TRACY Chapman sings about a certain Subcity â€œwhere people live everyday off waste and decayâ€¦off the discards of their fellow manâ€. In this subcity life is hard. There is no government relief and yet only the rich still get the handouts. And so Chapman sings on, â€œâ€¦please give Mr. President my honest regards for disregarding me.â€
Chapmanâ€™s subcity reminds me of another quite similar one where life is equally difficult.
There are boastful promotions of this subcity being seen as the â€œPearl of Africaâ€ in the eyes of Winston Churchill. But in this subcity, more than half of the governmentâ€™s budget is donor-funded, there are no sufficient drugs in some state hospitals and there is a high demand for relatively expensive Antiretroviral drugs.
In some parts of the subcity, people live in internally displaced camps, vulnerable to the worst tropical diseases, with no basic needs. In this subcity, pensionersâ€™ money is tampered with while tax-payersâ€™ money is put to waste.
Irony is part of the peopleâ€™s daily menu. But wait! There is more irony about this subcity. With all the hard life the subcityâ€™s ex-vice president, Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and her family were sponsored to the horrendous tune of sh2.5b to study abroad! Remember sh2.5b is the money remitted from the taxpayersâ€™ subcity!
Kazibwe has since said, â€œIt is my very well considered belief that more (subcityâ€™s money) should be spent to train more thinkersâ€¦â€
Now this reminds me of George Orwellâ€™s satire of the 1945 Russian Revolution, Animal Farm, which was particularly directed against Joseph Stalin. Led by the pigs, the animals on Mr Jonesâ€™ farm revolt against their human masters. After their victory, they decide to run the farm themselves on â€˜egalitarian principlesâ€™ â€” â€œAll animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.â€ An ex-VP is definitely a very important person and so are her children. Training them at sh2.5b could be a worthwhile investment for her country. To quote her, â€˜Subcityâ€™ is investing in great thinkers!
The irony is that Napoleon, the most prominent pig in Animal Farm used exactly the same word â€œthinkersâ€ to describe the pigs and why the apples where reserved for only the pigs! â€œWe pigs are thinkers and therefore need to reserve the apples and milk as they are good for the brain.
We actually donâ€™t like apples but we must eat them because we must think for the rest of you!â€ Of course in â€˜Subcityâ€™ some people are paid to think for the underprivileged.
Orwell explores the evils of power, money, propaganda and terror to bring us a shocking tale of greed and tyranny. That is also how things are here in â€˜Subcityâ€™.
During the industrial revolution alchemists were credited as great thinkers too. Their only contribution to the revolution was to try to turn wood into gold and paper into aluminum foils. This is quite similar to spending sh2b, to rejuvenate an ex-VPâ€™s brainstorming capabilities. It is definitely not a waste of money.
Irony of ironies, â€˜Subcityâ€™ has just held an â€œAnti-Corruption Weekâ€ with a main theme against political corruption and the anti-graft week. During that week we in Subcity enjoyed listening to Tracy Chapman, â€œâ€¦Here in Subcity We had trust in God We worked everyday of our lives, we paid the taxes
We thought we had some guarantees Thatâ€™s what we thought, At least thatâ€™s what we thoughtâ€¦â€. Is there a chance that a new breed of leaders will come up in Subcity and address this selfish and presumptous behaviour? It is the animals which are not as brilliant as the pigs which produce the milk and apples the pigs enjoy!
But does the government in â€˜Subcityâ€™ get the message?