|Kidasa Ronald Nabende|
Really, who taxes water??? I mean it’s not like we buy, manufacture or import it from any where. It's simply recycled and the circulation volumes are often topped up by natural processes. Uganda is such a mess i tell you! After the thresh-hold is deducted off one's salary, N.S.S.F takes 5%, Pay As You Earn takes about 30%,(or is it P.A.Y.E meaning Pay As Yoweri Eats?). Anyway, that's 35 % of your salary gone, then for every purchase you make at the supermarket, bar/grocery store, the government takes off a cut of 18% as Value Added Tax on all your expenses, basically approximately 53% of all money earned and spent by mostly employed Ugandans ends up in government treasury. So it would be such a shame and pure exhibition of greed to go ahead and levy V.A.T on a basic need like water, yet the consolidated funds are simply being wasted on budgets for new county size districts, on exaggerated salaries of superficial offices like Executive Director of Kampala, constantly increasing MP's salaries, new cars for MP's, 200 billion to restructure and redesign chambers?? Fighter jets, scam I.D projects and Basajja Balaba's compensation. But then 260 billion cannot be allocated to Health Sector since it's a non priority for Uganda in the words of His Excellency M7 (Museveni).
Despite numerous pleas and tremendous display of patience, government won’t consider revising doctors', policemen and teachers' remuneration considerably to allow them decent living and welfare. So how do you expect corruption to reduce in police? How do you expect teachers to be motivated and take pride in their profession? Why shouldn’t doctors opt for jobs abroad or sell drugs to patients at Mulago? And moreover the crucial public infrastructure like Government Universities, Government schools, National Referral Hospitals are in all dire shape... Africa's problems are indeed rooted beyond corruption and dictatorship, those are merely symptoms and effects. I believe our policy makers and leaders have inherent greed, perpetual myopic-ness and find comfort in mediocrity. Always dwelling on short term remedies to deep rooted problems. Economic affairs, social welfare of the electorate and education of the public are not like roads that can have pot holes patched; these issues have to be fixed from their causes. If there should be need for increased taxation, let BAT be taxed into non-Existence for all I care, a pack of cigarettes should be at 20,000 a pack or better yet, high earners like government officials and MPs should not be taxed at the same rate as low level income earners. Look at the case of Ugandan Members of Parliament. They whine for Museveni so much, yet given a chance/leverage, they exhibit greed and opportunism in their truest & highest fashions. Not too long ago, they made a lot of noise to increase their remuneration and allowances yet they claim to be combating misappropriation of national resources!
Such a sad predicament indeed. But what remedies would you propose to curb such continued self perpetuated poverty and anarchy? From the average man's perspective, especially my peers (the youth) so to say, should we merely wait for a change??? Should we demonstrate for urgent reforms??? Should we advocate for an AU, UN & EU backed referendum asking for dissolution & impeachment of the current regime??? Or should we treacherously agitate for change by taking up arms in revolt??? Because, for all we care even the current regime came in through an armed "liberation" struggle. The best, practical, peaceful and constructive option by me would be for us, the youth, to strive and improve our individual productivity and welfare through entrepreneurship, innovation, education. We must find ways of getting ourselves voted or appointed into influential administrative roles with proper manifestos and agendas aimed at making drastic structural, economic and policy reforms that hold the common man's interests and national social welfare as top priorities. We should avail relevant free or affordable public education, public medication and proper remuneration for all civil servants especially police officers, teachers and doctors.
That's the question," will we sit back and watch?" Africa's problems are many but at the heart of them all is what i sometimes love to call "cross -generation governance." Sadly we (Africa) are still being governed by colonial mindsets and people that were schooled and raised in a very different era from that in which they live now. Not only are they not ready for change, they simply cant quite comprehend the change, they're simply witnessing it. Yet it's we, the youth, that are the vehicles and subjects of this change, thus it only follows that we should be be given capacity and chance to govern and over see this change. Otherwise, while the whole world is making a transition we'll be left in the hiatus that these 65yrz+ Presidents, policy makers and Ministers are going to leave. You don't expect a Comp Engineering graduate of 1965/ 79/ 89 to understand or fix an i-pad except use it and probably mishandle or under-utilize it. True, some western ideologies cultures and influences can't be downplayed or uprooted either because they've sunk in to the flesh. But I mean music, religion, entertainment, language and fashion, even as far as as expression, we have literally copy-pasted the west. We just need to breed independent thinkers or an independent thinking environment to save whatever is left of African essence. There is so much plagiarism of cultures in Africa and it's a pity so many here find comfort in such mediocrity. So if i may ask; any ideas you have in mind? Any youth-led solutions to Africa's problems? How do we fit into or handle global transition and change yet remaining true to our roots?
Its like innovation is synonymous with competition, it's like how investment and entrepreneurship have been reduced to "what's the latest deal or catchy business in town"; T-shirt companies, app development, super markets, at some point it was telecoms, digital TV, now it's bars. For Christ's sake, even Political parties had their phase of mushrooming! I would really like it if proposed initiatives & solutions are neither politically inspired or oriented at all, they ought to be basic fundamental grass root approaches, more concerned with preventing the causes rather than dwelling on fixing the effects. Decent/affordable relevant education for all, innovation and self discovery; those right there are realistic long term remedies to "Africa's brain bleach." I try to keep them in mind and hope others too(especially the youth) can get some sense of redemption and self worth. Perhaps we can care less about fitting or suiting western expectations and trends and start to nurture worthier ambitions and dreams. Sadly innovation, patriotism and talent can't be taught, but in there lies so much potential, hope and the lasting solutions to Africa's problems.
Capacity development and empowerment of the youth is also a crucial contribution to change in any society since it’s only a matter of time until they take up offices and governance. African youth have to learn to invest in themselves in regards to knowledge and other talents. By so doing, a lot of communities will have reputable educated and competent young citizens to represent and fight for their human causes and fight other vices and injustices. Indeed, the representatives of the masses need to focus on public welfare and social reforms, instead of dwelling on political differences and partisan agendas. And this can only happen if we vote in the right people, the educated people and noble men and women of virtue. Because, voting our leaders and representatives basing on political affiliation deems the whole process of democracy a waste of time and money since such people have purely political ambitions and personal priorities which do not necessarily reflect the will of the masses or seek to address the plight of the common man. Wouldn't you agree with me that this would liberate Uganda and elevate us from our current status, and Africa at large? Or you have better alternative propositions n suggestions... I'd love to know, because ardent criticism, war and riots won’t be as productive and efficient both in the short term and long run. GOD BLESS AFRICA; FOR GOD & MY COUNTRY! So help us God. Amen.
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