State officials visiting abroad should not behave like Otafire

General Kahinda Ottafire, stopped in Boston a week ago, but only met with a chosen few, missing the opportunity to meet with the rest of us, who are just as concerned with the state of affairs in our homeland.

Imagine an official of his stature, perhaps second in command, coming to a city such as Boston, that has contributed hoards of money to the Uganda economy-yes the Kyeyo beaters and only meeting with a handful of folks in a bizarre veil of secrecy. What is up with that?One does not need a degree in psychology to note that our country is polarized with an elevated level of distrust among tribes and our officials need to work hard not to excite suspicious minds.

Folks wanted to ask him about the progress we have made regarding the professional army. There are some who like his no bull style of answering questions-they were all disappointed.Some wanted to hear about the newly found oil riches and how the money would be distributed- Perhaps help him find a company that might be willing to extract our oil at a 60 /40 rate.

The general could have found some solutions to problems that have dogged Uganda for good while now; such as cheap ways of providing continuous power (Electricity). He would have learned of one of our own Ugandan CEOs, who has been in charge of 12 power plants in the USA and contemplating retirement. He has been knocking at the government door to help us resolve the electricity problem for years now, but no one is answering.

He would have gotten an ear full on how we as a country can position ourselves to provide employment as quality assurors for biopharmaceuticals.

New ideas on the revival of AGOA: we know of a young lady who has just finished her degree as an Industrial Engineer, and she is looking for work, why can’t we task her along with other experts to tackle the AGOA issue? Were we so paralyzed by the departure of Rosa Whitaker?

Inclusive dialogue for progress is what the people want that is the new politics that ushered in president Obama.  It is a shame when such a high ranking government official comes to a big city such as Boston and fails to gather collective wisdom-the Chinese wouldn’t do that. Dr. Besigye did better – he invited us all and bought us drinks, while fielding a diverse array of questions.

I hope when the president comes-he will encourage dialogue by having a village like meeting/QA session structure. President Kagame has benefited a lot from these type of open and inclusive meetings.

Always remember that you might win some and loose sum, it is a zero sum gain; Slowly, slowly got the snail to the riverbank.

Tendo Kaluma
Ugandan in Boston

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