Perhaps some of our leaders get demotivated because even when they do wonders, we never appreciate them.
Today I am only here to thank one of our new ministers and to make suggestions for more things she could do. This is no Point Blank. Just in a matter of months, Honorable Agnes Nandutu has already excelled at demonstrating immense commitment to her ministry.
Honorable Aaaaagnes, I read here a few weeks ago that you and a few other new ministers came in with demands for new ministerial cars - not the old ones. I was filled with admiration for your sense of self-worth. You deserve more, madam. We understand how important and special ministers are.
In your case, in fact, Karamoja doesn’t deserve you. But you so loved the region that you offered yourself as a sacrifice, just like our First Lady did some time back. And we can all give testimony to how she phenomenally transformed Karamoja after having been appointed by God to the service.
I have already noticed that in the few months you have been minister, the number of Karimojong beggars on the streets of Kampala has significantly increased. We stealthily thank you. Kampala looks hilarious with the jewelry of those young girls and bare skinny bodies indicative of a secured future.
I noticed that lately you dress like them. You look so beautiful in that attire and beads. I suggest that you take a group selfie with the hundreds of Karimojong beggars employed on the streets of Kampala. Pick any busy spot around town, you will find them there.
Stand in their middle and wear your signature big smile, as a gesture of accountability. Those beautiful rashes and wounds on their skins would look great in a ministerial selfie. We could raise the photo on a billboard somewhere in Moroto with a bold inscription: SECURING THE FUTURE OF KARAMOJA. Alternatively, we could write: DELIVERING JOBS TO KARAMOJA.
Don’t clean off the mucus running down the noses of the babies sitting with begging hands stretched out in the sun. Karimojong babies are so resilient. Yes, they have been on those streets for years now; aren’t they growing? Their appearance shouldn’t bother us.
Actually, these miserable faces can work as a justification for more funds to Karamoja. Wouldn’t those faces make a wonderful proposal cover?
Thanks for finding jobs for all these Karimojong in such a short time. I hear there are big people (begging entrepreneurs) who ferry them to Kampala for the street job. I am sure you are aware of this, for it is not really new.
Thanks to you and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for allowing it to continue without any interference. Kampala needs more beggars, and these toddlers are doing it well. They have the perfect faces of misery and desperation that we need.
There is nothing really wrong with begging as a livelihood. Governments beg too. Bilateral cooperation means nothing more on our part than formalised begging relations, just like ‘development partner’ tends to imply begging partner. In a spirit of national distribution of labour, let us reserve the low-level local begging industry for the Karimojong.
We could even professionalise the job. Honorable Minister, you could work together with KCCA and gazette special begging spots in the city. Equip them with decent begging bowls and skills of displaying misery. These concentrated begging points will go a long way in attracting tourists too.
There are not so many countries where you can find ethnically diverse people but with almost all street beggars coming from the same ethnic group. So many foreigners are willing to pay to have a look at naked misery dressed in cultural attire.
Have no fear that any children rights activist will make noise about the show. These are not the children with rights. Haven’t you seen them drive their posh NGO cars past these children without bother? They only attend to issues of children proper.
Not even the ministry that made a lot of noise about a one Fresh Kid going for music shows will care about what you might think to be glaring child labour right below its nose. Fresh Kid was not Karimojong, and all cameras were on him. The ministry was therefore, a beneficiary in sharing his limelight. They could even have paid him to protect his rights.
Don’t worry about what the masses will say. We are now used to such scenes and are numb. That’s why when we see these Karimojong beggars, all we care to confirm is if we have firmly raised the car windows.
I hear that Karamoja is rich in minerals with deposits of gold, marble, glass sand, copper, iron ore, gemstones, etc. These riches are misplaced.
They only ended up in Karamoja by accident. No one should be asking why people from an area that rich should constitute about 98 percent of the county’s beggars. God put those minerals there well knowing that the rest of us will need them. There is nothing wrong with Karimojong living in squalor while we exploit their resources. That’s precisely how colonialists treated Africa, and it was okay.
They have enough beads for making their jewelry, old car tyres for making lugabire shoes, and knives for marking their bodies. Madam Minister, more than this would be luxury for them. If hunger chases them out of Karamoja into the city, the better.
That will provide us with ample room to explore their land for more minerals. Let them flood Kampala as beggars, to escape the hardship of their rich lands. Since begging is addictive, soon they won’t be able to turn back. It will become their way of life. Is that bad for us?
If at some point they become a menace, upon being recruited into city gangs, we have enough jails for them.
The author is a teacher of philosophy.