By Josepha Jabo
While launching ‘The Acacia Mall’ in Kampala, on Friday, June 20, 2014, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni commended the Mukwano family, (the mall owners) for their industriousness and in the same breath commented Ugandans, “Socialize in laziness” engaging in drinking alcohol and the like.
The launch at ‘The Acacia Mall’ whose slogan is ‘Lifestyle Destination’ was attended by the elite, the business community, diplomats, Members of Parliament and the media who were treated to breakfast, courtesy of Serena Hotel; a live band, on the rooftop of the mall, while a montage, of the mall, was viewable on large screens as downstairs the president cut the ribbon, toured the building and greeted shop owners before proceeding upstairs.
After the launch, each guest received a white gift bag which contained a branded ‘The Acacia Mall’ collared t-shirt, key ring, and mug.
When an enterprise, such as ‘The Acacia Mall’ brings a first world experience to a developing nation, such as this one; it becomes clear why President Museveni values visionary investors.
It is true (save for a few unique exceptions of enterprising individuals) that a number of Ugandans are: lazy, latecomers, shun hard work, go about their business in a sluggish, ‘go-slow’ manner and will angrily accuse you of being impatient or pushy if you point this out.
Other wasteful activities Ugandans engage in include idleness and gambling.
What is more, in Uganda, the extended-family system can be abused by a ‘spirit of dependency’ mentality; this is observable when able-bodied, unemployed, ‘helpless’ relatives ‘camp’ at their rich relatives’ homes or offices waiting for cash handouts or bailouts or inward remittances from relatives doing kyeyo (casual labor) abroad.
In addition, the Katikiro (Prime Minister) of Buganda, Peter Mayiga has, on several occasions publically spoken against and urged people to desist from this begging mentality, which is really laziness.
Laziness is a sin. Proverbs 6:6 says, ‘Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!’ Also, the Apostle Paul’s wrote in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, ‘If any will not work, neither let him eat.’
In comparing the work ethic between Uganda and developed nations; people in developed countries have a tendency to be time-conscious, hardworking and professional and are consequently highly patriotic because when they look around they are proud of the goods and services their countries provide, to which they contribute.
We can be like that; and this country can attain Middle Income Status, if we change our way of thinking, drop this ‘Gavumenti etuyambe’ mindset and begin ‘socializing in industriousness.’
The writer works for Uganda Media Centre