Mzee Yovani Odul: A Great Life Lived

On Friday January 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm, my grandfather, Mzee Yovani Odul, breathed his last and started the journey to join the realm of the Ancestors at the age of 102 years. As I received the news, I reflected on his life and what he mean’t to us as the Odul clan.

A proud son of the Lango nation, we are not quite sure when he was exactly born. However, his sharp recollection of events that happened later in that decade make it almost definite that he was born around 1911.

He was the last born of his father and mother by the stroke of fate (his mother died giving birth to the last born who also died) and was very keen to go to school. Sadly, with no one to provide fees for him, he would plant cotton one year and go to school with the proceeds of that harvest the following year. He would then drop out the following year and plant again. As a result, he was much taller than most of his classmates when the District Education Officer came to visit their school. Thinking he had lagged behind his classmates as a result of not grasping what was being taught, he was dismissed from school that day. Nevertheless, he had acquired sufficient reading and writing skills that would be useful later in his life.

The Greatness Of Our Ancestors

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All people that are considered “great” today have a strong affinity for their roots:

The USians severally quote from and draw wisdom from their Forefathers in how to keep their nation strong and great. I find the US’ arrogance repugnant esp. when I consider the grave atrocities and crimes against humanity they committed during the Mexican-Amercan war, the invasions of Cuba, Panama, Philippines, the bombings of Vitenam, Korea and the coups and assassinations they have engineered in several countries across the board. They are prime candidates for the ICC but I guess the one who holds the bigger stick calls the shots.

The Chinese as well are proud of their 4,000 year old civilization. The Japanese are another. While they have adopted a lot of western culture (to their own detriment), there is no doubting that, in this current system, they have made quite a name for themselves. Their deep spiritual roots are unmistakable in all this.

Sadly for us, most Afrikans treat our history with repugnance. Much of this is b’se of Miseducation and Ignorance. The reality is that we do not know our Ancestors. When we begin to discover why they treasured the balance between the masculine and feminine principles is when we will realize why they were so creative and lived in harmony with nature.

Our Ancestors taught the Greeks and they started a great civilization. Our Ancestors occupied Spain & Portugal from 711 ~ 1492 and taught them how to be civilized. Sadly, that connection has been deliberately written out of history.

Afrikan Philosophy and Thinking is now the driving force behind the sustainability initiative that is hitting the world. One dimensional thinking is no longer working and people are beginning to realize the value of keeping the masculine and feminine principles in balance and thus achieving harmony with Mother Nature. This is what is inspiring cities in Germany to forbid cars from entering b’se of the congestion, pollution and noise.

Afrikans taught their children in the home. Now, the best performing kids are those that are homeschooled. Sadly, we still believe in the “formal education” model brought here by the colonialist and yet they are going around and using our very methods that we despise and have long abandoned!

Europeans are realizing that they have messed up a lot. They are realizing that the people of old that forbade the use of technology that didn’t distabilize the balance in the ecosystem were actually wise, not primitive or backward.

That’s why the Batwa have a story among their people that they realized that they had made a mistake by distabilizing this harmony and deliberately regressed back to where they are now ~ living in the forests. DNA evidence is proving them right as the Father Of Medicine, Imhotep’s DNA has been traced to the Batwa!

I’m not saying we should take such drastic steps. All I’m saying is: Can we acknowledge our proud history and draw the wisdom and knowledge from it? Can we discard the western culture & return our Ancestors to a place of prominence in our lives and use their example to live our lives in this modern world?

More importantly: Can we dismantle this vile capitalist system and instead move forward to more equitable system that ensures the welfare of all the community?

Uganda @ “50”: Its Time To Decolonise Our Minds (Part IV)

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How therefore can we get out of this mess? How can we stop “donating” our resources to the West?

Of all the earth’s resources, nothing is more valuable than the human mind and the Afrikan mind, more than the resources, is what was the most prized colony of the Imperialist/Colonialist.

It is a clear sign of possessing a colonized mind when, after decades of exporting crude oil, Nigeria still imports most of its locally consumed finished product. This is despite having some refineries built that are now run down.

It is a clear sign of possessing a colonized mind when your very own culture seems alien to you. When you judge your own cultural norms and practices of thousands of years like an outsider would.

It is a clear sign of possessing a colonized mind whenever we seek the help of the “international community” to resolve most of your local disputes. It is one of the things I take exception with the Opposition in our country. The very people they are seeking help from participated in the Enslavement, Scramble For, Partition, Colonization and Exploitation of our motherland Afrika unleashing untold devastation for over 400 years and today it is still carried on thru neo-colonialism and imperialism.

We must actively decolonize our minds. We must overhaul the entire education system right from kindergarten to university. We must teach IN our own languages and only teach the English language as an international language necessary for global interaction. We must also introduce Afrikan Studies as a stand alone subject taught all thru the student’s life. Afrikan values, culture, medicine and innovations taught from the perspective of the Afrikan are of utmost importance to the young minds of Afrika.

A Diaspora Development Policy. Our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora, those born in Afrika and those who were born there have been yearning for a policy that ensures that they are able to invest in Afrika through a transparent and clearly defined procedure. For those that were born in the Diaspora and wish to return home, land should be provided by our governments to facilitate their return.

This will boost our investment options and ensure that we can tap into the capital and skills that they will bring back with them.

Consciousness. In conclusion, its time for Consciousness in every facet of our lives. Our Ancestors have bequeathed to us a rich inheritance that it is unbecoming for any Afrikan to be dying of poverty or starvation.

The days of sleeping are over. Wake up, Afrika! Its time to decolonise our minds!

Uganda @ “50″: Its Time To Decolonise Our Minds (Part III)

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What are some of these systems? As already indicated, the education system was a huge part of conditioning our minds. The other was the system of exploitation of the natural resources. The major infrastructure systems that were built were for the purpose of transporting raw materials out of the country and then later the importation of finished goods that had been manufactured using those raw materials. The Afrikans were told what to plant and taxes were levied to encourage productivity. Buganda & Bugisu produced coffee and Lango produced cotton. The Asian community that had been brought in to build the railway line were appointed as the middlemen. In my hometown of Aduku, Apac District there is still a ginnery that was operated by Asians to collect cotton and get it ready for export. The Asians also run the shops that littered the countryside towns were the people would go and buy the commodities that had been imported for consumption.

The other was a segregation of the different communities. From living quarters, to schools and even career opportunities, there was a clear map of the possibilities for the Afrikan and the Asian, with the white man being the boss, ensuring that everything in the protectorate ran smoothly. This created grave opportunity and income inequalities between the large Afrikan population and the minority Asian community. To their credit, the Afrikan leaders that took over endeavored to do away with the system of segregation but unfortunately, the coup in 1971 changed the style of going about it leading to a massive disruption of the economy.

I would like to focus on the system of exporting raw materials and importing finished goods. The protectorate system that had the Afrikan produce raw materials for export persisted even after “Independence”. Cotton was exported and clothes made from that very cotton were imported. This largely remains today, despite the fact that the government introduced a few industries to process cotton into a finished product. Of course the issue of capital to meet the demand of the entire country were at play, but largely it was the conditioning that finished products were to be imported that was driving the decision to continue this system.

The belief among the general populace that something imported has superior quality to that produced locally, coupled with the dumping of cheap second hand products on the local market have severely hampered the growth of the clothing industry. This cuts across several industries today. This has slowed down the locally produced finished products initiative and the drive for self-reliance because even those goods available have to compete with products that are coming in from abroad.

Right now, we are importing chicken from Brazil and fruits from South Africa! Some of these are products that do not need a lot of processing to be ready for consumption but the importation continues.

The extractive industry and huge infrastructure projects. The protectorate government established industries for the exploitation of the natural resources, for example Kilembe Mines for the extraction of copper in Western Uganda. Just like with agriculture, the Afrikan was only given the lower paying job at the bottom of the extractive chain. This copper was taken out of Uganda never to be seen again.

Large infrastructure projects like the railway line, tarmacking of roads and the building of the first hydroelectric dam were done by the British protectorate and the manpower that was brought in. It could be justified that we, the Afrikans, did not have the expertise to participate in the technical aspects of these projects but 50 years after “Independence” and thousands of engineers trained both home and abroad, we still have dams and roads built by foreign companies, with Afrikans taking on limited supportive roles.

When Uganda decided to extract its oil resource, the immediate thinking was to bring in expertise from abroad to build the infrastructure necessary to turn this black gold into finished products. Right now, there is a deadlock with investors who are insisting on exporting crude oil while Uganda insists on the “investors” building a refinery.

How easier would this be if we developed a deliberate policy to train our own local engineers in the special skills needed for these massive infrastructure and mineral extractive projects? Why is it that we do not have confidence in our own ability to build our wealth by ourselves? Why are we happy to give control of our own resources to someone else and then expect them to act in our interest?

The other serious issue is that, in classical imperial style, our very own leaders have a knack for taking kickbacks from these companies that come in to “invest” in our high profile and lucrative extractive and infrastructure industry. And just like imperialists clones, they invest this money in Europe and the US. They therefore perpetuate the bleeding of resources from our countries.

Uganda @ “50″: Its Time To Decolonise Our Minds (Part II)

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How was this even possible? Some of the stories told by my parents while they were growing up oozed of the awesome feeling it felt to have had the privilege of going to school. The education ushered in by the British was considered key to making it in this “new world” that they had created. In addition, the religion they had introduced was also taught in school and in church.

The result of this was that there was a systematic disconnect between these young minds and the ways of their ancestors. Several cultural practices and norms were demonized and replaced with English practices. My mother fondly remembers being taught table etiquette, among other numerous practices.

In the classroom, the children were taught the Eurocentric worldview. The different subjects were taught in the English language. When it came to Afrikan history, for example, they were taught how a white man discovered the River Nile. This is still being taught in our schools to this day! European history was taught and it showed immense progress and a gallop towards development, a continent that was the glory of civilization. The programming would not have been complete without teaching English literature and culture.

The ways of the Europeans were thus indicated as superior and our very own as backward. They were also taught how the British came in and “civilized the barbarian” black men that were roaming the Afrikan continent. This system has remained unquestioningly to this day. In fact, it has become worse because today, it is Afrikans that passionately pass on this type of worldview! There have been attempts to introduce teaching in our mother tongues for at least the first three years of primary school but the programme has not been widely applied because many parents strongly feel their children should study in the English language from the first day of school.

The teaching of all subjects in the English language set the stage for those that spoke the English language to feel superior to those Afrikans that didn’t. That speaking the “Queen’s Language” was something to be proud of while our own languages were forbidden from being spoken in school! Our languages were called vernacular and were relegated for use by the “uneducated”.

Therefore after “Independence”, the stage had been set for a continuation of imperialism because the mind of the Afrikan remained colonized. It is the reason why conflict continued to brew between the Buganda nation and the Central Government. And just like they had advocated for the British to leave, Buganda did the same for the government of the day that had replaced the colonial administration.

By conditioning the Afrikan mind to believe that the white man’s language, norms and culture were superior to ours, the stage was set for a continuation of the British system in the “Independent nation”.

Uganda @ “50”: Its Time To Decolonise Our Minds (Part I)

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Today Tuesday October 9, 2012 has been marked with a lot of fanfare as the Day of Jubilee, 50 years of “Independence” from British protectorate rule. While other fellow Afrikans in Uganda celebrated the day, I took time to ponder seriously the next 50 years.

First, a little bit of history. When the British first landed on our soil, they found a multiplicity of nations. These were independent nations that had distinct governments, cultures and languages. These nations include Kigezi, Tooro, Ankole, Bunyoro, Buganda, Lango, Acoli and several others. These nations were forcefully conscripted into the protectorate beginning in 1894 with Buganda.

In 1894, the British declared war on Bunyoro. The atrocities committed during that period were on a massive scale as the brutality of the British was used to break the determined resistance against domination. Several people were displaced, several fled to Lango and other areas as they tried to flee from the bloodshed. In fact, in my family, a story is told about how my paternal great grandfather, while only about 5 years old, was uprooted from his Bunyoro homeland during the war and carried all the way to Lango by Langi fighters that were retreating during the bitter and brutal war. He was found abandoned, probably because his mother had fled in a hurry unable to carry him along for whatever reason or had been killed. Nobody really knows. He was adopted by one of the warriors into the Omolo Atar Odyakol clan of the Lango nation.

However, no one knows where exactly his Bunyoro roots are. Its part of my heritage that for now is hidden and speaks a lot about the great devastation and displacement of people that took place as Britain forcefully imposed its will on the Afrikan nations. In 1899, the British finally defeated Bunyoro and then systematically conscripted the rest of the nations into present day Uganda thereafter.

Eventually, several nations were brought into subjugation and the British, using the divide and rule policy, systematically rewarded collaborators and punished the nations that had resisted. My dad and his siblings were born in Luweero because my grandfather and his young wife were forced to abandon their homeland and settle in Buganda because it was considered to have progressed  more than Lango, with health centres and schools that had been built by the protectorate government. Their family only moved back to Lango in 1966, after “Independence”.

While there was a lot of progress that the newly created “independent nation” made in those early years after October 9, 1962, in the words of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, “It Is Not Yet Uhuru“. The protectorate government was only replaced by a central government that continued to carry out the same kind of administration and kept almost all the laws, including the oppressive ones, intact. These very laws that the protectorate government had imposed were then used to whip into line those nations that resisted the rule of the Central Government. None of the nations voted to retain the system forcefully created by the British. It, without question, continued to be imposed on the people.

 

The “Monkey Master” Fable: Whence Comes The Power?

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A few friends of mine and I this are reading/re-reading the wonderful free book, From Dictatorship To Democracy by Gene Sharp. My favorite chapter is Chapter Three and it is entitled “Whence Comes The Power?” In this chapter, a Fourteenth Century Chinese Parable by Liu-Ju is quoted:

In the feudal state of Chu an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his service. The people of Chu called him “ju gong” (monkey master).

Each morning, the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard, and order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains to gather fruits from bushes and trees. It was the rule that each monkey had to give one-tenth of his collection to the old man. Those who failed to do so would be ruthlessly flogged. All the monkeys suffered bitterly, but dared not complain.

One day, a small monkey asked the other monkeys: “Did the old man plant all the fruit trees and bushes?” The others said: “No, they grew naturally.” The small monkey further asked: “Can’t we take the fruits without the old
man’s permission?” The others replied: “Yes, we all can.” The small monkey continued: “Then, why should we depend on the old man; why must we all serve him?”

Before the small monkey was able to finish his statement, all the monkeys suddenly became enlightened and awakened.

On the same night, watching that the old man had fallen asleep, the monkeys tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they were confined, and destroyed the stockade entirely. They also took the fruits the old man had in storage, brought all with them to the woods, and never
returned. The old man finally died of starvation.

Gene Sharp goes ahead to add this quote from Yu-li-zi:

“Some men in the world rule their people by tricks and not by righteous principles. Aren’t they just like the monkey master? They are not aware of their muddle-headedness. As soon as their people become enlightened, their tricks no longer work.”

The pertinent question for me and I believe for my fellow Patriots is: Where does the power of the leader of any nation emanate? If we’re able to master this insight into how political power works, we’ll be better placed to exercise it. I would like therefore to go over a few key points that Liu-Ji implied in his excellent fable:

 …an old man survived by keeping monkeys in his service.

It is reported that the old man SURVIVED by keeping monkeys in his service. Note that it does not say that the monkeys survived by providing service to the old man. The monkeys were capable of surviving on their own as they had for countless years before the old man came onto the scene to impose service upon them. The man was probably young when they got into his service and a generation had been born that knew only service to the man.

The man had probably performed some heroism by fencing off large chunks of land, killing the monkeys’ predators and thus the monkeys felt obligated to serve him. On the other hand, the old man may have overpowered their leader and threatened to kill them all. They could have thus been intimidated into submission.

 Each morning, the old man would assemble the monkeys in his courtyard, and order the eldest one to lead the others to the mountains…

The old man identified leaders based on qualities exhibited but also keeping in mind the cultural practice of the monkeys. Thus the eldest, probably also the strongest, was chosen as a leader and his/her duty was to lead the others.

 It was a rule that each monkey had to give one-tenth of his collection to the old man.

Who set the rule, I ask? Why one-tenth and not one-hundredth? Were the monkeys, which were free to gather and eat from the abundance of nature before the old man arrived on the scene, consulted on this arrangement? I’m sure there were monkeys that asked these questions of their leader. I wonder what kind of answer he gave them.

 Those who failed to do so would be ruthlessly flogged.

The interesting question that arises for me is: How did the old man, who didn’t go out to the bush to count how many fruits each monkey picked per day, know that what the monkey had declared was not 10%? Did he, with the guidance of the leader, appoint a few monkeys to do an “audit” at the end of the day as they all returned from picking fruits? Weren’t then these monkeys exempted from fruit picking and they thus enjoyed the fruit of their friends’ labour in a special place that the old man prepared for them? Didn’t they choose the 10% juiciest and largest fruits from their friends’ pile and thus ate much better than their counterparts? Given that the monkeys probably picked a large variety of fruits, they must have been spoilt for choice as the old man lavished them with fruits on end to keep them loyal to him.

Knowing that the old man was not always around and probably trusted them with the keys to the storehouse, is it not possible that these privileged monkeys could have dipped into the storehouse without his knowledge?

Did the old man really have the time and energy to flog monkeys? I have a feeling that he appointed some of the strongest ones to flog the others on his behalf.

 All the monkeys suffered bitterly, but dared not complain.

What an interesting and revealing statement in light of the fact that there were probably several monkeys that were privileged. Were some monkeys suffering but felt that they were better off with the old man’s protection? Had he threatened them with the return of the predators to the point that they were resigned to fate? Were the young ones born into his rulership unable to connect with their past to the point that they decided to just follow? Or did the older ones, after several classes with the old man on their terrible past, pass on only the bad stories of monkeys being eaten by leopards?

Did they conveniently forget the stories of freedom? When they roamed the forests without inhibition, when they slept whenever they wanted? Was it possible that they ignored the fact that all rules were agreed upon by all monkeys?

How come, with all this suffering, they did not dare complain? Was complaining forbidden or punishable with more flogs of the cain or worse?

 One day, a small monkey asked the other monkeys: “Did the old man plant all the fruit trees and bushes?” The others said: “No, they grew naturally. The small monkey further asked: “Can’t we take the fruits without the old man’s permission?” The others replied: “Yes, we all can.”

What focused questions! Not only do they go to the crux of their suffering but they are intelligently uttered by a small monkey. This monkey was probably the most bullied by the other much stronger ones that worked for the old man but nonetheless, she loved her fellow monkeys. She must have heard the stories of freedom from her mother and longed for those days to return.

As they went out to gather fruits, I guess she was quick to stray from her colleagues. She must have interacted with other monkeys that have never known any servitude. Instead of applying for asylum and staying with them, she opted to return and share these stories with her counterparts. She worked tirelessly to educate herself on how to free her people.
She cultivated boldness despite the threats and intimidations of the leader and other sycophants of the old man. On that day that she asked the question, she automatically became the leader.

Their response must have been a result of trainings that she had conducted for a selected few to teach them how they could be free and also to show them that the fruit actually was a right all the monkeys.

Why questions? BECAUSE the answer to their challenges was within them all along! Notice that the questions also came in stages and must have initially been asked to a small group of small monkeys. As the critical mass grew with the monkeys growing in knowledge and wisdom, the very freedom they had all along within them began to be manifested!

 The small monkey continued: “Then, why should we depend on the old man; why must we all serve him?”

After the monkeys have matured in their quest for freedom, the wise but small monkey asks the killer question that breaks the bonds of the prison they were in!

 Before the small monkey was able to finish his statement, all the monkeys suddenly became enlightened and awakened.

Oh, what an awesome day that was when ALL the monkeys including the leader, one-tenth enforcers and floggers became enlightened and realized the prison they were in. How ashamed and remorseful the leader and his clique of sycophants must have been!

They, however, quickly forgave each other and devised a plan.

 On the same night, …

Why on the same night? Because no monkey, after finding out that he can free himself, would wish even a day to go by while still in bondage. The urgency of the need to escalate their freedom was born and there was no stopping it.

 …watching that the old man had fallen asleep, …

Why in the dead of the night? Why not during the full view of day where they would probably have seen better what they needed to destroy? And why wait for the old man to fall asleep? Why, when he was at his most vulnerable, did they strike?

 the monkeys tore down all the barricades of the stockade in which they were confined, and destroyed the stockade entirely.

Why break down all the barricades of the stockade if they were planning not to return? Because those that have broken free would not wish the same bondage they endured on others! What if the man had gone and colonized a new set of monkeys?

They destroyed the stockade ENTIRELY. They left no trace of their previous bondage.

 They also took the fruits the old man had in storage, …

Why not just leave him with the few fruits he had in storage? Because the fruits belonged to them in the first place and had to be taken back. The injustice that had been committed had to be corrected.

 brought all with them to the woods, …

Why not just kick out the old man and stay in his house, mocking his evil memory? It was because they were not motivated by revenge, they were motivated by justice. They also didn’t want to leave room for the very same evil ways to crop up once more. They left it all behind them.

 and never returned.

In mind and body, they completely forsook the dictatorial ways that they had suffered and never, ever returned to them.

 The old man finally died of starvation.

It is interesting that they left the old man alive. He was already old, they probably could have killed him and got the satisfaction that comes from having revenge but they chose to instead deny him the very thing that was keeping him alive, their SERVICE, their obedience, their allegiance.

The old man was left with only one fate. DEATH by starvation.

“Some men in the world rule their people by tricks and not by righteous principles. Aren’t they just like the monkey master? They are not aware of their muddle-headedness. As soon as their people become enlightened, their tricks no longer work.”

So, whence comes the power??

For God and My Country,

 

Charles A.O. Makmot

Strategic Leadership Forum

Shareholders Of This Nation: Start Caring!!!!

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The report I read in the Daily Monitor of Friday February 3, 2012, “Government, Tullow sign fresh oil agreement” was not only chilling but an unfortunate piece of news in light of the fact that Parliament had halted the process of agreement signing. Not only did it negate all the efforts of our Parliamentarians to get a handle on the situation but it has also continued a disturbing trend of contempt of Parliament by the President. In addition, it was done without several laws being put in place for the efficient running of the sector! This is hot on the heels of the Basajjabalaba compensation scandal that has cost the taxpayer over 142 billion!

However, the most disappointing thing of all was the fact that few of us actually raised an eyebrow when we read the headline. The number of those outraged is even far more disappointing. As for those willing to take action, any action, it is too shameful to comment on.

As if this is not bad enough, our nation is experiencing environmental degradation at a rate that will ensure that we will have NO forests by 2050. By that time, it is estimated that, at the current rate of population growth, we will be 150 million Ugandans! With an agricultural sector that is retracting at 3% per year and a nation that can’t even feed the current population, who even cares about the time bomb we’re sitting on?

In addition, while most nations in the world are implementing harsh austerity measures, this government continues to squander the few resources that we have. The latest on the list of wastage is the 103 million per MP to buy a car to “traverse their constituency efficiently because of the bad roads”! This is not only annoying but outrageous. Are we really saying that our MPs with the hefty benefits that they earn cannot buy themselves a car? Our MPs are among the highest paid when you factor in the GDP of the nations of the world. Teachers and doctors are paid peanuts in this country and yet our representatives find no problem raiding our meager treasury to buy themselves cars? Are we, the people that pay the taxes, going to just go on as if life is normal? Are we really serious?

It beats my understanding what the government was thinking when we signed an agreement with UMEME to distribute electricity, a critical component for facilitating production in our economy? Are we aware that UMEME was incorporated 6 days before it signed an agreement with the government? Are we also aware that Eskom, the South Afrikan government-owned power distributor (what an irony), was one of the initial shareholders of UMEME? The agreement with UMEME is so skewed in favour of UMEME that to conclude that there was connivance with government officials doesn’t require a rocket scientist!

Coming back to the oil issue, it beats my understanding why we do not have the confidence to develop the local capacity to drill our own oil, refine it and sell a finished product on the world market! Why do we still need Tullow, and a host of other companies eager to jump into the fray, to do it for us? Why aren’t we asking why the Ugandans that we send out every year on scholarship to study Petroleum Engineering are not yet ready to build a government-owned company to drill the oil? While I’m happy that we have plans to build a refinery right here in Uganda, I doubt this assertion especially when I see us making the same mistakes that Nigeria made. It’s a scandal of astronomical proportions that after decades of oil production, Nigeria still exports crude oil and imports the finished product! The government built refineries but they are non-operational!

What is wrong with us, fellow Ugandans? Do we not care for our country? Day after day, reports come of billions “misappropriated”, “embezzled”, “diverted” and “unaccounted for”. Questionable agreements are made in our name as shareholders of this nation but what do we do? Do we make our voice really heard where it matters? What kind of nation are we going to hand over to our children and grandchildren?

We’re the shareholders of this nation. The Management (Executive) and the Board of Directors (The Parliament) have for long taken decisions that are selfish and short-sighted and yet we do not do anything about it. For how long will we not take action?

Will we, the shareholders of this nation, ever speak up? Will we ever hold the Management and the Board accountable for their actions and inactions that do not serve our interests?

Its time we started to really care about our nation’s direction for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

For God and My Country,

Charles Makmot
Strategic Leadership Forum

Letter to MPs who haven’t returned the Shs20m bribe

It is difficult to describe how irked I am at the thought that it is actually necessary to pen this to you. You, over the years, are the very people that we, helpless Ugandans, have built our hope in to set yourselves apart from Tibuhaburwa’s Sycophants’ Club (read NRM) who are hell-bent on ruining this nation and leaving nothing for our children and our children’s children. It is therefore not only shocking to read press reports that you have not yet returned the 20 Million dished out to all MPs to “monitor government programmes” (48 opposition MPs took Shs20m ‘bribe’, Daily Monitor, July 25, 2011) but that you are also vowing not to return it (“We won’t return Shs. 20m ‘bribe’, say legislators”, Daily Monitor July 26, 2011)!

There was an uproar in the public domain when the story of the planned disbursement of these monies totaling to a colossal sum of 6.5 Billion shillings and the reasons for it are very well know to U. However, for the avoidance of doubt, let me elucidate them:

1. That the said funds were not in the budget of the Parliamentary Commission and that there was no record of a parliamentary sitting that received and considered a supplementary request for funding for this particular suspect item
2. That the timing of this request at the height of the election season and just 3 months to the close of business of the August House was unfortunate and just an excuse to fund MPs campaigns in exchange for passing the unjustified 600 Billion shillings supplementary budget
3. That it is not the constitutional duty of MPs to “monitor government programmes” given the fact that they do not have competencies in all the fields were government programmes lie e.g Agriculture, like in this case. MPs have diverse qualifications and not everybody is competent enough to monitor ALL government projects
4. That the money was subjected to 30% Income Tax deduction which means that it is comparable with an income where accountability is not required, contrary to the said function of the funds i.e “monitoring government programmes” which, if it were even justified to begin with, would require some form of accountability to the taxpayer on how it was spent!

It is on this basis that I implore you to do the good and just thing and return the funds. If this is unacceptable to you, then we request that you stop purporting to represent our views in Parliament by doing the honorable thing and resign.

For God and My Country,

Charles A. O. Makmot
Activist For Change