Why?

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Recent happenings that have defined the status quo in Uganda have underscored the sad reality of the scope of the suffering of the vast majority of Uganda’s populace. We have progressively witnessed and experienced senseless wars and inhuman atrocities, barbaric acts of terror, deadly natural disasters, epidemics, and a host of other heart wrenching catastrophes such as fatal road accidents, deadly school infernos, etc.

Today, it is not uncommon for one to hear lamentations of injustices allegedly engineered by some selfish employer against an honest employee, or the cry of a poor mother suffering the painful sight of her dying child because the local health center is grossly inadequately stocked with essential medicines.

Our country is plagued with a variety of avoidable problems, and the average
Ugandan have had to painstakingly work his way against tremendous odds to provide for his family and earn a decent living. It is a far cry from the promised unity, peace and prosperity; it is characteristic of the suffering nation.

In retrospect, Uganda’s troubles are manifold: one morning, we wake up to news of hundreds of lives lost in a land slide disaster, and on another day, we hear of twin bomb blasts killing scores of innocent people watching a World Cup soccer match. Some ate rats as a “delicacy” because of famine caused by prolonged drought, while others lost homes and businesses in other parts of the country that experienced unprecedented flooding. One could be mourning the loss of a beloved relation who perished in a preventable school fire today, and the next day going to a funeral of a friend who died in a preventable road carnage.

Somewhere in a national referral hospital, some helpless expecting mother is giving birth on the stairs of the hospital, while in some village upcountry, some child is dying from diarrhoea or malaria because available medicines have expired in national stores. If it is not Ebola this year, then it is likely to be swine flu next year -manageable epidemics that nevertheless kill dozens.

Several Ugandans in the north are forcefully driven to a shamefully hopeless life in concentration camps during the Kony war, while in the corridors of power, some greedy politicians are allegedly devising schemes on how to “steal” their cherished land and profit from their misery.

And what should we say about the numerous orphaned kids lining our busy streets daily and begging for food and money? How about the apparent prejudices carefully executed in places of work, during job interviews, and in other institutions such as schools and hospitals? Why must my tribe or political affiliation be a determinant in assuring my place for a given job, or in providing expeditious help when needed? How is it that one can swindle public funds and yet be rubbing shoulders irreproachably with His Excellency after such scandals? Why are innocent civilians participating in lawful political gatherings being randomly whipped, shot and murdered in cold blood?

Has our character as a nation gone to the dogs? Are there no more respectable and sincerely patriotic authorities in Uganda? Our roads may be deplorable, our health care pathetic, our education quality wanting, our traditions and cultures eroding, our freedom and privacy infringed upon, but it is our firm resolve as a nation to pursue unity, peace and prosperity that will doubtless take us a step closer to healing the nation’s wounds.

Our leaders must refine their individual character and dedicate themselves to a duty of selfless, patriotic service. Voters must dutifully kick out non-performing, hypocritical politicians. With confident optimism, we can harness the skill and ingenuity of our motherland, and advance toward a better day. Unless we recognize that we are all Ugandans who need to prosper together, then our troubles are far from over.

Mark Omara,Lira.

E-mail: omamark@gmail.com

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