Monday, February 05, 2007

It’s so hard out there being a prez

Our president is on pressure as we speak. If he’s not, well, he should be. What with the many barbs coming from all directions!

The opposition is having a field day. Mama Miria Obote is riding on the wave; throwing in her several cents’ worth of ideas. Heck, this is the chick who was on the ropes just a few weeks ago, being taken to task about her role in her late husband’s reign(s).

The whole furore is about the land giveaways that are running way out of hand.

In Uganda, if you want to get free land, get the president’s private number and call him. Tell him you have a business proposition. Just that. The rest will just fall into place.

Before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of hectares of land. Free. Well, you can pay like $1 in some cases.

This has been going on for some time now. People have been getting free land from government for a long time. That’s not like a new thing. Problem is that The Other Media House (TOMH) started to focus on it seriously, even started a subsection for it called Land Bonanza. Suddenly, the shit has hit the fan.

So the president has given out land to investors to build hotels in time for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Big deal.

What are we gaining in the mean time? Methinks there’s a lot.

I am thinking of the many jobs that will definitely be created when there are more investors coming to my country. I am thinking that if people can feel secure putting down hundreds of dollars knowing that they will not be hindered when they want to up and go, they will come here in their hundreds.

Some really sensitive areas like forests have been given away. Forests like Mabira and Bugala have been signed over to the rich people who say they can turn them into money minting projects.

I cry for that side of events because that means in the scheme of things, the president and his government do not see any importance attached to things like wetlands (see Sudhir Ruparelia’s Rosebud) and forests. The environment does not feature anywhere on his list of priorities.

That’s side, however, I don’t think he’s way out of line. I want to live in a country where the people feel proud that they are citizens. I want to see a stop to the perennial story of Ugandans jumping on the plane and flying to the colder climes. Really.

I think Ugandans are looking for the good life outside. They can’t find it here so they go out there. If these investors can bring a semblance of what is out there attracting our doctors and neurosurgeons and engineers, then I am all for it, regardless of the pain and the price at which we attain it.

I believe right now, we cannot see anything good in these happenings. I believe the president is not the favourite person of even his staunchest supporters. All this is because he does his things like a dictator. Wait a minute; he is a dictator.

But history will judge him right. I know.


Blogger Cheri said...

Fisrt things first! Firsties!

Second things second.....good to see another template!

12:24 AM  
Blogger Cheri said...

I don't agree wholesale with the generous land give aways.....

Also,I've never thrown all my weight behind Sevo. I despise the guy.

But we shd all know that its mighty work ruling over peeps like u, in a broke country like ours.

As for the bonanza, if hotels are comin up,kawa!Only for the short run though. But why don't he put up housing estates,,,my foot. Who'll sleep there after CHOGM?
If the land bonanza was giving way to lower cost housing, schools etc...then I'd say "Cut the guy some slack" but no,,,,hotels? And he's giving school land away....

Anyway, Lets wait and c.

Maybe I shd read Lee Kwan Yew's book on how he transformed Singapore to where it is with an "Iron hand". for some perspective!

12:35 AM  
Blogger The 27th Comrade said...

The new theme is better, LA, but my eyes!

Now, aye on that thing of yours. The post, I mean. But, first, there have not been any land give-aways. It's just softened, as far as I know. The land is leased out. And there are all these broke peasants who are getting the money from the leases. They are not complaining, but they are too few to drown out the cries. They are otherwise broke guys with land.

Also, on the environment thing, well, yeah. Horrible. But the part of Mabira turning into an industrial area is devoid of trees. It is only theoretically part of Mabira, but has been logged dead for decades. The real forest is still intact, far as I know.

And, me, I see absolutely nothing wrong with cutting trees - they are ours, and we should use them. Just plant two for each you cut. I wonder if Sevo is doing that ...

We can't have our cake and eat it. Either we stay with a rich environment and babies who die of diseases that can be cured with less than a dollar, or we do a shrewd game, and use (not kill) our environment so we can survive to benefit from it at all.

Me, I don't call myself pro-Sevo. But the problem is that opposition is just a whole bag of naïve idealist couch-proffessionals, that I can't debase myself by supporting them.

@Cheri: Hotels alone can drive development better than maize mills, for example. Uganda is that kind of place where you can just go to stay. And spend your dollars on leather crafts and stuff. Lots of dough, there. Provided there is a hotel that can hold your entourage and convoys. You are Bill Gates, for Christ's sake!

The school (Shimoni, I know) was not in thatplace before the early sixties. How can a school have become a kind of shrine? Isn't this horrible? Move the friggin' thing! Shouldn't hurt a fly! Just make the school move the same way it did in coming to Shimoni!

I am glad you cited Lee Kuan Yew. He is Singapore's Museveni. History will judge this guy beautifully. And it will murder Besigye. But that is another day.

9:23 AM  
Blogger minty said...

Land giveaways were ok when it was one or two, but it's become a whole industry on its own. And the fact the prez is handling all of them by himself stinks.

And since these deals get discovered more or less by accident or thru some journalist's hard work, does the money being paid reach the consolidated fund?
It's a rotten business.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone. Not a blogger. A journalist from Columbia University in New York writing about the ICC and its arrest warrants for Kony and his men and Ugandans who oppose the warrants, in the name of peace.

I was hoping to find someone to speak or e-mail with who has had direct contact with the LRA -- or lives in one of the camps in Kampala for "internally displaced people."

Can anyone hook me up?

Julia Dahl

7:43 AM  
Blogger ish said...

that 2nd to last paragraph. totally agree.

and obba which IDP camps in K'la... someone help her. u esp, Mr. Blog Administrator.

9:46 AM  

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