By Mohammed Taha
During my stay for so many years in Uganda, I have closely monitored the geopolitical trends and Uganda’s positive role in comparison to other many African countries to which I also managed to travel is unprecedented.
Whereas Church Hill named Uganda the Pearl of Africa, I can on an informed point of view rename it as the “United Nations of Africa” especially during President Yoweri Museveni’s regime.
In my view, Uganda is probably a country next-to-none that exhibits higher levels of accommodation to foreigners, despite of negligible hitches by the immigration directorate. You will find Somalis, Rwandese, Kenyans, Nigerians, and Egyptians or name any country’s nationals well represented in this country and peacefully going about their business.
My greatest concern is that President Museveni has ably and deliberately played the regional pacifier role or a peace maker by enforcement interventionist strategies to bring regional countries in tandem to World Order not by only hosting regional leadership summits but by delegating the mighty UPDF to contain situations where Western “angels” would dare not to set foot! After achieving this role through painful sacrifice, the peace dividends end in the hands of other regional economic hubs.
I feel Ugandans are getting a bad deal and being too much offended for the xenophobic situation they go through to countries like South Sudan; not to say that they should ride on their Government’s role in the liberation and secession of South Sudan from the Sudan but all they deserve is dignity and protection as extended to Eritreans and Kenyans in the same country.
Likewise, so many Ugandans who have stayed in South Africa will testify that for a professional Ugandan to be recognised in the formal employment sector, he/she goes through painstaking certifications that may span for over five years, even after paying lots of official fees the majority are frustrated: Luckily enough some Ugandans even the highly qualified, came to realise that ‘civilised’ South Africans glorify witchcraft.
Therefore, Ugandans who manage to succeed fast in a South African setting are witchdoctors in charge of “treating” HIV/AIDS through highly” efficient’ spells!
Back in Uganda, South Africans have ganged up with Chinese and Kenyans to dominate the services and trade sectors; Ugandan retail shops or businesses are bound to collapse at the hands of the major three who, besides paying peanuts to Ugandans at home, will never allow them equal opportunities in their countries lest they face discrimination in its ugliest forms.
One gets worried to establish that in this age when East African leaders are strongly advocating for the implementation of varied East African Treaties, Tanzania which is a member state is ejecting “foreigners” who are Africans, in a Pan-African Setting!( See New Vision Monday, September 16, 2013 page 13).
They are claimed to be Rwandese, and most of them have stayed in Tanzania for decades, surprisingly the only hopeful and promising destination of refuge is Uganda aka the “United States of Africa”!
It is true Tanzania helped Ugandans to liberate Uganda from Idd Amin, but in recent years, it was carried in newspapers that they were demanding for war reparations and President Museveni as a true Pan-African seem to have complied; In the same spirit of reciprocation, I have not come across any information or even a rumour that Kagame of Kigali, Kabila of DRC, Salva Kiir of South Sudan to mention but a few, are prepared to financially honor Uganda for the role it played in putting some governance order into these countries.
Finally, we must keep our hands crossed for Somalia; for the recent developments in the UPDF command structure vis-à-vis corruption cases, I predict about five years from now Somalis will be referring to Ugandans as ‘thieves’ and they will be deterred from doing business in Mogadishu.
Ironically, the Kenyans who lay back when Somalia was the wretched of the Earth must be putting up banks for their nationals to repatriate huge sums of obscene profit. Their triplet brothers, South Africans and Chinese will, on the other hand, carry on import businesses and infrastructural development respectively.
This time round, Ugandans will never ride boda boda’s in Mogadishu because policy standards will be set by either South Africans or Kenyans.
The writer is a Kampala resident and businessman