has disappeared into thin air. The figures in this grand-theft-fighter are so big for the goons to crunch properly; hence this blatant exposure. I will welcome the comments of anyone who disputes the mathematics of my investigation. I dare you even!
April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
Does money really buy a vote? Or: would you vote for a candidate you had no intention to vote for because he gave you money? That’s a question I found myself asking myself this morning in the bathroom. The news that the NRM pumped an estimated 600 billion of public money into their 2011 campaigns is still haunting me; it dangles like a pendulum bob – in and out of my mind. I am not going to go into the macro-economics of this brazen economic assault. All I will say about it is that I told a buddy, last November, that Ugandans will have brace themselves for the shock economic after-effects of shillings gone wild.
So to the question: Would you vote for me because I gave you money? Apparently that’s what happened this February. Okay to be objective, some of the voters who got this money were probably genuine NRM voters. Same goes to FDC voters; word is they dished out money too but details are scantier compared to their arch nemesis, NRM. So money was cake-icing for them. Right? In a moment of mental lapse, the minister who survived death in her, rolled over 4 x 4 would say that all the money went to genuine NRM voters for instance; or the guy who lost the money to hooker in the lodge. When common sense makes a comeback to the NRM candidates, they would say the money was for funding campaign expense and not bribing voters. My ass! In a small country like this, the expense should be a trickle of the figures we got wind of. So we firmly agree then that money influenced a large section of the vote as the Common Wealth observer team pointed out.
Now what makes a Ugandan vote for money? Figuratively about 70% of Ugandans don’t understand clearly what the Government’s responsibility towards them as citizenry is. Supposedly that they do understand, it is for academic purposes only. People power is an amusing illusion to them, and it is manifested by the spectacle of elections. Much of this electorate is the rural folk, who’ve stratified into a unique social class. They are your and my relatives; your uncle, cousin and village buddies. These folks live lives where they don’t see the positive role of government in their lives for more than 99% of every presidential/parliamentary term: no paracetamol in dispensaries; no cash flows; no engineered water; estimated education; no electricity; and yes no tax-collectors these days … that too. Many crimes like voodoo related deaths, or sexual abuse of minors, even go unreported and are instead resolved locally. That’s the life of rural folk people; year-in year-out. There role of government is almost entirely absent. So election time hits our villages into life. The miracle of government suddenly appears in the remotest village paths and the smell of fresh bank notes hits the pure rural air. Ask BoU’s Mutebile if in doubt. Then the trade in values and sense, for cash begins. I have had the chance to witness one such spectacle; there used to be this semi-illiterate renowned cigarette smuggler in Tororo, whose campaigns boys would dish out cash, then he says habari yenyu and the convoy speeds off. He won. His opponent was an old doc who wanted to hang up his stethoscope.
Does this mean the greatly handicapped opposition has no chance to scoop a chunk of this electorate? Does it mean that a man or woman, born free, would trade his convictions because of 5,000 shillings without a breaking a sweat? This is about what defines a person in the walk of his or her life. Am I for instance, writing from my swivel chair, so detached from the hopeless reality of rural life so as to question the merits of switching a vote for money? The answer lies with all of us: the handicapped politician and the rural voter. The handicapped politician should make the rural folk his parliament for 99% of his presidential/parliamentary term. Tell rural folk about what they deserve. Tell them government responsibility is not a privilege unto them and reassure them that eating a briber’s money is okay as long as you don’t trade in your values. There will always be such money.
As I end, on a lighter note, the rivers of money kept his Evilness Kakooza Mutale out of the scene this time round. Certainly many lives were saved by his absence 🙂
April 18, 2011 § 8 Comments
For starters, I commend you for your courage to pitch into the deep dip of socio-economic and political fiasco in Uganda right now. Yes fiasco it is!
Your article: High costs: Government could start austerity measures (DailyMonitor, April 17), is good academic piece; which points to a journey along the corridors of top-level academic institutions. But Ms. Mbabazi, the situation in Uganda cannot be solved by well argued academic view points. Apparently none of the key functionaries who run the show in this country care about the time-tested theories of running a successful government for the people.
Take One: For years-on-end, MPs and business leaders have advised the government to establish national fuel reserves. But this plea have fallen on deaf ears. Fuel reserves that were established and maintained during the so-called “repressive regimes” have fallen into private hands. Now from your elementary economics, you know private businessmen care about profit and not the strategic interests of the public at-large! Of course the President does know how important it is to have fuel reserves but he is evidently reluctant to reinstate them. The reasons for this are obvious and there for all to see. Look at the mushrooming fuel stations with dodgy names. In short, the lucrative fuel business has been awarded to private individuals who of course are close associates of the NRM machinery. Of the 195 countries in the world, Uganda ranks about number 35 for the highest fuel prices! So we lead the world’s banana republics in pricing a basic commodity like fuel. Do I have hope that the cost of fuel will drop when we start drilling ours? Nope. You know in Uganda, every time price climbs, it stays at the new mark! Tell me that is not true!
Take Two: Food is new gold. Ummm true. But is there logic in selling food across borders when you cannot satisfy the local need at reasonable prices? Oil producing countries sell us their oil but the cost of fuel within the boundaries is amongst the lowest in the world. For instance Nigerians pay about three times less what Ugandans pay for a litre of petrol. That’s business sense. Not this crap of saying high food prices internationally is good for us when Ugandans have to ration what they eat because prices are running wild. Again, when the NRA/M came to power, there was a national infrastructure for PMBs and Cooperatives. All that was needed was for rebuilding the infrastructure that was destroyed at the time of war. But what happened instead, President Museveni disbanded the PMBs and Cooperatives because they were apparently projects of the past “repressive” regimes! What’s worse about Uganda’s agricultural sector is that there is no thorough information/data on the flow of agricultural produce; we have no comprehensive understanding of our national markets! That’s why for instance, at the height of the milk production season, a farmer in Bushenyi will sell his milk for pennies when the price of milk in Gulu is 500/=. It is the same reason a maize farmer in Busoga will sell his crop at less than 100/= at the peak of harvest when a couple of months down the road, better prices will be available.
President’s Museveni’s privatization and economic liberalization policies have not enriched Ugandans at-large but instead created an oligarchy in which the so-called “patriots” of the bush-war live large. What we presently have is a water-shade economy that supports a thin base of “middle-class” and keeps blue-collar civil-category preoccupied; which probably keeps them off thinking about the issues of importance. To complement this (shadow-economy), there is syndicate structure designed to maintain the population in a state of perpetual pauperism; this is effected through targeted patronage. The era of listening to sensible intellectual debate is long gone. Instead we have dimwits like Kabakumba Matsiko, who can only say the people can go to hell, running the affairs of state. Real crony-ism!
So as I end this letter, I remind you that your academic argument is a good piece of writing on common-sense driven governance. But in relation to Uganda, am sorry to say that it remains only that: a good academic piece! Not for actual consideration.
(Anonymous for fear … yes fear!)