A literary and socio-political analyst
You can tell a good year from a mile away, and from what many have seen so far, 2007 is as good a year as any they ever saw.
In fact, from the look of things this may be even better than many a year we have ever seen. It is one of those that take off on a tricky note, with some unpleasant foreboding, then gradually begin to get better and better.
After a quiet start, the year then entered a delicate patch, with an ominous cloud hanging over Uganda. The April riots â€”purportedly over the fate of Mabira forest â€” rocked Kampala heavily, with blood spilled and bones broken, as some chaps pursued an agenda to make Kampala ungovernable and create an appearance of state collapse.
Later that month, Dr Okullo Epak, MP for Oyam South and one of the most brilliant legislators we have ever had succumbed to cancer and passed away in South Africa, towards the end of April.
Before the tears had even dried, Epak was followed into eternity by Brig. Noble Mayombo â€“ who died suddenly of internal organ failure. Noble, a young man, with so much promise and potential, whose talent and charisma fascinated everyone, especially President Museveni, broke everyoneâ€™s heart and shook the nation with his sudden demise.
His death was a reminder of Romans 2:11 â€“ â€œfor God is no respecter of personsâ€.
The Lord does not pay heed to the status of humans before making His decisions. He wants us to always bear in mind that we are just humans, here today and gone tomorrow. Then as some people were despairing and asking: â€œwhere are we headed?â€, the sun started shining through the clouds, after the storm.
Work on city roads started in earnest, covering up some potholes whose depth challenged quite a few accomplished grave diggers. The other day I heard that some people with a rather unusual sense of humour, impatient with KCCâ€™s slow pace at repairing the roads, planted banana trees in the potholes of one road, and promptly named the road â€˜Kijjambu Gardensâ€™, after the Town Clerk. Then along came the budget, and corruption in sections of the police force and URA over the road licence fees was dealt a major blow with the abolition of road licence in favour of the new fuel levy.
On the economic front, the shilling is performing so well that for the first time in many years, the dollar has reached the sh1,500 bracket.
It is an appropriate reflection of a strong economy that has grown steadily in recent times, completely ignoring the pressing hardships of our worst energy crisis ever, instability in the north and poor transport infrastructure.
A booming and ever-expanding intra-regional trade, a much better trade account balance, rising private forex inflows and reserves are part of our trophy collection for the past financial year, plus a GDP growth of nearly seven percent. Remarkable, considering the circumstances.
Mabira Forest survived the chopping board, so eco-worries were put to rest. More oil, estimated at Euros7b, has been discovered in the Albertine region. That alone can comfortably finance our national budget 100 percent for three years.
Building of the new Bujagali Dam is finally underway, and loadshedding will soon be a thing of the past.
And of course this is CHOGM year, where we shall host one quarter of the worldâ€™s leaders in November. More hotels have gone up this year than in any other year in our history. Not bad news that, considering that hotel rates will therefore go down â€“ at least after CHOGM â€“ and more Ugandans will be able to enjoy these facilities too.
You want to hope more husbands will spice up their love lives by taking out their wives regularly to honeymoon away from the kids. The East African Community has taken off; and now Rwanda and Burundi have joined their brothers and sisters in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania . That means more brotherhood, less war and more peace. Peace talks with the LRA are on course and the guns have been silent a while now, and we keep our knees bent in prayer that all will be okay. With the war gone, reconstruction and development will be the main focus.
For good measure, on June 3, the Uganda Cranes made the Nigerian Super Eagles look anything but super, and put Uganda firmly on course to reach the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ghana 2008 for the first time in 30 years.
Some were quick to link this victory to the visit of Pastor Benny Hinn whose crusade at Namboole Stadium seemed to have left blessings all over the place.
By the time the chaps from Niger come for the last game, you can be sure there will still be enough blessings left over to catapult us to Ghana, especially since Benny Hinn was closely followed by compatriot Dr. Creflo Dollar with a prosperity- for-all crusade.
But like St. Peter cautions, we have to â€œbe sober, be vigilantâ€ to guard what we have achieved, because when Godâ€™s children are happy, the devil is always close, trying to spoil the party.
2007 could be the best year we have ever seen!