In July 2006, the New Vision newspaper carried a curious story about a visiting Chinese government delegation that met with the then deputy inspector general of government, Raphael Baku.
The Chinese officials gave an overview of anti-corruption efforts in China noting that more than 100,000 civil servants were penalized on corruption charges every year. They further revealed the maximum sentence for corruption being the death penalty; over 100 Chinese were executed each year over corruption.
The Chinese delegation then asked Baku about Uganda seeking to know how many corruption convictions we registered every year. Ho! Baku cited two cases over a five-year period. Baku spluttered like a rickety upcountry taxi, that Uganda’s criminal law system made it difficult to prove corruption. I imagine the Chinese must have been astounded - perhaps we had no corruption or we did not consider corruption nefarious.
They might have wondered what went on in the heads of Ugandans. Those who applaud the Chinese for throwing loans at us without meddling in our governance and rights affairs should be more grateful.
If China with their tough stance on corruption should ask us to walk like them on anti-corruption, we will be the walking dead. Dear Ugandans, the fault is with us. We are the mad ones. We keep moving in circles, doing the same things that have failed us for decades but expecting different results.
Parliament’s Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase) with their probe into the management of Uganda Airlines (UA), has done a fine job showing us why Ugandans are jaded.
Many Ugandans believe one cannot get a good job in certain organizations without a sponsor/ saponsa, a godfather/godmother or a ‘gamba nogu.’ When I press my younger relatives to apply for certain jobs, they look at me as if I was born yesterday in a Uganda whose institutions functioned independently of influence peddling and nepotism.
In human resource, headhunting is a proven sourcing method that seeks out the best talent for top-level positions. Headhunting is painless, saves time and money. Cosase’s revelations show that Uganda Airlines CEO Jennifer Bamuturaki was headhunted for the position.
Bamuturaki, having caught the president’s eye, slid nicely into the job. Yet with each fresh revelation coming out of Cosase, Bamuturaki is burning through the nascent reputation of Uganda Airlines, casting a dark cloud over the organization.
She is the fuel to the fire, self-immolating Uganda Airlines’ reputation. Bamuturaki argues she has what it takes. It would be nice to believe her because contrary to what the regime thinks, we are actually patriots. We know we are patriots for anytime a foreigner says unfavourable things about our Uganda; we rise up in righteous indignation and flaming patriotism.
It does not matter if what they said is true about our Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni headhunted Bamuturaki. The head wants what it wants. As he is not our servant, he owes us no explanation as to why Bamuturaki is what our national airline needs.
As he owes us no explanation, it tells us all we need to know, moving forward. While we applaud Cosase, Cosase is aiming its guns at the wrong target and we cannot blame them. Cosase, like most of us, lacks bush-fighting experience; so, they are bound to be excited with a taste of a little power.
What does Cosase hope to achieve? Fame? An overhaul of UA management? Several have opined that Cosase’s probe is a powerful display of impotence. Others so jaded in their nothingness, attack Cosase for doing the right thing, accusing Cosase of being jealous haters looking for cheap publicity.
Several analysts have stated Bamuturaki is not the problem. The problem is with the head. Many of you are jumping back thinking of the head of state. Calm yourself. The fault is with us, our heads. That bald glistening head that former presidential press secretary Tamale Mirundi pounds dramatically like an empty drum.
Bamuturaki is a metaphor of our failure. We recognize that our leaders have failed us yet we continue with them as they continue soaring above us, cloaked in privilege. Kwonka, here we are moving in circles, expecting more from our leaders when our leaders only have adoring eyes for regime security and the patronage system that sustains it.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) headhunted the presidency, staking their very lives for the prize. They won the prize and the spoils that come with it. The spoils include headhunting privileges.
Fortunately, we citizens also have heads making us anatomically similar to those who fought. Unfortunately, that is where the similarities end. Our heads have deluded us into thinking change will come from a regime whose ethos is soaked in ‘no change.’
One would imagine the fact the NRM has ‘Resistance’ in their name should have been our first clue. Cosase, turn your guns to our heads for even as useful idiots, our heads have failed us. Let Bamuturaki go and do her job for the one who headhunted her has not found her wanting. Foras, our heads need new heads.
The writer is a tayaad muzzukulu.