Commentary & Letters

Who are Majority 95 % Ugandans

By Henry Mutebe

Someone asked me; Henry, why have you been quiet on policy issues? MPs are busy enjoying our money. What is your take? 

My answer. 

I have written, severally, that one of the problems of us Facebook people is that we underestimate the depth of  illiteracy of our population. The problem with being on Facebook and being educated is that we suffer from what they called the curse of knowledge. You assume that everyone knows what you know and therefore they ‘automatically get it’. My friend, you don’t know our people. 

Secondly, I have realised that I think I am the only person who was born in a village grew up in the village  and so I have a good idea of how majority of people in villages make their political choices. 

We are here talking about NSSF; how many people in the village know what that means OR even care?

You guys are here talking about increased taxes when many people in villages don’t even know they pay taxes. Many don’t understand at what point one pays the tax.

You are here talking about policies and macroeconomic policies, who understands those things of yours? 

The ordinary man in the village has land given to him by his father. He has a slave called a woman who tills that land and when the harvest is ready, he sells the produce, takes the money, drinks alcohol and in some cases marries another wife using the money generated by his wife’s labour. 

You are talking about lost jobs! Hmmm. How many people in the village wake up to go to an office and work? The office is the garden and those offices are not closed. At least, for now, the people in villages are still working. Lost jobs and lockdown is a ‘rich peoples’ problem someone in the village recently told me.

The concerns of an ordinary man in the village is sex from his wife, his land and access to alcohol and a witch doctor. If you deny them those four, then a revolution can start. 

Men in villages live like kings. They don’t leave ‘ezokukameza’. The woman has to look for food in the garden…and hunt for enva. Those things of leaving 10k mbu sente za kameza is kajanja of you, urban dwellers. The village woman feeds the man, offers sex, takes for him water to the bathroom and even has to be there and watch over him as he is showering. 

So many people who vote these MPs are completely in another world. They beg these MPs money. They are bought to vote, and indeed when MPs get to the Promised Land, it is time to pay themselves.

So, most times I am angry at these MPs but then I remember that they didn’t take themselves to parliament. They were voted. Who voted them? Those people. Did they know what they were doing? I don’t know. Should they pay for it? I don’t know 

As Facebook people, many of you don’t know the depth of the crisis we are in, because of the quality of our voters. Those MPs know just too well who matters. It’s not us who write long pieces on Facebook and share within our circles on issues we already agree on. 

Those MPs know who matters. 

In fact, when you hear them talking, don’t think they are talking to you Kampala urban dwellers. They are talking to the average villager who doesn’t even know how he pays his taxes, who doesn’t care what NSSF is or who has even never been to Kampala. Do you know that probably 75% of rural dwellers have never left their regions to any other? 

Their view of life is so limited and you can’t blame them. An MP that tells them that he or she will construct a road is the one they vote, as if MPs construct roads. The one who speaks more of the local languages and has more proverbs is the one they call good. 

The average person in the village doesn’t understand what you guys are talking about. He doesn’t watch NTV or NBS political show or listen to business news segments. 

The average person likes Agataliko Nfufu where the report a person who gave birth to a frog or where two men are fighting for a woman or where the news is about two drunkards that organised a drinking competition. 

That’s why Agataaliko Nfufu has more viewers and Bukedde newspaper sells more than Daily Monitor and New Vision. The content people consume tells you a lot about that population 

Many of our people are not able to process most of these things. They generally don’t mind the status quo. In fact, for many, as long as they are seated on a malwa pot, they have no problem with anybody.

They are okay. The day you understand that Full Figure, Mama Fina, and others in that caliber have more power and influence than a professor at Makerere University, that’s the day you will discover that we were born at the wrong time. The critical mass of our country are still raw; functionally illiterate and not exposed at all and they are the majority voters. 

The day you will appreciate that concept, you will understand what I am talking about.

Sometimes, I wish those MPs can add themselves as much money as they want. Probably, sell us. To that point where the ordinary person will wake up and understand that his MP ought to represent him or her in a certain way. For now, those people are still comfortable and the MPs know that too well. So they will act with as much impunity as the voters can allow them.

So, what I am doing these days, is to dedicate some time to raising children and giving them an opportunity to keep alive. Maybe. Just maybe, when we move on as the current generation. Maybe, these children will sort this country. 

As of now, we need to go back to basics. Go to villages. Teach people how to write their names. How to load airtime. How to see a woman as a full human being. How to do basic things which we take for granted. These people voted those MPs. They laid their bed. It’s time to sleep in it. Sadly, all of us feel the heat. 

The problem is not MPs, the problem is the millions that vote those type of MPs. If you don’t agree with me go to your village and try to contest for any political office. That’s the day you will discover that your father is a witch. He bewitched other people’s children so that you succeed. You took their blessings. That’s the day you will know that your education is a problem. It’s the day you will understand that the truth never wins you an election in a village. 

We don’t have a critical mass of people to vote a value laden parliament.

Our society is still raw and was just picked from another political civilisation into a democratic political civilisation. We don’t have the social software to generate a good parliament. So, I am not sure if I should burden myself with discussing MPs. 

Every day, I only cry at the quality of our population.

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