The conversation on tribalism has resurfaced, like a corpse that refuses to stay below waters.
Perhaps issues of ‘tribe’ have been Uganda’s most enduring paradox ever since colonialists set foot in present-day Uganda, and maybe earlier. It is that wound we have never allowed to dry, probably because it is sweet to scratch.
Nevertheless, I don’t find need to waste much time on it. No matter how much you try to please Ugandans, they are that proverbial hole that never gets quenched. They will always have something to complain about. To any Ugandan of sober mind, there is obviously no tribalism in government allocation of opportunities. No ethnic group is favoured, and that is everywhere for every right-minded person to see.
Sometime back, they were all over social media rolling in mud over the allegedly ‘resembling’ faces of the pretty ladies in the Entebbe Expressway toll boxes. If the ladies resemble each other, what is wrong with that? Would you be more gratified if they resembled your mother? It is understood world over that strategic points like those need attractive faces, to please customers.
We want more people to use the road so that we quickly repay the China loan for its construction. How else did you want government to attract more people to use the road?
The problem is that many Ugandans do not think strategically, and with patriotic lenses. Many of our tourists enter the country through that highway. Isn’t it wise to feed them with the best of what Uganda can provide in terms of appearances? If that offends your small heart, kindly look the other way, or go for plastic surgery.
It has also been severally carelessly raised, and in ways that incite violence, that certain public offices have been so tribalised that the languages spoken there make them seem like clan gatherings. This as well must be coming from those blokes with colonised minds. Fellow citizens, what is wrong with us speaking our languages in offices where we find ourselves to be COINCIDENTALLY the same?
Should we be speaking yours, or colonial English? Learn to love your culture. And when you are told the plain truth, you call it arrogance. You accuse others of having become so entitled that now they cannot look at tribal segregation as an issue. You accuse them of not being different in attitude from earlier regimes that they castigated.
Well, the problem with Obote and Amin is that they recruited into public service many of ‘their own’ who were not qualified to hold those positions. Before you open your foul mouth, show me any of the people you allege to be favoured that are not qualified. Merit, my friends, merit! Then you will ask: ‘Why them mostly?’ - that silly provocative sectarian question that I am tired of hearing! You should instead ask: ‘Why not them?’
You are chronically ungrateful. Government has opened up so many schools and universities, effectively increasing access to education. No one has stopped you from taking your children to top schools as others do. If you are not pleased with what is offered in Uganda, has anyone ever hindered you from sending your children abroad for special education?
Why begrudge those who see the value and send theirs there? Isn’t the passport office open and running? Are borders closed? Are flights unavailable? Universities in Europe, America, and Canada are open for whoever qualifies and wants to go.
Send them to study about oil, engineering, and corporate governance, and we see if they will subsequently be denied jobs in top government positions because of their origin. Do you expect government to help you register?
Stop that laziness that you treasonously package as victimhood. While others are sacrificing to send their children to good schools, you are selling land to go to the Middle East to mop houses and wash cars. Yet you still have the audacity to blame your poor choices on government! Take advantage of UPE and USE to as well improve your CVs and climb up the ladder of public visibility. Grumbling all the time like sick puppies is not going to add to your qualifications.
It defeats my imagination to hear people lament that government (State House) scholarships are granted on grounds of ancestry and physical appearance. Good Lord, what won’t you complain about? Even if it’s true that they take most scholarships, aren’t they citizens of this country? Don’t they qualify?
Will it make you proud citizens if children from your president’s area go without good education? Won’t you be the first to mock His Excellency for the shameful irony?
You claim that the scholarships often go to those who can already afford while other desperate bright children are left out. Prove it! Where are the statistics to support your allegations? Produce the bank statements of their parents so that we argue with evidence.
You can’t! Anyway, I have a suggestion to make it simple for you and to put you to shame once and for all. Let the IGG or Equal Opportunities Commission conduct an audit of all public institutions and clearly show you the national ethnic representation that you refuse to see. Let them come up with a report showing who occupies which position, especially the top ones.
You will swallow your empty hateful accusations when you are proven wrong by statistics of RDCs, RCCs, Generals, EDs, commissioners, SFC, police bosses, etc.
It is my humble appeal, fellow citizens, let us shun the idle talk of tribalism and build national unity and progress. Let us love our country more and stop sensationalising tribal discussion. Focus on our Parish Development Model (PDM) so that you lift yourselves out of poverty. And, focus on your own plate. It is contrary to our cultural eating manners to start craning your neck into others’ bowls. That is greed.
The author is a teacher of philosophy.