By Sam Mucunguzi
Does democracy lead to development? Analysts overtime have reached a consensus. The link is weak, the data is mixed, and the two are only loosely associated with no direct causality!
Studies have further found stronger evidence linking strong governments with doses of benevolent strong hand to have had a prominent role, especially in the transformation of the Asian Tigers.
Why then is ‘good governance’ still a much touted and cherished concept in Uganda?
There are a number of disconnects. One is generational, where the ‘at least we can sleep mentality’ is becoming rather aged and untenable. The second disconnect is that between a minority ‘middleclass/ elite’ and the majority ‘peasant’.
The former articulate the theories but don’t vote, only to ‘cry wolf’ later.
The latter only care about the next meal and will trade their vote for matchboxes. Any developments like the roads recently, improvements in the city, trickles to Agriculture, are welcome, but are and ought to be seen as just an unintended consequence, given their coming after three decades.
Do we need elections this regularly? At what cost? Uganda needs to start a fresh dialogue on the country we want.
Western Democracy might grant civil liberties but exerts a pressure to conform to non-developmental agenda of not necessarily well informed ‘opinion’ by any government seeking to hang onto power by all means possible.
Positive transformation is what our country needs and we need a discourse that will cause it. From the look of it, it can neither be the western liberal democracy, nor will it be the dispensation of a one man Hegemony under pretexts that longevity elsewhere was positive.
Circumstances differ. Uganda needs a discourse that will reinvigorate institutions. The old thinking spells disaster for every citizen, even those that might appear prosperous!
The writer is a programme assistant at the Tripartite Initiatve for Resource Governance in Africa