[Once in a while, I land on articles that I find well reasoned, with great prose. Below I reproduce an article shared on the WhatsApp groups. Take time and read. You will learn a thing or two.]By Dr Daniel Tumwine
Apparently among a section of Ugandans, if you criticize mediocrity, and downright laziness, and incompetence you are labelled “unpatriotic”, a “hater” and “negative”…
To them, we must all sing “kumbaya” instead of confronting our weaknesses.
No. I won’t be part of that game.
If your spouse or mother won’t point out your flaws, who will?
Your harshest critics should be more valued than your court jesters who will only sing false praises and tell you what you want to hear.
From the 18th century, World Fairs or World Expos have been used to showcase the best innovations on the planet.
These are serious events, and not feel-good chances to escape our disease-laden shores.
The Dubai 2020 World Expo is not your ordinary Lugogo Trade Fair.
It’s a pivotal signpost in every country’s development.
It is a measure of the progress and opportunities a country has.
It’s not a chance to display just private companies chosen by an elite 1986 club.
Yet, here we are being berated because we point out that placing boxes of Lato Milk on Masaai Sukus and displaying toy planes falls far short of even the least standard.
The unseriousness in Uganda’s pavilion is so pervasive that we can’t even plan for receptionists and tour guides to be present 24 hours despite going with one of the largest public-funded contingents.
But we have been raised to accept mediocrity and the status quo.
Stepping out of the herd mentality and rejecting the status quo is frowned upon and called “Lugezigezi”…
We are a timid lot, lacking inherent self-improvement and self-critic culture.
Uganda can and deserves to, do better than self-congratulations and high-fiving itself because we have a pavilion sympathetically fully paid for by the UAE government.
And you wonder why other countries laugh at us, and politely label us “friendly” to describe our level of infantilism.
We are so comfortable with failure, unseriousness, and lack of excellence.
A country that boasts being part of the “heart of Africa”, a place that provided the waters that hid a biblical Egyptian prince Moses -whose very waters he parted; a place with so much going for it from having the largest freshwater bodies, to the youngest reigning Monarch, to oil and the most fertile soils in the world… should not be borrowing Masaai Sukus from Kenya, and displaying Canadian made Bombardiers…
Yet, every Egyptian Pharaoh that ever lived drank our water.
We also have enough waterbodies to power ALL of Africa. Twice.
We can harvest solar easier than anyone else in the world.
We are geographically located at the mythical Wakanda Kingdom
We can also be an African air hub because of our central location.
Culturally we are at the crossroads of Islam and Christianity civilisations.
We are the pulsating heartbeat replicated on the African continent.
We boast of ancient Bantu and Nilotic warrior kingdoms and languages.
We have one of the continent’s earliest satellites at Mpoma and an incredible story of resilience and rising from the ashes.
We should not even pride ourselves on being labelled a “Pearl of Africa” by a racist 20th-century genocidaire when so many tags can suit us better.
We just lack imagination.
Actually, no we don’t.
Our imaginative citizens are locked out of non-meritious processes.
Selfies coming out of Dubai show the usual suspects who have failed to drag us into middle-income status, who have failed to provide SGR lines, and failed to manage -and fuel- an airline whose planes were bought with cash.
Yet, examples of brilliant people abound.
People like the Solomon guy of the child robots/tech teaching firm, that lady of Ondaba, those Mountain Slayers, and countless other brilliant innovators left out of such spaces because of the “gamba noogu” and “whose son are you” culture.
We shall not be bullied into accepting a brand of patriotism whose very definition relies on patronage, false proselytizing, below-par performances, pussyfooting and plunder.
Our patriotic duty is to point out areas of improvement.
Even if it means laughing at ourselves.
[This article is not reproduced from the version shared on WhatsApp. The views are of the author.]
Note: I received this article on my WhatsApp mobile as a forward. It is not written by me. And I don’t know the original author/s. The article will teach you a lesson and that is why I am sharing it. If you share, add this disclaimer.