Uganda: Can Sugar Be Cheaper Than Wasteful Governance Allows?


Even in a country where shame was abolished, government officials do not broadcast that they have so many ghosts on the payroll; or that most of the mileage in their huge SUVs was for private journeys; or that they have internalised the concept of strategic bureaucratic incompetence to earn more cash under the table; or that their ultimate ambition was to plug into the circuit between big-time procurement and the great leader. They don't tell you. They masquerade as patriots.

One, therefore, cannot hold back a sardonic smile when a cantankerous radio talk-show propagandist and fierce supporter of the great leader is juggling his pet themes; that the great leader deliberately left corruption to become the central cause in his current term in office, and at the same time that government expenditure is caught in a grand criminal enterprise over which the great leader may have lost control.

Why then shouldn't the great leader retire?

Because the great leader saved the propagandist's mother from mob action.

Oh, you are not following. Sorry, logic sometimes stands on a diagonal. But you are not supposed to understand everything.

However, if in your folly you thought the great leader was constitutionally bound to protect citizens, you now know that an entire country can be held hostage because the ruler rescued one mother from lynching.

How then can the rest of the country be rescued?

The propagandist replies, almost commands: The great leader must sack all retirement-age ministers; because they are indifferent; they have no passion for saving his sinking ship. They are a liability.

But wait a minute. Some time back, when the propagandist's verbal excesses clearly became a liability, the great leader's trusted functionaries and freelance operatives were apparently assigned to create a pretext for cutting down the propagandist.

After the mission was accomplished, the propagandist has spent almost every day ranting, castigating those who were used to weave the web for his fall; as if doing whatever he had been doing was a birthright; as if the ego by its nature makes sacking anyone a crime against humanity.

Not that he fell on a very hard place. But to demonstrate the meaning of 'difficult friend', the propagandist mouth-trashed the thick cushion on which many of the great leader's unusable friends enjoy their redundancy as 'advisers'. Only he did not turn down the gravy and the perks provided by the great leader. Yes, scorn, but eat.

Appalled by the disdain, some of the great leader's handlers wanted the cushion removed.

It was the great leader who blinked: Keep the cushion where it is.

Why? The propagandist explains: Because his mother almost got lynched by a mob. But what anyway was Shs3 million per month? A mere three million?

Oh, again you are not following. Sorry, the logic has changed diagonals. Listen. The great leader should keep his job for saving the propagandist's mother, and the propagandist should keep his job because his mother almost got lynched.

Thank you, great leader. Solomon in our midst. Those sleepy old ministers must also have their saving points.

After all, only the great leader must be seen to really work.

Consider this: A lady, a government minister, and a bunch of village women doing something good in her remote constituency. Her clout cannot be allowed to be sufficient at their function. So the great leader has called on them. That is one motorcade. Plus security arrangements.

Honourable She: "Your Excellency, these women want sewing-machines..."

Great leader: "Just sewing-machines? Talk. Any number you want."

Clapping all over...

Okay, let's see. If one machine is $100, corruption in procurement could make it $500. Talk 50 machines. And you can be sure the great leader will personally deliver them. That means another motorcade. Suddenly, a presidential 'gift' of simple pedal sewing-machines could look like $3,000 per piece!

Where is the sugar story?

I have not forgotten. If you run the village women's country as wastefully as the great leader, they cannot have cheap sugar. Or cheap shoes. Or cheap schools. Or cheap roofing sheets. Or cheap sanitary towels. So lick your wounds.


Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult