Ugandans in diaspora betray their people in Uganda
Most Ugandans at home say we clean toilets and sweep streets in Europe and North America. This is a bad label but we also do not tell them that we can make a change.
My good friend SPAN is an American citizen born in Uganda and he repeatedly tells us that people in diaspora are not helping to bring about change in Uganda and one cannot blame him.
In 2016, Ugandans in diaspora remitted USD $2 billion to the government of President Yoweri Museveni. Most of us do this because we have to pay school fees and medical care for our families and friends. We do however, have a choice. Let the little brats miss school for one term. Let our parents dig their gardens for food. Let them all see the hospitals which have no medics or medicine. We need to cut off the money we send home and squeeze the dictatorial government so that Uganda Airlines can fly to more places with the ruling family to beg for money.
What is stunning is that we accept mediocrity. The unemployment rate of 85% is a crime. The land grabbing is an abomination. The daily killings, assassinations, kidnappings, disappearances and tortures ought to infuriate us all. Not only this but to read weekly about government officials being flown abroad for medical care when our own families are dying in child birth or due to lack of blood in hospitals makes no sense. The only consolation about the medical care in Uganda is that even when the big shots land in a private hospital like Nakasero, they also die. The main reason being that the country settles for mediocrity and we will pay for this.
Recently, Uganda enforced a Sim Card registration in May. If your card was not registered, your phone would be cut off. If your phone was registered, you would have no issues. The Ministry of ICT also said that Mobile Money would not be cut off after the deadline but encouraged people to register their SIM cards.
The deadline passed and then even registered phones were shut off. Some kawala had the audacity to say “we were testing both registered and none registered sim cards to ensure we could block the registered ones too”. What the freak? Then of course no one said anything about it. Are you seriously testing when you could do it without killing off phones? But we were not done yet. The government has a mandate to force everyone to get a National ID. You will remember that to register a Sim Card was sh. 50,000. This was a cash grab from the government and the Telcos. Which Telecom providers assign you a number for your Sim Card without having your information? Incompetency? It is mediocrity which we willingly accept.
Just look at the current debate around the Land Bill. It is being diluted and one moron said that government should have the right to seize “idle” land by force. But that is someone’s land. They might even be letting it grow into a bush to refertilize the land from the previous harvest. So you are going to walk around and look at land which hs no big farm or building and seize it? Stop the stupid. The Uganda government has a very bad record around land and must not be given even one chance to seize land from people. But if you keep living with mediocrity, you will not see that this is a full blown bill that intends to take away your traditional land and give it to rif raf tags sijui refugees.
In all fairness, how many Ugandans own 20,000 acres of land in India, China and Rwanda? It is preposterous that you would allow Ugandans to be forced to give away such huge amounts of land to foreigners who could never pass a law that there is a tribe of Ugandans in India or China. God forbid that Rwanda would declare a tribe as legal by the name of Buganda. Yet you have no issues giving away 430 acres to a Kenyan or Rwandese or even selling your rocks of Tororo and Nakapiripirit to Chinese companies. You also have no issues with forcefully by gun and tear gas evicting people in Nakaseke, Kampala and Hoima. You even do not see that demolishing schools in Kampala to give the land to an Indian is a problem.
Then since we are happy with one meal a day, sending our kids to the Middle East as slaves, grabbing land from our parents and elders to give pretentious investors while we hoard our people in IDP camps, go right ahead. The day you go to Bududa and grab land is the day you will know that this fight is real. Buganda must stand up for their land and take it all back. Acholi, Amuru, Apaa, Alur, nabalala, must not under any circumstances let their “leaders” sell their community land to grow sugar cane. What is even in sugar? Has Madhvani and Metha not grown enough sugar in Busoga where Basoga are dying of jiggers and marrying off their daughters at sh. 20,000 per piece?
Have Acholi not suffered enough from the genocide that now they must allow “investors” to take their land? Have foreigners not taken enough from Uganda that you are willing to give them whatever is left of our country?
Uganda cannot pay teachers, soldiers, police, intelligence organisations, traffic officers, medics, civil servants, lecturers, judges, prosecutors and even put medicine in hospitals, repair roads and provide the famous WIFI in Kampala and Entebbe but yet you are now considering giving away the last asset most of the country has. Your land is your life. Do not fall for anything related to giving it away. You will remember that it is the government which will send evaluators to determine how much your land is worth and the government has said they will grab it and pay you later through their agreed compensation price. Meanwhile, some of you do not have food. In fact some are very happy to have one meal a day and then the ones who get one meal after 3 days sing pakalast wakyili olwalero tulidde.
In 2015, the NRM chief whip went to Bududa to tell my people to vote for only NRM. My people celebrated and ate pilawo. When my nephew told me about it, I asked him if Batuta had demanded from her that the government puts water in Bududa Hospital. “Ssenje, we ate rice and meat. No one asked.”. I told the kid that next week you better not call me and tell me your mom is in Bududa hospital and there is no medicine. AND karma is quite the bitch. The next week, my nephew texts me trembling “mom is in the hospital and they have no medicine”. You see, short term gratification means that you do not ask for important things.
Ugandans in diaspora are looking at short term. What is the point of paying school fees for a kid who will not get a job but your money funds a brutal regime? What is in sending money for your mother to go to a hospital which has no medicine? What exactly is hard for us to understand about cutting off funding so that the government can be forced to listen to our needs? Ugandans live under gag orders and threats to their lives if they stand up and talk about the suffering. People in diaspora must be the voices of the voiceless. You can start on this journey by just not sending any money to your family in Uganda. I am with you.
Martha Leah Nangalama
Our Land is our life. Do not pass any diluted bill about land. You will be very sorry. Remember that the world cannot help us if we refuse to help ourselves. Neither will God.