Move away from personalities like Obote, M7, Amin and start to think systemically


H.E. President Gen. Idi Amin gives his speech on the Anniversary of Economic war

H.E. President Gen. Idi Amin gives his speech on the Anniversary of Economic war

Dear UAHs,

The third world mentality which revolves around personalities is the one killing Africa and most especially Uganda.
Our people do not think in terms of what works. Instead, they think in terms of personalities as in M7 hasn’t built the hospital, he hasn’t given people money, or Obote built a road, Obote gave us money etc. This is the cancer in the minds of our people and most especially the so called elites in Uganda.The failure of Ugandans to move being personalities is a chronic illness which has disabled our people’s capacity t think systematically.

What can we do to make our people think in terms of what works and what works for who? What can we do to make our people think in terms of having a professional, outcome focused and a resource / needs led services which is guided by law, policy and ethics?

People think that if Obote, M7 or Amin is a president, then there will be excellent schools, hospitals, roads etc. They think that it is presidents who build schools, hospitals, roads etc. And that is what makes Uganda a third world country. People wait for the presidents to fight poverty, disease, load shedding, impassable road, traffic jam etc. Basically, in the small minds of our African people, a president is next to God. And I do not blame M7 for saying that he is the only one with the vision for Uganda because we have made him to think like that.

The funny thing is that Africans/ Ugandans are too quick to blame dictatorship yet, they create these dictators through the way themselves think. If you think in a dictatorial manner then why do you blame dictatorship? For example if your mind is set in such a manner that development of a country can only be brought by one single individual then you are as silly minded as the individual dictator himself.

Nations are built by the people themselves and not by one single person. When a single person builds a nation, then, another single person will come and destroy it. Issues of national interest go beyond personalities. That is why Betty Kamya called for people to start thinking past M7 because he is a mortal.

Ugandans must start to think systematically. Lack of systemic thinking is the biggest challenge Ugandans have. If people even think that during Obote’s government schools were excellent, then I wonder why we lived in separate worlds but in the same country. I come from Mukono and Obote never ever built a single school in Mukono.

Every single school in Mukono was built by the people of Mukono and not by Obote. During Obote’s government, we had appalling schools and good schools just as it is today. There was not a single system of education which ensured good outcomes. The standard and quality of education was terrible just as it is today.

I visited Northern Uganda during Obote’s government and I can assure you that the place was primitive, and extremely backward. Many areas of my home district were almost very hard to access. Just travelling from Mukono Tax Park to a place called Ssi in Bukunja was almost a whole day’s journey and only one bus used to go there.Stop lying to the world that Uganda was an excellent country during Obote and Amin. Uganda has never been an excellent country. We have never been better at all. It is until you guys learn that we have been under-developed for the last 40 years, that we can move forward.

Moving forward requires people to acknowledge that their situation needs to change and then, think about the resources and systems which can bring about change.

Relying on single individuals like Amin or Obote is a sign of naivety and it is just a temporary remedy. Yes an individual can build a road but can he guarantee its sustainability and existence in the longer term?

Ugandans must start mapping and measuring their health, education, transport, security, justice and other systems so as to identify where some of the key blockages and challenges lie, and the go on to design a sound, synergistic (combined action or functioning) and system-ready interventions targeting those weaknesses.

With rich, multi-stakeholder partnerships and system-wide optics at its core, systemic thinking has great yet untapped potential in designing and evaluating the system-strengthening interventions.

For you to start thinking systemically, you must develop a deeper understanding of the of how “problems” are part of the systems. This technically means that your thinking must be non-linear as in relationships within a system cannot be arranged along a simple in-put out-put line. Basically this is akin to the thinking that if you make Obote a president and then you going are to get excellent schools, wonderful human rights records, disciplined army etc. This is nothing other than appealing to simplicity. It is not only nonsensical but myopic.

You need to change the entire system, by taking the powers down to the regions and then implement policies at a local level, involving the stake holders at a regional level than making directives from state house.

This kind of approach will foster direct links to policy-making, and better ownership of processes and outcomes through wider participation by implementing and fostering ownership of interventions at the national and regional levels.
That is why I tell you that it is high time for all Ugandans to put their shoulders to the wheels of change through anchoring a dynamic, carefully designed, and decidedly functional architecture so as to produce systems capable of high performance with equity.

At the same time, you also have a choice here. You can continue praising your dictators, beg them to do for you things, or open your palms and wait for them to put food, water, housing, education money etc therein. I wrote here yesterday that Belgium has not had an elected government for over 450 days but every single service in the country is running efficiently. With a good system in place, people do not need presidents to do things for them. The federal system of government empowers people to do these things for themselves. Kenya has just realised this and they have chosen to go federal.

What have I not told you? Oh yes, I have not shared my view that they reason why Ugandans are hooked on begging dictators to do things for them. I think that Ugandans suffer from provincialism. Provincialism is the assumption that what is familiar is the best. It is the failure to see the world differently from one’s usual way. This is reflected in our social, political and religious myopia. We never want to try doing things differently even when it is the best alternative.

Richard Mukasa
LONDON

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