By Stephen Ssenkaaba
What a year! Nelson Mandela died. David Sejusa ran away. The selfie entered common, even formal English speak. Bad black became worse and Twerking became such a cool way to dance.
Fr. Anthony Musaala threatened the Catholic Church and the Uganda Cranes did what they do best; failing to make it to anywhere in football.
The Pope resigned-by far the most unconventional move by a conventional man. Lukwago left office and came back- sort of. Sir Alex Ferguson left and did not come back.
The sun fought with the moon.
As we put wraps to a year whose number often spells doom to superstition buffs, we are supposed to pat ourselves on the back- for making it through.
Pat ourselves on the back because this year has had its fair share of problems; having taken the baton from an inflation-laden 2012, it was not going to be easy anyway- money kept on being a problem- with most citizens complaining of having less and less of it.
So, children often missed first day at school as parents looked around, borrowed around and went days without the nice things in life so as to find some money to send their progeny back to school.
And while the parents did their best, their efforts were thwarted by striking teachers who spent most of the time this year protesting the government’s refusal to award them a rise in their salaries. Teachers refused to go to class, until the government threatened to sack them completely.
It is one of those issues that bled right from 2012 and spilled over into 2013, making a mockery of our country’s education system. The blood stuck and the government has had to bring a rug to clean up a little bit by promising to increase teachers’ salaries by 20%.
THE GOOD: Marathoner Stephen Kiprotich won gold in Moscow, Russia
THE BAD: Anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela died aged 95 in December.
AND THE UGLY: Hundreds have fled ongoing fighting in South Sudan. PHOTO/AFP
It was not just the teachers. Policemen, lecturers and other civil servants went without pay for such a long time this year. The government has not had much money this year (not that it has had much before) and it was not just about the inflation.
Corruption was particularly complicit in making life hard for all of us yet again as our venerable donors tightened the grip on their hard earned aid. They were simply tired of having their hard money lining the pockets of a few Ugandan public servants. 13m US dollars in relief aid money all stolen by a few people.
It was not all doom this year though. We savoured some glorious moments such as when Uganda’s Golden boy Stephen Kiprotich scooped another Gold at the World Athletics championship in Moscow, beating Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa and Tedese Tola in the men’s Marathon- perhaps the most outstanding sports performance of the year- and of course the national Women’s netball team who won the Six Nations Cup in Singapore- The She Cranes they are called- finally something to smile about the Cranes.
Finally because Golola the prank master did not give us much to smile about this year. He somehow disappeared in thin air as did his chances of any serious victory in his kickboxing game.
We were not short of games though as the UCU students would attest. It was a year of lurid sex games on sex tapes that went viral on social media and made for some serious soul searching.
It is not the games stupid! It is the social media- UCU sex scenes and all those spiraling private moments have always been there; Facebook, Twitter, the blogosphere have only blown them into public view. More came in the form of Ruth Komuntale’s dirty linen exposed in public and more has yet to come.
It is not about the message, it is about the messenger. And so it was. 2013, the year of battles in the fields of Congo and now South Sudan. In the boardrooms of KCCA between Erias Lukwago and Jennifer Musisi.
It was a year of good victories and near misses as Zimbabwe’s No Violet Bulawayo came very close to winning the Man Booker Prize. It was a year of many losses-human and otherwise. It was a year of the good, the bad and the ugly.