There has been debate in parliament, in the media, and in the public about the coffee deal that the government signed with an Italian investor, Enrica Pinneti.
This debate was politicized by the opposition, falsely pinning President Museveni and the government on wanting to "steal" from the Ugandan farmers. Without giving it a second thought or maybe because of lacking enough information, a section of Ugandans was indeed misled by the politicians.
I don't know why as a country we usually go a stray so quickly. But I think there has been a gap between the citizens and the government on the flow of information. It has become so easy to mislead the public - maybe because the government communication officers are sleeping on the job or maybe they do not know what to do as far as giving true information and guiding the public is concerned.
The opposition had actually crested and branded something like 'a black Pinneti' as being behind the real coffee deal, it looked like a joke but I think it was intended to attack the person of the president and successfully brainwash the public.
While giving his state of the nation address, Museveni confirmed to Ugandans that he was indeed the one who invited Pinneti to have interest in Ugandan coffee and she agreed. However, the president went further to explain the reason why he did so. His reason was that he saw the world figures about the revenue gotten out of coffee worldwide, and he realized that Africa and Uganda in particular were getting less, yet we are the best producers of coffee.
The reason for that is that Uganda exports unprocessed coffee to European countries and we end up getting less than we are supposed to get. He, therefore, looked at the possibility of adding value to our coffee so that we get what we are supposed to get. Why should such a person be attacked then as the opposition and other Ugandans have done in the past few weeks?
The only challenge we are facing as a country and I think Africa as a whole, is that we become comfortable when people are stealing for us. We are so generous to the exploiters to the extent that we can easily lend to them the roof sheltering us from sunshine and rain. For many years, Africa faced the challenge of slave trade which our former chiefs had okayed in exchange for petty gifts like mirrors.
It is after a long period of time that Africa rejected slave trade but the European countries had really exploited Africans and got what they wanted. No wonder we've been struggling economically. It is really sad and disheartening that up to today, Africans find it okay to export their unprocessed raw materials to European countries and other countries so that we earn less.
The president calls this another form of slavery and I think he's right. Why do we settle for less and yet we would settle for bigger things to uplift our countries out of extreme poverty and all the challenges that come with it?
Ugandans should shun the debates in parliament and the media that are always intended to deviate them from the real issues affecting their day-to-day lives. The president cannot and will never support anything intended to hurt Ugandans or Africans. In any case, his struggles right from the days of the university and later liberation war were to make Uganda and Africans better.
He has always been passionate about the development and the independence of Africa as a continent. I do not think that he can even get the energy to sleep when African countries are facing security challenges or any other kind of challenge.
The writer is a deputy RDC Kyenjojo district