BY HANNAH OGWAPITI VIA THE UAH FORUM
The African immigrant has been acclaimed as the most educated in the U.S., but we appear uneducated in our actions when compared to other immigrant groups. No doubt, there are individual accomplishments, but what is it that the African Diaspora can point to as its collective achievement in America? We are more interested in our ethnic and village groups, not even our countries as we observe attempts at national organizations always devolve back to ethnic bickering. Hence our failure to organize ourselves in the mode of the Jewish, Asian or Latino groups, who have used their collective power to bring pressure to bear on those who make decisions concerning their areas and concerns.
Last year, for example, when President Obama invited African Heads of State for a Summit in Washington, DC, some of us believed that it was an opportune time for these Presidents/Prime Ministers to meet with their most important constituency. The African Diaspora contribute about $80 billion annually to the African economy, resulting in the resilience of the continent’s incredible impressive economic growth rate. But what ended up happening: they not only disappointed the African Diaspora but they met as usual organizations such as the Corporate Council on Africa, an organization run by Caucasians. But were the Presidents to blame – well not really. And why, because the African community was not and still not organized. We have all kinds of ineffective African organizations headed by individuals who are more treated in promoting themselves.
Corruption in Uganda, as it is in other African countries, derives, in part, from the failure of post-independence institutions to adequately constrain the State and hence, those who serve in it. Until and unless the country is provided with institutional arrangements that adequately constrain state custodians (i.e., political elites and civil servants), corruption, in all its manifestations, will remain a pervasive part of political economy in the country.
As I have said before on UAH and elsewhere, leadership is a necessary but not sufficient condition for good governance. Sufficiency requires laws and institutions that adequately constrain the State (and hence, those who serve in it. This is the essence of the rule of law). The first step of the new president after Museveni, should be to form a government of national unity(GNU), and use that GNU to spearhead the country’s institutional reconstruction.